Insurtech conference apologises for “costumed revellers” deemed sexist

The Wholesale and Speciality Insurance Association (WSIA) has apologised after images from their Insurtech Conference last week were criticised for being sexist.

After Sequel CEO Ian Summers posted a photo on LinkedIn last week of his team with women dressed in corsets, short skirts and feathered headdresses, many accused Summers and the event of sexism.

Sequel’s parent company Verisk are now investigating the incident and the photo.

WSIA have since released a statement to Captive Review about the incident, calling those who appeared in the photo “costumed revellers” and apologising “to attendees who were offended”.

“During the WSIA Insurtech Conference this week in New Orleans, WSIA’s host hotel had scheduled a traditional Mardi Gras parade as part of an evening networking reception. That parade was cancelled due to severe weather in the area, and the costumed revellers who would have participated instead attended the reception and were available for photos with attendees,” the statement read.

“WSIA apologizes to attendees who were offended. WSIA and the WSIA Diversity Foundation are committed to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry and to providing tools and resources to help member firms. This will serve as a learning opportunity in that journey for the association as we continue to apply a DE&I lens to everything we do.”

Many in the insurance industry were not impressed with the photo, commenting on the LinkedIn post in disbelief.

“Was this picture taken in the 1980s? Spectacularly wrong on many levels,” Tom Butcher said, while broker Colin Shillito called it “ridiculous and embarrassing”.

“Not your finest hour Versik objectifying women and expecting them to smile! How disappointing,” Madeline Bailey from Norton Rose Fulbright said.

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