How the Insurance Industry Can Attract Diverse New Talent


The fact that the African American community is underrepresented in the Insurance Industry presents an excellent opportunity to attract new talent. Learn why the NAAIA Florida chapter is donating $600,000 in scholarship funds to the Florida State Risk Management program. Tune in and share this podcast to alert the public and the African American community about how they can establish and grow an amazing insurance career.

The National Alliance is also playing a role in attracting new talent to the industry with the CISR High School program.

 Maria Elena Abate, Shareholder, and Chief Diversity Officer,  Colodny Fass With more than 25 years of experience, Maria Elena Abate has built a reputation as an expert in complex commercial and insurance litigation.  She is regularly called upon to lecture, serve on industry panels, and advise insurance companies, adjusters, agents, and their employees on ways to eradicate fraud, prevent bad faith, and diversify their workforce, through education and communication. In her diverse practice, Ms. Abate handles a wide variety of insurance-related matters, which include, class action defense, coverage determinations, bad faith avoidance, fraud avoidance, adjuster, agent, and broker E & O claims.  From licensing and liability matters, coverage disputes, errors and omissions, insurance solvency concerns, investigations, and disciplinary proceedings, to new challenges like cyber-risk and social media she has successfully assisted insurers, adjusters, agents and brokers navigate their duties and obligations under the law.

Charles Watkins, Equity Partner, and Chief DEI Officer is also the firm’s First Party Practice Group’s Co-Chair. He is an experienced litigator and particularly enjoys trying cases to jury verdict. He has done so over seventy times. Charles has represented individuals, corporations, and public and government entities in transportation litigation, premises liability, UM insurance defense, construction accidents, and defects, boating accidents, first-party property damage and fraud, coverage issues, and products liability matters. Charles is certified by the State of Florida as a Continuing Education Instructor, and he conducts seminars on legal topics including commercial and residential first-party property issues and fraud, negligence in tort law, bad faith avoidance, UM/UIM law, and the art of negotiation and early case resolution.  In addition to being a strong advocate for his clients, Charles is a passionate supporter of mentoring and diversity and inclusion initiatives. He is extremely engaged in promoting and participating in activities that champion these initiatives in and out of Kubicki Draper. Not only does Charles direct the firm’s D E & I committee, but he is also the Treasurer for the National African American Insurance Association’s (NAAIA) Florida Chapter and was one of the National Chairs of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance’s Diversity Committee (CLM).

Margaret N. Redd Executive Director, NAAIA A thought leader with vision and a dedicated focus on excellence, Margaret N. Redd specializes in helping organizations to achieve and/or exceed profit and growth objectives by optimizing distribution platforms, organizational resources, and best practices. She is an accomplished executive and proven leader with a diversified background in all lines of property & casualty insurance working with multiple distribution channels.  A graduate of Jackson State University, Margaret entered the insurance industry as an underwriter trainee with The St. Paul Companies in 1977. Her career journey includes seventeen years with CNA where she held key positions of leadership including National AVP of Distribution and Vice President, Chicago Branch; MetLife Regional VP of Sales, and VP and COO for Lambent Risk Management, a full service, Insurance Brokerage located in Chicago, IL. Currently, as the National Executive Director of NAAIA, Margaret is the first individual to hold that position for the esteemed organization. Margaret has held numerous board positions; she is a founder and a Past President of NAAIA Chicago; she is a past member of the NAAIA National Board where she served as the organization’s first and only National Corporate Relations Chair. Married to Melvin, they are the proud parents of two sons, Christopher and Justin, and daughter, Angela. 

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