Karen Pollitt is not only the President of the AICP, she is also one of the founding members of our DE&I Committee. Today, we are honored to spotlight her and all she has done for the Association, our Committee, and the industry, as well as highlight what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean to her and her hopes for the future.
Tell me about yourself.
I have 37 years of insurance experience with 35 of them specifically dedicated to insurance compliance. I am presently the Director of Product Development for the Accident & Health Division at AXIS a specialty insurer/reinsurer, where I’ve worked for 13 yrs.
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and a minor in Psychology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia PA. I was the recipient of a 4 year athletic scholarship for women’s basketball and am a two time inductee in the universities Hall of Fame. First, as a 4 year starter standout player and All-American Candidate my junior and senior years. Secondly, as the Assistant Women’s Basketball team coach and getting the team to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Final four in 1986. I am also inducted into my high school’s Hall of Fame for girls’ basketball. As captain I led my team to the league Championship, earning first team all-star honors and MVP of the league. It’s safe to say that my success in sports have provided real life lessons for me in the way of learning dedication, goal setting, drive and determination. The experiences I have had in being a leader and having success in those roles, rising to the top amongst other leaders has definitely impacted my professional and personal life journey’s. My hope has always been to impart those learned life lessons to others, to inspire my daughters, friends, family both at home and at work inclusive of my AICP family.
How did you get involved in the AICP?
I have been a member of AICP for 18 years. I first learned of AICP while doing a research project for a former employer on the internet (which was a novel idea at the time). I stumbled across information that mentioned the association. I eventually wrote a memo to my then manager stating how I thought our company could benefit by paying for my membership to AICP. At the time I was the Lead Compliance Analyst for the Company. My manager took it to the Vice President of Compliance, and they agreed our company could benefit from me becoming a member and that’s how I first joined AICP. Two years later I joined the membership committee. A few years after that I ran for Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, then went straight to Chapter President the following year. Thereafter, I got involved with the Marketing Committee. Bill Douglas was committee chair at that time and liked my contribution regarding the Linked-in post I was doing in the various Insurance group forums for AICP events. He nominated me for National Secretary, and I won. That was my first stint on the National Board. I then was reelected as national Secretary for a second term. It was at that time that I brought up the office should be a two year term because you really get the hang of the position towards the end of the first term and then a new Secretary could potentially be elected. A few years later I ran for Regional Director of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter and was back on the Board where the President at the time, Rona Finkelstein, appointed me Chair of what was then called Chapter Relations (now Chapter Outreach). I really enjoyed working toward making AICP a premier insurance compliance organization and decided ultimately to run for National Vice President which lead to my Presidency this year.
What advice would you give someone starting out in insurance compliance?
All bias aside, a membership with AICP has never been more valuable than it is today and so I would recommend an AICP membership! There is always someone or some forum within AICP that will have the answer to any question one may have and there are a multitude of ways to reach out to members and business associates, whether it be a live event regionally, nationally, a virtual educational opportunity or our online Q&A forum. That just for starters. We are bringing back Compliance 101 as a live course at this year’s annual conference in Miami, FL. Thereafter, this course and two additional expansion courses (201/202) will be available online to further educate anyone new to compliance. The valuable networking opportunities that AICP offers is unmatched in this industry for the insurance compliance professional or risk management student. We now have student membership and for the first time this year we will have students attend conference. We will also be starting our compliance school course work which will offer on-demand and live classes dedicated to specific compliance topics.
How did you get involved in the DE&I committee?
I was Vice President on the National Board when George Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protest. AICP did not have a DE&I committee at that time. Many companies and organizations were publicly responding to the injustice and the national Board for AICP was debating if it were appropriate to respond as well. I know my response was that not making a statement and being silent in the discussion taking place across the country and globe actually does makes a statement and so we can’t be silent. This is an issue surrounding humanity not politics. The Leadership at AICP all agreed and a statement of AICP’s commitment to Diversity was posted and presently resides on our website. The Board voted to add the new DE&I committee to foster conversation on DE&I initiatives taking place within our industry and at our members companies and to be able to share these insights within the insurance industry.
What does DE&I mean to you?
It’s about respecting the unique needs and perspectives of all people regardless of race/ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. It means inclusivity to all. It’s a fact, the most successful organizations are diverse. There is something to be appreciated and learned from everyone.
What change do you want to see in the world, particularly in the insurance space?
The change I want to see in the world is vey much in line with that of Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision … a world where people will not be judged by the color of their skin/ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation but by the content of their character. This still does not always happen in this day and age and the insurance sector is a microcosm of the world at large. I think we do our part as best we can as individuals and as an organization to cast light on diversity and unfair discrimination in the insurance industry by fostering conversation and sharing insight with our members, their employers and our business partners. I’d like to see and feel welcoming environments where we see speakers, board members and the membership at large reflect the diverse group of people we serve.
What can you tell us about the AICP’s upcoming endeavors?
The AICP has a lot of new endeavors, opportunities and learning experiences in tow and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds and comes to fruition.
We will soon reveal our new AICP designation based solely on AICP course material that has been developed.
I am look forward to our first full live conference since 2019 taking place September 18 – 21, 2002 in Miami Florida. The Hotel is fabulous, and the location is ideal in the heart of downtown Miami right off the bay water. The conference staff has done an excellent job this year in providing new and interesting educational sessions. The tone will be set Monday morning with our keynote Hall Of Fame speaker and there is plenty to do within walking distance of the hotel as well as many fun and enriching locations to visit in Miami. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for an AICP conference. See you there!