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Empowering Diversity and Inclusion at CHU: A Conversation with Claire Burke

At CHU, we proudly celebrated Inclusion@Work Week last week with the announcement that we have been recognised by the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) as an Inclusive Employer 2023-2024.

The DCA’s Inclusion@Work Index consistently shows a strong link between inclusion at work and team performance, with similar results for inclusive managers and inclusive organisations.

Claire Burke, CHU’s Manager of National Specialty Risk, encapsulates the essence of diversity and inclusion, by living out the values of CHU in her day-to-day role at CHU.

Claire has been with CHU since 2011 when she joined our NSW/ACT Customer Service Team. Over the years, her passion and dedication led her through various roles, including her current role as head of the National Specialty Risk Team.

The National Specialty Risk team plays a pivotal role in managing complex and challenging accounts from an underwriting perspective, assisting brokers and strata managers with properties and buildings that may have defects or complex risks associated with them.

As an underwriting professional, Claire navigates interactions with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Understanding the nuances of these interactions has allowed her to build strong relationships, essential in her role.

Claire has been heavily involved in D&I from an insurance industry point of view as well as representing CHU. Here is what Claire had to say about the importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace:

Why is D&I important to you?

D & I is important to me because it promotes awareness and shines a light on the fact that we are all humans, that have our own lived experiences and characteristics that are with each one of us everywhere we go including the workplace. By embracing D & I in the workplace, it allows people to be comfortable to be themselves at work, share facets of their lives, share their ideas and feel included. When people feel comfortable to share their lived experiences, we have the opportunity to learn and have greater awareness and understanding of people’s lives and communities outside of our own.

From my own personal experience, I have always felt comfortable being “out” at CHU. From the day I started, I never felt like I needed to hide who I am or that I am in the rainbow community. I’m proud and always will be, a voice for those that do not feel like they can speak up. I have my pronouns on my email signature, my Teams status, and all socials so the beautiful people in the trans and gender diverse communities know that I represent a safe space. I know how meaningful it feels to have active allies showing their support for the rainbow community.

How have you been involved in advocating for a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Since 2018, I have attended Dive in Festival events. Dive In Festival is a global festival of events across the insurance industry that runs for 3 days every September that cover a very large range of topics. The sessions that involve speakers sharing their lived experiences or those of loved ones are incredible. My highlight from the 2023 Dive In Festival would be the session I attended that focused on menopause, how little support there is and how little is spoken about it. I would like to bring this discussion to CHU.

I also participated as a panel speaker at the 2023 ANZIIF Diversity and Inclusion Seminar. I really loved this experience as it gave me the opportunity to speak from my own lived experiences, on what I do at CHU in this space and why I do it. It was my first public speaking opportunity, completely outside of my comfort zone, but it was a great opportunity to challenge myself.

How does D&I benefit CHU’s workforce and customers?

D&I isn't just a box to tick at CHU; it's a strategic focus. By nurturing an inclusive environment, CHU enjoys a highly engaged workforce, diverse talent pool, and a wealth of varied perspectives. This diversity enriches our organisation and allows us to better serve our customers and adapt to their unique needs.

CHU's commitment to D&I manifests in tangible ways. For our customers, we've developed multilingual resources, including a 'What is Strata Insurance?' video in Mandarin and subtitled versions in various languages. We offer interpreter services in over 160 languages and provide support services for physical and mental health, as well as domestic violence.

CHU has recently been recognised by the Diversity Council Australia as being an Inclusive Employer and this is a real testament to the commitment that CHU has in creating an inclusive space to work.

Embracing differences strengthens us, enables us to serve our customers with empathy, understanding, and expertise. Together, we're not just insuring properties; we're building a community where everyone's voice matters.