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CA Department of Insurance

Insurance Department begins training for bias awareness

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: April 24, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance Department begins training for bias awareness
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that unconscious bias training is being provided to California Department of Insurance (CDI) employees. Research shows that despite the prevention of explicit bias, unconscious biases can affect how people make decisions, communicate or interact with one another. Based on this research and the important consumer protection and law enforcement role of the Department, which has frequent interaction with the public, Jones decided to institute training to assist employees and managers to better understand and mitigate against any unconscious biases.

California is a very diverse and multi-cultural state with people of many different ethnicities, religions, cultures, races, countries of origin, sexual orientations, genders, disabilities, backgrounds and experiences. Moreover, there are four generations in the workplace at the same time – generations which grew up in very different periods of time. Differences in who we are can result in our bringing unconscious biases into interactions with people different from ourselves, which can result in misunderstanding or conflict. By increasing employees' and managers' awareness of unconscious bias, they can better understand how unconscious bias may influence their communications, interactions and decisions and appreciate how eliminating those biases allows their decision-making to be based on objective and relevant considerations.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our employees and managers to benefit from professional training in unconscious biases – training which is becoming increasingly recognized in the private sector as critical to success," said Commissioner Jones. "California is one of the most, if not the most, diverse state in the nation, and it's important that the hardworking men and women of the consumer protection and law enforcement agency I lead are provided professional training to be aware of and mitigate against unconscious biases."

In recent years there has been a growing trend to further diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. Major corporations like Google and Facebook are providing unconscious bias training for their employees. The training CDI employees will receive is aimed at supplying staff, supervisors, managers, and workplace leaders with new strategies for practicing more conscious awareness of bias in the workplace and in interactions with the public.

For example, unconscious biases can have an effect on how employees respond to consumer complaints, or effect workplace decisions related to hiring, mentoring, project assignments and promotions The training is designed to help employees and managers identify unconscious biases they might have and to eliminate them.

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Media Note:

Common definition of unconscious bias.   

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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