Lawyers from Norton Rose and RPC help launch LGBT network

Insurance lawyers at Norton Rose and RPC are among the founding members of an LGBT network for the insurance industry.

Although the group, which is named Link, will formally launch at an event next month the network has been building since 2011, when Norton Rose insurance lawyers James Thomas and Laura Hodgson held an informal dinner event with the heads of Aviva and Aon’s LGBT networks.

Discussing where the idea came from, Thomas told The Lawyer that they had noticed “a distinct lack of insurers” across LGBT networks at the time, adding that he believes this is the first cross-industry LGBT association in insurance.

The network has since attracted over 100 members, with founding organisations now including RPC, Accenture, Lloyds Banking Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Zurich.

Both Thomas and Hodgson said the group had provided new connections for those in the industry, but did not comment on whether or not this had translated into new clients for the firm.

In a statement London partner and sponsor of Norton Rose’s LGBT network Owen Mulholland said: “Evidence has shown that LGBT networks help to ensure effective workplace equality and provide vital peer support. Networks also build relationships and open up business development opportunities with clients.”

Aviva manager Vanessa Rayne, who is listed as a co-chair of the group, said in a statement that the insurance industry is “behind the times in relation to diversity” and that the aim of Link is to change that.

Link’s official launch event will be held at the Chartered Insurance Institute on 26 March, with panel members including Stonewall CEO Ben Summerskill and Ernst & Young managing partner Liz Bingham.