Rob Anarfi is an inspirational Black leader who is driven by his passion to change culture and create a diverse and inclusive future. He believes that tangible actions are required to reset outmoded systems and structures. As economic power shifts from West to East, the insurance industry’s clientele will become increasingly diverse and require diverse talent to support the changing needs of customers. Rob knows this first hand, with clients already asking for diversity data as a requirement of bids. This makes it essential to attract and retain diverse talent at all levels to ensure an organisation’s future success.
Rob is the Chief Risk Officer at Beazley and even though he is the only Black Executive (out of fourteen) it puts Beazley ‘ahead of the game and draws Black talent to the company.’ He originally joined the group in 2012 as Head of Internal Audit, moving to Head of Compliance shortly after. Rob has held senior audit roles at the Financial Conduct Authority, Aviva, Zurich Financial Services, and Allianz. He also qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCooper.
Rob is the founder and executive sponsor of BeazleyRACE, the company's employee network focused on race, culture, and ethnicity. He Chaired the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group from 2016 to 2019, leading the group's activities to enhance the diversity of its workforce by setting race and ethnicity targets and to create a culture of inclusivity, culminating in significant increase in female representation in the senior leadership team.
“We all need to work to sustain ourselves, our loved ones, families etc. But I learned a long time ago that there is a bigger purpose for us all – that’s my belief anyway. And with the privileged position I find myself in as senior person in the insurance industry and in the Lloyd’s market, I feel I’m not fulfilling my purpose if I don’t seek and take the opportunities to be involved in such initiatives. Initiatives that hopefully benefit others like me and ultimately help secure the Lloyd’s market’s long-term success by securing and retaining racially and ethnically diverse talent, at all levels.”
In addition, Rob is the Co-Chair of a cross-industry initiative, Race Action Through Leadership (RATL). RATL brings a diverse group of senior insurance professionals together to help improve the representation of black, Asian, mixed and other minority ethnic professionals at all levels of the insurance industry. Rob was also on the Board and Vice Chair of the Quaker Social Action Charity, 2015 – 2021 and Chaired the Governance and Nominations Committee. He speaks regularly about creating an inclusive work environment and the importance of leadership accountability, including on the Risky Mix podcast and More Brown in Town.
Rob feels this moment is an emotional and important marker in which the culmination of Lloyd’s acknowledgment of our links to the transatlantic slave trade - and its legacy in present day racial inequalities – is leading towards actions to reset things. There has been a seismic shift, triggered by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests. Before this pivotal moment, Rob felt there ‘was a complete lack of acknowledgement and I had no feeling of being part of the history but now that has changed.’ Rob has played an active part of that journey, right from Lloyd’s 2020 apology, sitting on both a working party which defined the approach to the project, then on a working party for Lloyd’s first investigation into its links to slavery with a case study on John Julius Angerstein. Rob has always been there to advise on how to approach this most sensitive of subjects and has taken part in the Focus Group, which helped shape Lloyd’s response.
His Ghanaian and African background is a significant part of his identity and he is close to the challenges that can bring. ‘We know we are good enough but we also belong to a wider community; it’s about proving we are good enough to the wider White community. History and society have created boundaries based on the colour of our skin, but I refuse to be ‘put in the resulting box. There is not just one box or one type of person, we are all complex human beings. I was born a Geordie and moved to Ghana at five, so my formative years are framed by Ghanaian culture. I returned to England at 16; my wife is White and our three daughters are bi-racial. I am all about moving those boundaries.’
When Beazley introduced a ‘dress for your day’ policy Rob used his position in leadership to be the first person to dress natively at work, wearing traditional Ghanaian dress. In his portrait, Rob decided to wear a Agbada to proudly represent his community and heritage.
“They help inculcate into Lloyd’s history the contributions of the past, present and future of ethnically diverse talent. And this is probably the most emotional part: that when Black people think of Lloyd’s and when they walk through the building, they won’t feel alien, they’ll feel like they belong, that their contributions are valid, that they’re as deserving of being there as anyone else, that they can aspire to whatever role they want (C-Suite, CEOs, Chairs etc.) because we are represented today at those levels even if there aren’t anywhere near as many of us as there should be.”Rob talking about the importance of the portraits