On average, about one-third of people believe that insurance salespeople have low honesty and ethical standards. While many insurance agents work and adhere to the highest ethical standards, they many times have to work diligently to change public perception. The State of Ethics & Compliance in the Workplace, in its 2018 survey, listed a series of recommendations for improving workplace ethical culture. These included:
- Promote a statement of values throughout the organization and set ethical standards to guide employee actions. A clearly defined Code of Ethics sets the stage for ethical behavior and improves public perception of an organization’s commitment to ethics.
- Include ethics and compliance in performance goals. Want your employees to act ethically? Make it a part of their performance review!
- Regularly survey employee attitudes about pressures to disregard ethics. Having a pulse on your employee’s views on ethics through periodic anonymous surveys may provide valuable insight into your corporate culture.
- Assess the ethical culture in the company and provide support in areas it may be weak. Take the time to evaluate and analyze your company’s ethical culture and regularly work to make improvements in areas, as needed.
- Reinforce cultural norms of the unacceptability of performance without integrity. It is easy to say ethics matter, while at the same time pushing employees to do “whatever it takes” to get ahead. Make sure insurance agents within your company understand that ethical behavior is more important than the bottom line!
- Make sure company ethics and compliance programs are of high quality. This may require receiving outside help on developing a compliance or ethics program – but considering the cost of lawsuits (a workplace sexual harassment claim typically runs employers between $75,000 to $125,000!), it is worth the investment.
If you want more information on developing a code of ethics, InternetCE is here to help with all your online North Carolina insurance continuing education needs! Click here to check out our newest ethics course, “Ethics: Trust Me, You Gotta Have It” to learn more about standards of conduct for insurance professionals.