What companies need to know about employment practices liability risks
AIG’s Brandi Monique says recent social movements are likely to shape how employers manage their workforce.
AIG’s Brandi Monique strives to be an agent for change in all that she does.
Before stepping into the insurance business, Brandi was an attorney at a New York City law firm and specialized in employment law. She recalls going into the legal field because she cares deeply about workplace equity.
“Employment laws are essential,” Brandi says. “Many of these rules are intended to make sure people are treated fairly, and that’s important to me.”
Brandi has continued to uphold this principle during her more than decade-long career at AIG.
As Vice President of Employment Practices Liability, Brandi assesses employment practices risks, such as discrimination and sexual harassment. More than that, she draws on her knowledge and personal insights to advise companies on workplace risks.
“Being a Black woman helps me empathize with victims who actually have suffered these wrongs, but also help corporations who may not even know they’re doing something wrong,” says Brandi, who sits on the Board of Directors for the National African American Insurance Association.
Advising clients to reduce workplace risks
Brandi’s expertise evaluating employment practices liabilities comes at a pivotal time.
Increasingly, Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement and other recent social movements are re-shaping labor laws, including how companies manage their workforce. Brandi expects that such trends could have broad implications in workplaces around the world.
“I tell my insureds to keep a legal firm on staff to analyze new laws because they are constantly changing,” Brandi explains. “It’s imperative to have an expert on the team who can dissect what’s happening.”
Brandi’s team of claims experts also help underwriters deepen their understanding of workplace trends and risks. This is critical for AIG’s business because it helps underwriters price risks more accurately.
“AIG is forward-thinking,” says Brandi, who started her career as an analyst before taking on a range of roles, including complex claims director.
“We have the foresight to understand what insureds need to manage the risks.”
For example, Brandi recalls assessing one client’s history of claims and noticed a pattern that led her to suggest that the company hire a law firm to facilitate sexual harassment training for employees. Claims fell substantially following Brandi’s recommendation.
Looking ahead, as states start easing COVID-19 restrictions and some companies require their workforce to return to work, Brandi says while there is great value to office interaction, she is closely watching patterns to see if other companies will adopt similar policies to AIG.
Previously, when it came to disability discrimination claims, it was common for employers to respond that a request to work from home would put undue strain on the organization. However, the pandemic has driven many employees to work remotely for the past two years, and it remains to be seen how companies will respond.
"Employees are adapting, and I think more employers will need to factor these trends into their workplace policies,” Brandi says.
Paying it forward
As a champion for workplace diversity, equity and inclusion, Brandi strives to be a mentor to colleagues, as well as graduates from her alma mater, Hofstra University School of Law.
She sees herself in her mentees, many of whom aspire to build their careers in industries where women and people of color are underrepresented. “I often tell people starting their careers to join companies that value you and want to see you grow,” Brandi says.
This doesn’t mean growth is linear, she adds. Sometimes, a lateral career move can prove to be a critical learning opportunity, as Brandi came to realize when she moved to AIG’s Fidelity business and gained management experience before returning to the Employment Practices Liability business.
“You have to be flexible,” Brandi says. “There are going to be opportunities that may not align with what you really want. Take that experience and learn from it because it could help you learn a skill that’s important in the next phase of your career.”
Brandi adds: Having the support of key decision-makers is also critical. Her recommendation to those looking to gain more exposure to their organization’s senior leadership team is to join an employee resource group. As President of AIG’s Black Professionals & Allies ERG, Brandi was able to connect with AIG’s C-suite and share ideas to further support women and minorities at the company.
“AIG has given me opportunities, drive and the ambition to feel there are no limitations.”
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