Leading insurer Zurich is the first insurer to achieve Disability Confident Leader status under the auspices of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) scheme.

The DWP scheme helps employers think differently about disability and improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

Zurich has achieved the highest level of certification in recognition for its efforts in raising awareness of the issues associated with disability in the workplace, by engaging with other employers in the local community to share best practice and encouraging others to take a fresh approach to disability.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton MP, said: “Zurich is leading the way for other employers by offering opportunities for disabled people and creating a more inclusive workforce.

“I encourage other insurers to follow Zurich’s example and sign up to the Disability Confident scheme, sending a powerful message to potential employees that they will get the support they need to thrive in the workplace.”

The insurer has also been instrumental in raising the issue more broadly with policymakers and senior stakeholders, hosting a round table with former Disability Minister Penny Mordaunt and the Enterprise Forum earlier this year in response to the Government green paper on disability. Zurich has also attended a series of Disability Confident events held by the DWP across the UK.

Commenting on the award, Sophie Timms, Head of UK Corporate Responsibility, Zurich said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Zurich and reflects the practices we’ve put in place to create a more inclusive culture with greater opportunities for people with disabilities.

“For example we support Volunteering Matters’ Inspiring Young Disabled People Programme which enables our employees to act as business mentors, helps build young people’s confidence and aspirations and provides them with work shadowing opportunities within Zurich, which their mentors support.

“We’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished since we started our Disability Confident journey just 12 months ago and would encourage more employers to sign up to the Scheme.”

Zurich’s achievement builds on its previous recognition as a Disability Confident Employer in August 2017. Previously the insurer reached Disability Confident Committed status in March 2017.

Zurich employs approximately 7,000 people in the UK, with offices in Swindon among its 21 locations.