Aerial photo of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee headquarters in Chattanooga.

Top in the region

1. Emory University in Atlanta

2. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in Chattanooga

3. Cox Enterprises in Atlanta

4. Delta Airlines in Atlanta

5. AMC Entertainment in Atlanta

6. Southern Co. in Atlanta

7. Covenant Health in Knoxville

8. Nissan in Smyrna, Tenn.

Source: Forbes magazine, Statica Research.

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Ron Harris, director of diversity at BlueCross BlueShield stands in the hallway Friday, September 4, 2015.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the top rated employer for diversity in the state, according to a new ranking of major employers by Forbes magazine.

Forbes ranked the Chattanooga-based health insurer No. 33 among the 250 organizations with over 1,000 employees assessed by the research firm Statistica. The ranking was based on a survey of 30,000 employees across the United States last year on questions about disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age and more.

To compile its ranking, Statista also examined the gender split of companies' management teams and boards, and whether a company proactively communicates about diversity.

In its most recent annual diversity report, BlueCross of Tennessee reported 46 percent of its board is comprised of either female or minority directors (six out of 13 members). Among the company's executive staff, 44 percent are female and 33 percent are people of color.

BlueCross CEO J.D. Hickey said the insurer "deeply believes in diversity and inclusion because it's the right way to do business for our members and it gives us a competitive advantage by intentionally creating a workforce that's a reflection of the individuals we serve."

BlueCross is Tennessee's biggest health insurer and employs more than 6,000 employees.

"We put our belief into action, and we've approached it in a disciplined way with measurable goals tied directly to executive performance," Hickey said.

BlueCross said it promotes employee development and cultural awareness, and diverse hiring and supplier relationships and community partnerships to ensure its staff and its suppliers reflect the diversity of the Tennessee population BlueCross serves.

Ron Harris, vice president of diversity and inclusion at BlueCross, said the Forbes ranking "validates our historical and ongoing efforts to build a workplace culture where every person is valued and respected."

Top ranked employers

1. Northern Trust Bank

2. Smithsonian Institution

3. Levy

4. Inuit

5. Harvard University

This story was updated Jan. 29, 2018, at 11:52 p.m. with more information and corrected on Jan. 31, 2018, at 9 p.m. to say 46 percent of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's board is comprised of either female or minority directors, not 26 percent as was previously reported.