How female leaders in insurance rank equality in the industry


Diversity and inclusion is a priority across all industries, and insurance is no different. In this series, we have examined the state of diversity among insurers operating in Europe through a gender lens, particularly in promoting leadership in the industry. In previous posts in the series, we’ve outlined key research findings on the positive impact of gender equality in industry leadership. We also noted some key cases of European insurers championing equity through active targets and internal mentoring programmes. I have had the privilege of speaking to many women leaders in the industry and hearing their perspectives on the progress of the insurance industry from their perspective. In this article and the one that follows, I will share some of their key thoughts on how far we have come in promoting gender equality, and what we need to focus on going forward.

The insurance industry has improved, but she still needs to work on her acting

Most of the women interviewed acknowledged that gender equality in the insurance industry has improved in recent years, primarily through targeted internal programmes. Allison Kuhnsenior manager at Accenture, Marketing, Insurance Southern (NA) believes this deliberate action is pointing the industry in the right direction, “I think the industry is definitely lagging behind compared to other categories. However, there has been positive momentum over the past five years that has accelerated A much-needed industry correction.”

In some European countries, the data looks positive. Maria Jose Alvarez. Director of Innovation, Marketing and Development Grupo Catalana Occidente He says, “Data provided by UNESPA (Unión Española de Entidades Aseguradoras y Reaseguradoras) explains that insurance companies have made great strides in this regard. Female employment in the Spanish insurance sector, according to UNESPA, has increased fivefold over the past three decades, and women currently represent more than 50% of the workforce in insurance companies in Spain. Moreover, their presence is increasing across all fields and occupational categories. However, we still have a long way to go, and we must continue to promote measures that encourage greater representation of women in leadership positions by setting goals, as well as giving them greater visibility.”

leaders of Zurich And AXA They affirmed their companies’ commitment to nurturing female leaders. Nuria Fernandez“We have made clear efforts to increase the number of women in senior positions,” says AXA. AXA has progressed from 9% in 2009 to 36% women in the Global Leadership Network (GLN) by the end of 2021. Women hold 37% of CEO positions in that GLN group. However, our ambition is to reach gender parity, and that means moving to 50% of senior leadership positions held by women in 2023.”

Marga Gabarro-OlivierZurich affirmed the industry’s commitment to gender equality, but noted that the percentage of female leaders in the industry remains low, “We see most international and local insurers, global and regional brokers and many other industry stakeholders publicly commit to sustainability programmes, which usually include actions Related to diversity and inclusion as well as gender equality. Having said that, it is also clear that as in most industries, there is still a huge gap to be bridged in terms of women in leadership roles, equal pay or transparency in D&I among others. Spain for example, we have seen a significant increase in the number of women in executive positions, but still female CEOs account for only 13% of such positions in the industry.”

While female leadership has been our focus for this series, Catherine Bays Grupo Ageas Portugal’s Director of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability makes a valid point that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a far-reaching priority that must be stretched for maximum impact,” D&I strategies, commitments and practices with a focus on gender equality and employment with disabilities tend to be the most common Because of focus on compliance Most diversity and inclusion strategies focus internally and seek diversity and inclusion among their employees Few companies go beyond this scope and address other stakeholders such as their customers for example D&I strategies, commitments and practices that focus on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity are rare .”

Kara MortonCEO of Cover-More Group, agreed, saying, “As a whole, the industry is improving but has a long way to go. Not just about gender, but in terms of diversity in all forms.”

Diversity benefits the insurance industry across the board

At the product and service level, insurers need to ensure that the teams that build their offering represent the ones they serve. Kara Morton said, “Diversity brings different perspectives. If the same people use the same lens, you get the same output. In insurance, like many products, 50% of customers are women.”

from a business perspective, Nuria Fernandez It also points out that “increasing women’s participation in the workforce will also increase women’s desire to invest in the security and protection of their families, which is particularly important for the insurance industry. Thus, an egalitarian society promotes economic growth and generates additional insurance premiums.”

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, many research studies have also shown that creating a diverse work environment can make organizations more creative and higher performers.

Carmen del Campo Elvira of Mutua Madrilene echoes the research, saying, “As a company is more diversified, more sophisticated valuation and analysis capabilities will have implications in terms of long-term profitability and sustainability. In fact, several studies positively link diverse senior leadership among gender and better performers.

Catherine Baez emphasizes the impact of diversity in the workplace, saying: “More inclusive teams have better teamwork and greater feelings of inclusion among employees translates into increases in perceived team performance (17%), quality of decision-making (20%) and team collaboration (29%) )”

“People who work in an inclusive environment feel empowered to be themselves, be more engaged, efficient and happy. They are not afraid to share new ideas and perspectives, leading to more creative and innovative collective problem-solving. Therefore, equity is as central to the future success of our industry as it is For our society. Equality refers not only to gender, but also to diversity between generations, cultural diversity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.” Marga Jabaro The olives are saved.

As we’ve discovered throughout this series, diversity, inclusion, and gender equality in leadership is a priority that requires focus and intentional action. In the final article in this series, I’ll share insights from women insurance leaders on why insurance is a fulfilling career for women, and what practical steps they think should be taken to lead an equitable industry.

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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.