In this series, I examine the state of female leadership in the insurance industry from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives. While the research paints a compelling picture of progress in some areas, female leaders in the insurance industry also highlight the changes that still need to happen. In the final article in the series, we look to the future and hear from female leaders How to move the industry forward.
What are insurance companies doing?
Many of the women we spoke to agreed that the insurance industry needs to focus on creating a level playing field for women to advance into leadership positions. It was clear from the conversations that such initiatives are already underway in the industry.
Nuria Fernandez, General Manager Yu AXA Madrid international hub, Mentioned “We see that most large insurance companies have established equality and diversity foundations and have introduced various measures to promote the advancement of women at all levels of the organization, especially in executive positions. We are seeing more and more With more and more insurance industry leaders attending the Women’s Forum and actively sharing their initiative on social media, it’s great to see it becoming increasingly relevant to employers and employees.”
Marga Gabarro OlivierChief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer zurich Spain also noted that “(the) The insurance industry has been making progress on gender equality and I think the basis for a level playing field is there. However, the pace of change needs to be accelerated to close existing gaps, which requires external commitment to turn awareness into action. In Spain, Zurich is one of the founders of the company. redwayThis is a sectoral initiative consisting of 70% of domestic insurance companies as well as some intermediaries and official organizations such as insurance associations Unespa REDEWI has set a goal that by 2023 40% of administrative positions should be held by women. The network sets up different working groups among insurers to deliver programs around training, development, work-life balance and visibility.”
Maria Jose AlvarezDirector of Innovation, Marketing and Development occidental catalonia group Adding: “We are firmly committed to effective equality of opportunity. As an insurance group, we believe that diversity, equality and inclusion are not only fundamental rights, but also a competitive advantage for our business and a strategic priority for people management and customer service.” Create an inclusive culture that promotes balance between professional and personal life in all areas.”
Alison ConnSenior manager of marketing at Accenture Southern Insurance (North America) agreed: “I think that while I see leadership making positive changes with the new appointments, it’s not at the threshold we would like it to be yet. “
It is clear that there is still much work to be done to accelerate change in the insurance industry. How can insurance companies develop female employees and create pathways into leadership?
Cultivate female talents
First, we need to start with a pipeline rich in female talent. Female leaders agree that there are many reasons to promote a career in insurance for women.
Maga Gabarro Zurich’s Olivet emphasizes that the industry currently offers diverse career paths for women at all levels of their careers, “The insurance industry is going through a great transformation journey, which offers very interesting career development and work opportunities. One A community of highly qualified individuals with diverse personal and academic backgrounds.”
Kelly LowndesManaging Director Accenture’s Property & Casualty Insurance Consulting Practice “Insurance is an all-encompassing industry. If you want to do underwriting, risk or actuarial science, there are many opportunities. If you are a relationship person, there is another path to take within the industry.”
“So many dynamics make the insurance industry a challenging, interesting and exciting place – there are countless options for you if you enjoy analytical problem solving, or there are significant career opportunities if you are more interpersonally oriented – And what is perhaps the most exciting part is addressing the changing nature of risk; figuring out how to price and address UW risks that didn’t exist a year ago. As customer expectations and technological change reach heights we’ve never seen before, Insurance is a great place for those who want to exercise their creative brain and provide comprehensive, personalized protection,” she adds.
Nuria Fernández, General Manager, AXA International Center Madrid, agree: “There is a lot of room for women to advance in the insurance field because there are so many different jobs that allow women to realize their potential. The industry is constantly growing and offers huge opportunities for young professionals and new areas such as data scientists, marketers, digital and more. opportunities. , and even opportunities for cross-functional growth.
María José Álvarez of Grupo Catalana Occidente also highlighted competitive salaries and flexibility as two factors that make insurance an interesting career for women: “Working in insurance is very attractive for many reasons. .In the case of Spain, the insurance industry is a very attractive industry. “The company offers employment of the highest quality, reflected in contractual stability, remuneration, accommodation measures, training programs, social benefits and a commitment to equality and diversity On. Additionally, 84% of workers in the insurance industry have flexible working days and 97% have flexible working hours. “Some of them underwent training programs during the year. These figures demonstrate the industry’s commitment to promoting initiatives aimed at improving worker well-being and satisfaction.”
Ultimately, women are needed at all levels of the workforce. Katrin MessDirector of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability Portugal Fortis Group Lisbon Explaining why, “The insurance industry offers many valuable career opportunities for people of all interests and skill levels. Ultimately, insurance companies should reflect the customers they serve, and there is a need for women in the workforce.”
Creating leadership paths for women
The next step for the company is to create an environment of inclusive opportunity where women can advance their careers at the same rate as men.
Katrien Buys commented: “As an industry, we need to do more to ensure fair and visible career opportunities for all, and women should not feel like their gender is holding them back from progressing in their careers. We need to create opportunities for everyone within our companies Progress creates equity and opportunity. We do this by providing clear and fair pathways to success and putting in place the right processes, initiatives and transparent infrastructure (formal and informal) to ensure that all employees, whether male or female, They feel supported and engaged throughout their careers. We do have partnerships and programs that close the pay gap and create partnerships and programs that address training topics.”
Allison Cone of Accenture recommends “Measures need to combine coaching of top female performers with anti-bias training for senior executives. To accelerate the closing of the gender gap, financial incentives for leaders who increase female representation in C-suite teams are also key. It’s also important to create a track for women in management that specifically targets women within the company and takes into account the unique needs of female professionals. For example, leaders need to ensure that no life event causes someone to be excluded or set their career back.
Finally, it is critical that management training raises awareness of some of the systemic patterns of gender equality that have hindered progress in this area in the past. Ultimately, companies should recognize that everyone can be part of the solution and build a foundation of support for women to bring leaders around us. Leaders should hold themselves accountable by setting gender and diversity targets and targets, as well as timelines for achievement.
As discussions in this series demonstrate, workforce diversity and equal opportunity are critical to the resilience of an industry undergoing significant transformation.
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