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Home / Insurance / Female leadership in insurance – practical next step | Insurance blog

Female leadership in insurance – practical next step | Insurance blog

In this series, I have examined the state of female leadership in insurance from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. At the same time as research paints a convincing picture of progress in certain areas, women leaders in insurance have also highlighted the change that still needs to take place in the industry. In this last article in the series, we look at the future and hear from female leaders about how to take the industry forward.

What do insurance companies do?

Many of the women we interviewed agreed that the insurance must focus on creating equal conditions for women to advance to leading positions. The conversation shows that such initiatives are already underway in the industry.

Nuria Fernandez, General Manager at AXA Madrid International Hub, mentions “We have seen that most large insurance companies have already established a foundation for gender equality and diversity and taken various initiatives to promote women’s advancement at different levels in the organization, especially in senior positions. We see that more and more leaders in the insurance industry are present on women’s forums and actively share their initiatives on social media, and it is fantastic to see that it is becoming increasingly relevant for employers and employees. ”

Marga Gabarró OlivetCFO and COO of Zurich Spain also point out “(it) The insurance industry has progressed when it comes to gender equality and I believe that the basis for a game plan exists. However, the rate of change to close the existing gaps must be accelerated. This requires external commitments, which go from awareness to action. In Spain, Zurich is one of the founders of REDEWI, a sectoral initiative covering 70% of the country’s insurance companies, together with a number of intermediaries and official organizations such as the Unespa and Consorcio insurance associations. REDEWI has set a goal that 40% of senior positions in 2023 will be filled by women. This network has created various working groups among insurance companies to provide programs on education, development, work-life balance and visibility. ”

María José Álvarez. The Director of Innovation, Marketing and Development at Grupo Catalana Occidente adds, “We are committed to effective equal opportunities. As an insurance group, we believe that diversity, equality and inclusion are not only fundamental rights, but also competitive advantages for our companies and a priority. strategy for staff management and the creation of an inclusive culture that promotes a balance between professional and personal life in all areas ”.

Allison Cone, Accenture Senior Manager, Marketing, Insurance South (NA), agrees: “I think that even though I have seen leadership make positive changes with new appointments, it is not close to the threshold we might be hoping for at this point. ”

So it is clear that more can be done to accelerate the change of insurance. How can insurance companies nurture female employees in the workforce and create a path to leadership?

Fuel the pipeline with female talent

First, we must start from a pipeline rich in female talent. Female leaders agree that there are many reasons to promote an insurance career among women.

Marga Gabarró Olivet of Zurich emphasizes the different career paths available in the industry right now for women at all levels of their careers, “The insurance sector is going through a major journey of change, offering hugely interesting opportunities to grow professionally and to work in a community of very talented people with different personal and academic backgrounds. “

Carrie Lonze, CEO of Accenture’s non-life insurance consulting business, says: “Insurance is one of the industries that has one aspect of everything. If you want to do underwriting, risk or actuary, there are many opportunities. If you are a relationship person, there is another way in the industry you With customers’ expectations at heights we have never seen before, there is a place for people who want to train their creative brains and offer holistic, personal protection. ”

“So many dynamics make the insurance industry a challenging, fun and exciting place to be – if you love analytical problem solving you have countless options, or if you’re more of a relationship person there are important career opportunities too – and what’s probably the most exciting part is to solve for the changing nature of risk; figure out how to price & UW risks that did not even exist a year ago.With customers’ expectations and technological changes at heights we have never seen before, Insurance is a good place for people who want to train their creative brain and offer a holistic, personal protection “, she adds.

Nuria Fernández, General Manager at AXA Madrid International Hub, agree with: “There is so much room for women to advance in insurance because there are so many different jobs where women can pursue their potential. The industry is evolving and offering great opportunities for younger professionals and new fields such as computer scientists, marketers, digital, etc., and there are even an opportunity for cross-functional growth. “

María José Álvarez from Grupo Catalana Occidente also highlights competitive salaries and flexibility as the two factors that make insurance an interesting industry for women to pursue a career in: “Working in the insurance industry is very attractive for several reasons. In the Spanish case, insurance companies provide employment of the highest quality, which is reflected in contractual stability, remuneration, conciliation measures, training plans, social benefits and commitment to equality and diversity. In addition, 84% of workers in the insurance industry have a flexible working day and 97% of them have received a training plan during the year. This is data that shows the industry’s commitment to promoting initiatives that lead to increased well-being and satisfaction for its employees. “

Ultimately, women are needed in the workforce at all levels. Katrien Buys, Head of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability at Grupo Agea’s Portugal Lisboa, explains why, “The insurance industry offers many rewarding career opportunities, for all interests and skill levels. Ultimately, an insurance company should reflect the customers it serves, and women are needed in the workforce.”

Creating the path to leadership for women

The next step is for companies to promote an environment of inclusive opportunities, where women can advance their careers at the same pace as men.

Katrien Buys comments “as an industry, we must do more to ensure fair and visible career opportunities for all and women should not feel that their gender hinders their career progress. We must create justice and opportunities for everyone to develop within the company. We can do this by provide clear and equitable paths to success and put in place the right processes, initiatives and a transparent infrastructure (formal and informal) to ensure that all employees, men and women, feel supported and included in their career journey. partnerships and programs addressing educational topics. “

Allison Cone of Accenture recommends “Actions must combine coaching for the best female artists with anti-bias training for managers. To accelerate the reduction of the gender gap, financial incentives for leaders who increase female representation in their management groups are also important. It is also important to build female leadership tracks that are specific and tailored to women in companies and take into account the unique needs of a female professional. For example, leaders must ensure that any life events do not figure anyone out or regress their careers.

Finally, leadership training that raises awareness of some of the systemic patterns of past gender equality that hindered progress in this area is of paramount importance. Ultimately, companies should realize that everyone can be part of the solution and build a foundation that supports women leaders around us. Leaders should be held accountable by setting gender and diversity measures and goals with a timeline for performance.

In summary

As the discussions in this series show, diversity in the workforce and equal opportunities would be the key to resilience in an industry undergoing a major transformation.

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

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