NEW YORK – Progress has been made, but organizations still have work to do to build inclusive cultures where more women can advance to leadership roles in the insurance industry, according to a panel of speakers on Thursday 2022 Business insurance Women to Watch Awards and Leadership Conference.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is something the industry has historically lacked, said Michael Chang, head of corporate risk and broking North America at WTW.
“There’s a lot of talent and diversity of thought, and diversity of people is what organizations need in this industry to be successful,” Chang said.
When he joined WTW 60 days ago, Mr. Chang that he saw that WTW̵7;s senior management team in North America was not as diverse as he thought it should be and that it needed to change in order to accomplish its goals.
“I saw that there weren’t that many women. I don’t think there were any people of color, and it might have been one person in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s pretty synonymous with a number of other companies across the US in the financial industry,” said he.
The team, which consists of 40 senior executives in North America, is now made up of 50% people of color, women and the LGBTQ+ community, Chang said. “They are all super talented; they were just overlooked, he said.
By 2021, women held 21% of board seats, 19% of the C-suite and 5% of CEO roles in the financial sector, based on Deloitte LLP data, said Cynthia Beveridge, CEO of Aon Broking.
McKinsey & Co. data shows that 64% of C-suite financial services executives are white men and 23% are white women, while 9% are men of color and 4% are women of color, Beveridge said.
“It’s shocking because we’ve been doing this for quite some time. We’re on a journey,” she said.
Women of color make up about 52% of entry-level positions in finance and 57% in insurance, but after that, representation in all corporate positions drops by 80%, Beveridge said.
While the insurance industry is making progress, “we should think about how our businesses look and how we respond to our customer base,” she said.
Lynn Oldfield, president and CEO of AIG Canada, said about 58% of her management team is female. “There is diversity; 25% of my board is female and 48% of my managers are female simply by intent, investment and ongoing inclusion,” said Oldfield.
Building an inclusive workforce is “mission critical” to an organization’s financial health, she said. “Controlling the top and bottom lines within an organization is, I think, the future state and ability to rise to the C-suite level,” she said.
AIG has 11 women running countries and regions around the world, Oldfield said. “Here in North America, our head of claims, our head of financial lines and our global head of multinationals are all women,” she said.
The session “Shattering Glass Ceilings – and Walls” was moderated by Bonnie Boone, a managing broker and insurance professional.
Mrs. Boone was in 2008 Business insurance Women To Watch honored and in 2015 was one of three previous honorees to be recognized with Business insurance Impact Awards for their exceptional contributions to diversity and inclusion in their industries.