By Marielle Rodriguez, Social Media and Brand Design Coordinator, Triple-I
Triple-I's "Insurance Careers Corner" series was created to highlight pioneers in insurance and to spread awareness of career opportunities in the industry.  Susan Holliday
March is Women & # 39 ;s History Month, and this month we interviewed Susan Holliday, Senior Advisor at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank, where she focuses on insurtech and SME insurance and women . She is also a foreign researcher at Triple-I. Holliday sat down with us to discuss the development of trends in insurtech, how technology and innovation can help reduce the protection gap and the importance of cooperation in managing climate risk.
Tell us about your current role in International Finance Corporation (IFC). How did you end up in a career as an adviser and investor in insurance?
IFC is the private sector within the World Bank. We focus on making investments and advising on emerging markets in sectors ranging from infrastructure to banking, insurance and healthcare. I have had a 33-year career in the financial sector, especially with a focus on insurance and more recently fintech. I joined IFC to work with insurance and fintech. I currently work in various departments at IFC and at the World Bank and build a board portfolio. I am also a foreign researcher for Triple-I.
Much of your work is focused on insurance for women and SMEs. What do you hope to achieve by investing in women's insurance?
Before joining IFC in 201
Following the publication of the She for Shield report, the IFC began advising insurance companies in emerging markets on how to successfully serve women. IFC already had a program called "Banking on Women", which provided funding for banks to lend to women and women-led SMEs. When we make investments in emerging markets, we are interested in taking an angle that better supports women.
Can you work out the protection gap between women and men and between people with different economic backgrounds?
If you think about it, the insurance industry has a great history and is hundreds of years old. Many products were developed a long time ago when society and family structures are very different from what they look like now. Today, for example, there are many single women and single parents, and most women work, which was not the case when the products were developed. We also have gig finance workers. The standard option has always been to continue offering products that have been offered for 50-100 years, but they do not necessarily meet the needs of today's customers, whether they are women or men.
This is why I like technology and innovation. To close the protection gap, we must protect the things that people care about and that need to be protected. There has been an imbalance between traditional products and the actual risks that people face.
There has been a report from the Chartered Insurance Institute called "Insuring Women & # 39; s Futures" which looked at different times during a person's lifetime and shows where a woman can be treated differently than a man. For example, having maternity leave, having a smaller pension and living longer. It pointed out all these things that could accumulate and leave a woman in a much worse position [than men]. Families are no longer a working man, a home-woman and children. Insurance must catch up with reality, and this applies not only to women but to all societies that are underserved. This will not only be a challenge for the industry but also an opportunity to grow.
As an advisor to start-ups, what impact do you see these companies making? are critical. There is no insurance without insurtech. We will never close the protection gap if we do not use and use new technology to do so.
One of the trends is bit size insurance on demand. For example, instead of buying insurance for a year, you could turn it on and off, which is relevant to gig economy workers and is popular in developing countries. Some people prefer to access [insurance] when they need it.
Another trend is to use alternative data to cover the protection gap and get insurance for more people. If we only rely on the old data sources, many are excluded from the market or priced. It may have built-in prejudices, which were not intended, but may disadvantage women or certain racial groups. The combination of alternative data sources and artificial intelligence is exciting.
You are part of the management team of Triple-I & # 39 ;s Resilience Accelerator. Tell us about your work with the initiative and why you chose to join the team.
One area where the protection gap is large in the United States lies in natural disasters and climate-related risks. We have seen so many things happen in recent years, such as Hurricane Harvey, and most recently the very cold snowstorms in Texas and the forest fires on the American west coast. I think this is an extremely important area. It is something that affects everyone, regardless of gender, income level or political identity.
I especially like Accelerator, because I think insurance has a bigger role to play in prevention and limitation, not just about compensation, and I like the method of bringing different stakeholders together.
2020 was a historic year for natural disaster losses. What is the insurance industry doing to mitigate future losses and to prepare for a world affected by climate change? What are the industry's biggest challenges when it comes to creating resilience?
First and foremost, to make insurance more accessible and more affordable. For example, there are parametric, index-based insurances, which can be provided at the micro level and are used in some developing countries.
We must engage in long-term thinking about how we can be more resilient to these risks in the first place. We need to think about building cities and agricultural land in a way that makes them more resilient to weather losses. It has to do with planning, infrastructure, and it may have to do with changing certain industries. that all sides work together. The industry must have a voice and be taken seriously. We need to think about how different parts of society can share the risk of climate-related losses.