Category Archives: Diversity

Women and Insurance

Today marks International Women’s Day so it’s appropriate we take a look at the contribution made by women to the insurance industry.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reports  that women have comprised about 61 percent of the insurance industry workforce in each year from 2006 to 2015, according to the Current Population Survey (CPS), an annual survey of business establishments in private industry conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In 2015, there were 1.6 million women employed in the insurance sector, accounting for 59.4 percent of the 2.7 million workers in the insurance industry, according to the BLS.

The percentage of women in selected insurance occupations varies, ranging from 51 percent of insurance sales agents to 77 percent of insurance claims and policy clerks in 2015. In 2015, women accounted for 47 percent of all workers, based on households in the CPS survey.

Female Workforce in U.S. Insurance Occupations

An ever-increasing percentage of small businesses in the United States are owned by women. In recognition of Women’s History Month, the I.I.I. recommends six key strategies to ensure your business is financially protected.

Also check out the I.I.I’s Pinterest Board that looks at the great strides women have made in the insurance field, including profiles of some of the most influential insurance doyens today.

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) today announced the fourth year of its Women in Insurance Conference Series.

Dates and locations of the next four installments of the series are as follows:

-June 9, Northeast Regional Forum: New York City

-June 13, Midwest Regional Forum: Chicago

-June 21, Texas/Southeast Regional Forum: Dallas

-June 23, Western Regional Forum: Los Angeles

The IICF Women in Insurance Conference Series is designed to provide an environment for insightful discussions surrounding gender diversity in insurance, industry leadership, and the changing world and future of the insurance industry.

Primary sponsors of this year’s conference series include CNA, XL Catlin, The Hartford, FM Global, WillisTowersWatson, GenRe, Farmers Insurance, and Munich Re.

Women Good for Insurance

We spend a lot of time explaining why insurance is good for individuals, society and the economy as a whole, but a new report reverses that equation.

It focuses on the current and anticipated impact of women on the global insurance market.

Conducted by the International Financial Corporation (IFC), AXA and Accenture, the report estimates that women’s individual spending on insurance premiums will grow to between $1.45 trillion and $1.7 trillion by 2030–half of it in just 10 emerging economies.

That represents a doubling from the current annual premium value of the women’s global market of $770 billion.

The report cites an increased level of education, income, improved socioeconomic status, and a greater need for protection as key reasons that make women a big opportunity for insurers.

This is strongly reflected in a very simple yet telling number: women across the world are willing to invest 90 percent of their income into their households.”

Furthermore, women entrepreneurs now represent one-third of the world’s business owners, and they need protection for their businesses. Just 31 percent of women entrepreneurs surveyed held protection or savings-oriented life insurance, for example.

WomensInsuranceMarketProjections2030

The report also highlights that women’s attitudes to fraud, claims and loyalty, their roles as a trusted source of recommendations, and their relational rather than transactional approach to networks make them a valuable customer and inexpensive brand ambassador for insurers.

Women can act as strong advocates or social marketers for insurers and financial services firms, and are more likely than men to recommend a product or service to their friends and family, the report finds. They are also greatly influenced by the advice of their female peers.

Therefore, women can play a key role in explaining and selling insurance products across customer segments, and especially to other women.

What women want and need from insurance varies by age, income level and lifecycle events, however.

The report urges insurers to abandon the one-size-fits-all approach and instead identify and target segments of women who share common needs and constraints in order to take advantage of this growth opportunity.

Check out I.I.I. facts and statistics on careers and employment to discover what percentage of the insurance industry workforce comprises women.

Pride in Insurance

June is Pride month and our annual round-up of the latest insurance news around the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community takes on added significance with today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges means that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states. This has a number of implications for health, life, and auto insurance.

For example, health and life benefits that currently exist in states that recognize same-sex marriage will—once the law goes into effect—extend to all states.

Some of these benefits include: coverage of a same-sex spouse and children under health insurance plans; equal tax treatment of health insurance premiums for married gay couples; and recognition of a spouse for survivor benefits, including social security and life insurance.

For auto insurance offerings, too, this means that LGBT customers who are married will be entitled to the married rate, regardless of where they live.

Esurance, one of the first car insurers to extend the married rate to LGBT customers, points to what equality means for auto insurance in a just-issued press release here.

For LGBT couples who are married or are planning to get married, Esurance offers the following advice:

In addition to saving money with the married rate, married couples in states newly recognizing same-sex marriage can be identified as a spouse on their partner’s insurance policy. This will allow them to receive additional benefits on that policy such as coverage while driving a rental or borrowed car.

Until the ruling goes into effect in individual states, Esurance will continue to extend its married rate to either married gay couples, domestic partners or those in civil unions–even in states that have yet to recognize same-sex marriage. Something it has done since 2011.”

Pride Round-Up 2014

June is Pride month so it’s time for our annual round-up of the latest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) insurance news.

Corporate Equality: A record 304 businesses, including 16 insurers scored 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices. The number of insurers achieving the top ranking has seen a steady increase over the last decade, going from zero in 2002, to 10 in 2008 and 16 in 2014. A total of 734 businesses were rated in the 2014 CEI. This year marks the first time in history that over 60 percent of the Fortune 500 include both sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

LGBT Marketing: There’s been a surge of marketing directed at LGBT consumers — and with good reason. The total buying power of the LGBT adult population in the U.S. for 2013 was projected at $830 billion, according to a November analysis by Witeck Communications. But it’s not just LGBT consumers who respond to this advertising. Some 70 percent of non-LGBT adults are likely to consider a brand known to provide equal workplace benefits, Harris Interactive and Witeck Communications found. Just a few weeks ago, insurer Allstate launched its “Out Holding Hands” program, to encourage members of the LGBT community to share special and everyday moments out holding hands with their loved ones. Allstate teamed up with singer-songwriter Eli Lieb to create a video that illustrates the company’s belief that everyone should be treated with respect and without judgment no matter who they love. The video can be viewed on Allstate.com/LGBT.

Allstate’s campaign is certainly eye-catching. On a recent trip to Asbury Park, New Jersey, we couldn’t miss this billboard:

Women in Insurance: Crystal Eastman

I.I.I. chief actuary James Lynch brings us a timely post on one of the most important female contributors to the history of property/casualty insurance:

Constituting nearly 60 percent of the insurance work force in the United States, women are clearly important to the insurance industry.

March is Women’s History Month and this is the perfect time to honor the importance of women in the industry. Our earlier post on this topic can be read here.

The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) plays its part, in an indirect way. This month’s Actuarial Review, as part of the organization’s centennial, touches on one of the most important female contributors to the history of property/casualty insurance.

The woman is Crystal Eastman (pictured).

Eastman  wasn’t an actuary, and to my knowledge she never worked in insurance. She was a lawyer, a radical in her day, and one of her causes was workers’ rights. Her 1910 publication, Work-accidents and the law, detailed worker injuries in 1907 and 1908 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and the economic toll those injuries took.

In those 12 months, 529 workers died from job-related maladies (see table). Eastman led a team that investigated every death, plus another 509 workers hospitalized between April and June 1908.

About one third of the accidents were unavoidable, the study found, while  one third were the fault of the workers themselves and another third resulted from employers failing to provide a safe workplace. The financial burden of the accidents, though, fell overwhelmingly on the victims and their families. They lacked the resources to sue, and common law at the time was stacked against them anyhow.

The solution: workers compensation – insurance covering worker injuries without regard to fault. But early workers comp laws were ruled unconstitutional, typically because they took from employers their right to due process – their day in court. New York’s law, for example, was found unconstitutional on March 24, 1911.

The next day, 146 workers – 123 of them women – died in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. The tragedy led to a state commission, headed by Frances Perkins – later the first female Cabinet member – that documented dismal and dangerous working conditions across the state. The result: a workers comp law that passed constitutional muster.

The law addressed the workers problems – now they could be compensated for their injuries. It created an insurance problem: without a court to adjudicate, how does one set a fair compensation for an injury?

It was for this task that, in 1914, the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) was created. So it is not much of a stretch to say that women, both famous and not so famous, are at the fountainhead of the organization.

Check out I.I.I. facts and statistics on workers compensation here  and on careers and employment here.

#InternationalWomensDay

Saturday is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month so it’s a good time to talk about gender diversity in the insurance industry.

While women are well-represented across the insurance industry as a whole, there are very few women in the top executive positions.

The fact remains that only 6 percent of C-suite positions (CEO, CFO, COO) in the insurance industry are occupied by women and only 12.6 percent of board seats are held by women, according to a recent study by the Academy of Risk Management & Insurance at St Joseph’s University.

Findings from the SJU study were presented at last year’s IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference.

However, the glass ceiling is starting to shatter, as evidenced by the recent appointment of Inga Beale as Lloyd’s first female CEO.

Beale took the reins in January and shares her vision for the Lloyd’s market and the challenges and opportunities ahead in this interview at lloyds.com.

Asked to describe her management style, Beale said:

I’ve always enjoyed teamwork and see great benefit in having diverse teams working well together. I therefore do my best to be inclusive, get people involved, particularly when they are the experts, and build solutions and plans together.†

Read more about Beale’s historic appointment in this article by the Financial Times.

For more on women in insurance, Business Insurance’s annual feature Women to Watch spotlights 25 women who are doing outstanding work in commercial insurance, reinsurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields, such as law and consulting.

Check out Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) facts and statistics on women in insurance here.

Pride Round-Up 2013

June is Pride month and this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, gives added significance to our annual round-up of the latest news affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Supreme Court Rulings: On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two long-awaited decisions on same-sex marriage. Aon Hewitt notes that these rulings will have long-term implications for employers that sponsor employee benefit plans. Given that section 3 of DOMA affects more than 1,000 federal laws, including those related to estate and gift taxes, Social Security benefits and tax return filings, Willis reports that the DOMA ruling will have a significant impact on employer-sponsored plans. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest changes for married gay couples will be equal tax treatment of health insurance premiums. The DOMA ruling applies only to workers in the 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize gay marriage. Questions abound in the wake of the ruling, Willis adds. Insurers were among the 278 leading businesses that signed an amicus brief submitted in the DOMA case. A Hartford Courant blog post has more on the insurance implications of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling.

Corporate Equality: A record 252 businesses, including 12 insurers scored 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2013 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices. The number of insurers achieving the top ranking almost doubled to 12, up from seven the prior year. A total of 889 businesses were rated in the 2013 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. This year saw the largest growth in the survey’s history with 54 new businesses participating.

Women and Life Insurance

March is Women’s History Month, an important time to empower women about their finances, and one area women underestimate their contribution to their families’ economic well-being is by lacking sufficient life insurance, says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

The I.I.I. raises an important point. A national poll by wholesaleinsurance.net found that 43 percent of adult women have no life insurance and among those that are insured, many are severely underinsured, carrying just one-fourth of the amount that would likely be needed by their life insurance policies’ beneficiaries.

Indeed, women who are a family’s primary breadwinner carry 31 percent less life insurance than their male counterparts, even as a growing number of women earn as much, if not more, than their husbands, says the I.I.I.

Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I., notes:

Ironically, 100 years ago women weren’t even able to buy life insurance. Today, women can protect their finances, but they aren’t buying the coverage or, if they are, it isn’t enough.†

This leads us to wonder why more women don’t buy adequate life insurance.

Metlife’s 2012 Protecting a Diverse Workforce report offers some interesting perspective on this issue. Its findings confirm that women are less insured with only twice their income in life insurance coverage, compared to men, who are covered for nearly three times their earnings.

However, the tendency for women to be underinsured is not due to a lack of awareness about life insurance. Metlife reported that 50 percent of women who earn $50,000 or more in income believe they don’t have as much coverage as they need, versus 39 percent of men.

Instead, the report found that more women than men find the process of choosing the right life insurance product to be complex. Some 67 percent of women believe that selecting the right life insurance product is a complicated process, compared with 59 percent of men.

MetLife noted that this belief also extends to selecting the right amount of coverage, where some 59 percent of women feel it can be a complicated process, compared to 50 percent of men.

Another key takeaway from the MetLife study is a difference in the perceived purpose of life insurance among men and women.

Not only do men place a higher value on insuring their income and protecting their financial security than women, but about half of women view life insurance primarily for burial and final expenses, compared to 40 percent of men.

As MetLife says:

This presents the opportunity to educate and reinforce the income protection role of this product, especially with women.†

Check out a recent  article in Employee Benefit News for further discussion of the psychological and financial barriers to women buying adequate life insurance.

Insurers Among Top Scorers In Corporate Equality Index

A record number of businesses, spanning nearly every industry and major geographic area of the United States, ranked as top scorers in this year’s Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

When the CEI was launched in 2001, only 13 businesses achieved a top score. This year, a record 252 businesses, including 12 insurers, achieved the top rating of 100 percent.

According to HRC, the results demonstrate that a new normal has arrived:

The policies, benefits and practices businesses must implement to earn a perfect score are best-in-class demonstrations of corporate commitments to LGBT workers.†

The number of insurers achieving the top rating almost doubled to 12, up from seven a year ago.

Insurers receiving the 100 percent rating this year are: AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, AIG, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Chubb Corp, Hartford Financial Services Group, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, ING North America, MetLife  Nationwide, Progressive Corp, Prudential Financial, and Sun Life Financial.

Aon, Deloitte  and Marsh & McLennan were among other insurance-related businesses to earn the top rating.

The CEI rates employers on a scale from 0 to 100 percent based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices, including non-discrimination policies and training, partner benefits, transgender inclusive health insurance coverage and LGBT resource groups.

A total of 889 businesses have been rated in the 2013 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. This year saw the largest growth in the survey’s history with 54 new businesses participating.

Pride Round-Up 2012

June is Pride month. Here’s our annual round-up of some of the latest news and developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community:

Equality Is: Allstate Insurance has announced a new marketing campaign aimed at the LGBT audience. The Denver Post reports that Allstate is offering its services in an online/social media campaign called “Equality Is†, tapping into what is widely regarded as a  growing business segment.  What does equality look like to you? Share a quote, image or video to add to the story on Allstate’s interactive webpage. Better yet, get any insurance quote and Allstate will give $10 to the San Francisco LGBT Center or the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

Gay Rights Infographic: It’s well understood that the ever-changing legal landscape can affect both how you do business and which products you sell in a particular country or region. Gay rights laws in the U.S. vary from state to state. Â  This cool infographic from the London Guardian shows how these laws affect the lives of LGBT people on a range of issues, including marriage, hospital visitation, adoption, employment, housing, hate crimes and school bullying.

Corporate equality: The list of insurers to score 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices was shorter than prior years. That’s because HRC has raised the bar on its ratings criteria, now including a new metric that rewards companies that offer equal health coverage for transgender employees, including sexual reassignment surgery. Even so, some 190 corporations, including seven insurers, still received a 100 percent score on the significantly more stringent criteria. We posted  more on the  2012  CEI  here.