Category Archives: Diversity

Women and Insurance

Women, in particular young women, are becoming a rarity among the ranks of workers in the U.S. finance industry, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal today.

Its analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that in the past 10 years (2000 to 2009), the ranks of female finance workers declined by 2.6 percent, while the ranks of male workers grew by 9.6 percent in the same period.

The WSJ reports that the shift runs counter to changes in the U.S. labor market as a whole, where the number of women grew by 4.1 percent in the past decade, compared to a 0.5 percent increase in male workers.

The numbers appear to be more pronounced among young workers (ages 20-35). The WSJ analysis finds that since 2000, the number of young women working in finance has dropped by 16.5 percent, while the number of men in the same age range grew by 7.3 percent.

While the recession is partly to blame, the WSJ suggests that other factors are having an impact, such as the growing use of technology replacing some of the  jobs traditionally filled by women.

Regardless of gender, this may be a good time to mention that the insurance industry is a major U.S. employer.

I.I.I. research shows the industry provides some 2.3 million jobs that encompass a wide variety of careers, from human resource administrators to public relations managers to financial analysts.

Some jobs, such as claims adjusters, actuaries and insurance underwriters, are unique to the insurance industry.

Check out I.I.I.’s September 2010 report on insurance industry employment trends.

For more information about the diverse career opportunities in the insurance industry, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Career Guide to Industries.

The Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW) and the National Association of Insurance Women (NAIW) are two established industry associations that provide women with opportunities for networking and professional development.

Pride Round-Up 2010

June is Pride month and so it’s time for our round-up of the latest news and developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Here are some of the top stories:

The counting has begun: The 2010 U.S. Census will be the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses. The Williams Institute at UCLA reports that while the 2010 Census did not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBT people living with a spouse or partner were able to identify their relationship by checking either “husband or wife† or “unmarried partner† box.

To have and to hold: Same sex marriage is now legal in five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia. In addition, a number of states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships. In California, the outcome of a federal court case will determine the constitutional validity of Proposition 8 (a constitutional amendment passed in November 2008 that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples). It’s important to recognize that state laws do not extend any of the benefits on a Federal level.

Healthy, wealthy and wise: The MetLife Mature Market Institute has made its publication Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples available free to the public. Compiled with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), the publication offers guidance and advice to LGBT boomers in the areas of legacy planning, employee benefits, healthcare, financial and retirement planning.

Going to market: LGBT consumers are eager for health insurers to market to them directly. A national survey conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications found that only 12 percent of LGBT adults were aware of any health insurance provider that currently markets (or has marketed) products to the LGBT community specifically. In addition, 81 percent of gays and lesbians feel it is important to see print advertisements for health care carriers with information specifically intended for them as customers.

Corporate Equality Index

Despite the serious economic downturn, some 305 businesses – including a number of insurers – have earned the top rating in the 2010 edition of the annual Corporate Equality Index published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The Index rates employers on a scale from 0 to 100 percent based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workplace policies and benefits. Ratings are based on factors including nondiscrimination policies, diversity training, and healthcare partner benefits. As an industry, insurance scored an average 88 percent rating this year. We tip our hat to Pacific Life Insurance Co and TIAA-CREF for receiving the 100 percent rating for the first time. Other insurers receiving the 100 percent rating include: Allianz Life, Allstate, Chubb, CNA, Esurance, The Hartford, MetLife, Nationwide, New York Life Insurance Co, and Progressive. Aon, Deloitte and Marsh & McLennan were among other insurance-related businesses to earn the top rating. At 305, the number of top-rated businesses is up 17 percent from 260 last year. Collectively these businesses employ more than 9 million full-time employees.

Pride Month

June is Pride month and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, widely recognized as a milestone in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. Here’s a round-up of some of the latest news and developments affecting the LGBT community that may be of interest:

 ·Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Same sex marriage has now been legalized in six states (three via a court ruling, three via the legislature): Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. A same-sex marriage bill has also passed the New York State Assembly, but has yet to progress in the Senate. In California, the state Supreme Court has upheld the validity of some 18,000 same sex marriages that took place in 2008 but same sex marriage is no longer legal in the state after passage of a constitutional amendment that was upheld by the court. It’s important to recognize that state laws do not extend any of the benefits on a Federal level.

 ·Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Aetna last October became the first U.S. health insurer to link its site to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s (GLMA) database. As a result, Aetna’s DocFind online health care provider directory is now linked to GLMA’s growing database of more than 1,200 LGBT-friendly medical professionals. The database includes primary care providers, specialists, therapists, and dentists who welcome LGBT patients.

 ·Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Insurers (Metlife, Chubb, Nationwide, Marsh & McLennan Cos, New York Life Insurance Co and Progressive) were among 259 businesses to earn the top rating in the seventh annual Corporate Equality index published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) last September. The Index rates employers based on their treatment of LGBT employees, customers and investors. Ratings are based on factors such as nondiscrimination policies and domestic partner benefits.

 ·Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   As companies look to reach out to the LGBT market, they may like to know that a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that gay and lesbian adults are more likely to read blogs and to use social networking tools. For example, more than half (55 percent) of gay and lesbian respondents reported reading some type of blog, compared to only 38 percent of heterosexuals. Gay and lesbian adults are also choosing to connect online through social networking sites more often, with some 23 percent of gay and lesbian respondents reporting being members of the business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn, compared to 13 percent of heterosexual adults.

Corporate Equality

Insurers are among 259 businesses that have earned the top rating in the seventh annual Corporate Equality index published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The Index rates employers on a scale from 0 to 100 percent on their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) employees, customers and investors. Ratings are based on factors including nondiscrimination policies, diversity and inclusion, training, healthcare and domestic partner benefits. This year we tip our hat to Marsh & McLennan Cos, New York Life Insurance Co and The Progressive Corp for receiving the 100 percent rating for the first time. MetLife received the 100 percent rating for the sixth year in a row, while Chubb and Nationwide received it for the fifth consecutive year. The number of top-rated businesses reached an unprecedented 259 this year, an increase of one-third on last year. Collectively these businesses employ more than 9.3 million full-time U.S. workers.  

Pride Focus

As June is Pride month, it’s time to review a number of legal and legislative developments with implications for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. From next Tuesday same-sex marriages will be legal in the state of California. The change in law follows a May 15 ruling by the Supreme Court of California overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage. California follows Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has been legal since May 2004. California already has a domestic partnership law in place.

A growing number of other states now have civil union or domestic partnership laws, including: Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Oregon, Maine, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Other trends to watch for†¦ Two cases, one before the Supreme Court in Connecticut  and another about to be heard in Iowa, could bring rulings making same-sex marriage legal. Meanwhile same-sex marriage legislation is being considered by legislatures in both New Jersey and New York. While state laws do not extend any of the benefits on the Federal level, insurers along with other businesses are monitoring these developments.  

Corporate Equality

A number of insurers have earned top marks in the sixth annual Corporate Equality Index published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The Index rates employers on a scale from 0 to 100 percent on their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) employees, consumers and investors. Ratings are based on factors including nondiscrimination policies, diversity training and benefits for domestic partners and transgender employees. A few standouts: Allstate, Aon, Esurance, Hartford Financial Services and Massachusetts Mutual Life received the 100 percent rating for the first time. Chubb and Nationwide each received the 100 percent rating for the fourth year in a row. Overall, some 195 U.S. businesses employing more than 8.3 million workers earned the top rating of 100 percent in this year’s survey, a 41 percent increase on last year. Pause for thought: when the index was first released in 2002, only 13 companies employing 690,000 workers received the top rating.  

Pride Awareness

June is Pride month, so it’s time to highlight a few recent developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community that may be of interest. We’ve blogged before about how a more diverse company is a better performing company and another study from research and advisory group Catalyst supports this theory. Titled “Making Change: LGBT Inclusion – Understanding the Challenges† the report explores how LGBT issues are a key component of any comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy in business. Meanwhile, a growing number of states in the northeast (CT, VT, NJ, ME) and west (CA, HI, WA) now have civil union or domestic partnership laws in place and  same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since May 2004. New Hampshire recently signed into law a civil union bill and Oregon will soon join the list. It’s important to recognize that the laws in each state are different and offer varying legal protections to same-sex couples. Also, the state laws do not extend any of the benefits on the Federal level. Nonetheless, these developments perhaps point to an underlying trend with a potential impact for many businesses, including insurers. We welcome your thoughts.

Top 50 for Diversity

By our count, five insurers have made it onto the Top 50 Companies for Diversity 2007 list published by DiversityInc magazine. They are: Allstate (40), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (15), Health Care Service Corp (33), Kaiser Permanente (27) and Prudential Financial (24). If we include banks offering insurance, the list expands by another six or so. A total of 317 companies participated in this year’s survey. Perhaps more compelling is that expressed as a stock index, DiversityInc’s Top 50 outperformed the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ for the fourth consecutive year on a 10-, five- and one-year basis. Noteworthy mention: Allstate, a top 50 mainstay, also ranked 10th on the Top 10 Companies for African Americans.  

  

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day aimed at connecting women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. A  review of the IWD site  reveals that among the top companies supporting women and IWD is insurer Aviva. Apparently, more than 50 percent of Aviva staff worldwide and approximately 17 percent of its senior management are women. This is encouraging news, particularly in light of a recent study by research and advisory group Catalyst that reveals a persistent shortage of women in corporate leadership positions. According to its findings, women held just 15.6 percent of Fortune 500 corporate officer positions in 2006, down from 16.4 percent in 2005. At the current rate of change, Catalyst estimates it could take women 47 years to reach parity with men as corporate officers of Fortune 500 companies. Food for thought.