Tag Archives: Women’s History Month

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 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.