Tag Archives: Diversity

#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.

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.

Women In Insurance

Some of our readers may know that March is Women’s History Month. In celebration of the event, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) has developed facts and statistics that provide information on the number of women employed in the industry today and the percentage of women workers in selected insurance occupations.   In addition, the I.I.I. has posted pictures and historical facts on its Women in Insurance Pinterest board.  

Today, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) vice president of communications Loretta Worters tells us more about  women’s history in  insurance:

Did you know that married women in the 1840s could not buy life insurance policies on themselves, a stumbling block to growth of the life industry?   Or that the Insurance Standard was the only insurance paper actively managed by a woman, Emily Ransom in 1897? Did you know that in 1910, out of 9,386 managers in insurance, only four were black women?

There is much we can be proud of as women in the insurance industry and what we’ve accomplished since those early days.   Today, for example, 49.4% of insurance sales agents are women, 57.4% are claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and insurance investigators and 59.3% are underwriters.   In fact, women have comprised about two-thirds of the insurance industry workforce in each year from 2002 to 2011, according to the Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES). In 2011, there were 1.5 million women employed in the insurance sector, accounting for 66.1 percent of the 2.3 million workers in the insurance industry.

There have been a lot of firsts for women in the insurance industry.   The first woman insurance commissioner in West Virginia was Virginia Mae Brown.   In May 1961 she took office, making her also the first woman insurance commissioner in the United States.   The first recorded women’s insurance industry organization was the Women Leaders Round Table founded in 1936.   Today, we have similar organizations such as the Association of Professional Insurance Women started in 1976 which provides assistance to women with career development.

While the insurance industry is “doing the right thing,† still more can be done.   In 2010, less than 25,000 women were insurance actuaries, too few to calculate a percentage. In 2010, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings was 81.2% for all insurance occupations; for insurance sales agents it was just 66.7%.

Bina West Miller, founder of one of the first organizations in the country to offer life insurance to women said something in 1892 that still applies today:   “Insurance is the coming work for intelligent, energetic women in the South, North, East and West.†

For more interesting facts in celebration of Women’s History Month, check out our tweets.

Corporate Equality Index Raises Bar for LGBT Workplace Equality

Remarkable advances have taken place on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) in the workplace since 2002, as documented in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

When the CEI was launched in 2002, only 13 businesses achieved a top score. This year, some 190 corporations, including seven  insurers, have received a 100 percent score on significantly more stringent criteria, including 10 of the top 20 Fortune-ranked companies.

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.

Three years ago, HRC began an initiative to raise the bar on its rating criteria so that a 100 percent score would reflect best practices of LGBT inclusion in the workplace.

As part of this effort, in 2012 companies are now rated on equal health coverage for transgender employees, including sexual reassignment surgery. In 2009, 85 companies offered transgender health coverage. This year, some 207 companies offered all of the benefits – a 144 percent increase.

Insurers receiving the 100 percent rating this year are: AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, Chubb Corp, ING North America, MetLife, Nationwide, Prudential Financial, and Sun Life Financial.

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

If you’re wondering why the list of insurers that scored 100 is shorter this year, the change in rating criteria clearly had an impact. It’s helpful to know that those insurers not receiving a 100 percent  rating are in good company – the number of companies 0verall  to receive a perfect rating fell by 44 percent this year.

HRC has also issued a challenge to the insurance industry to provide products that meet the needs of LGBT customers by launching an insurance equality task force comprised of top CEI company representatives, insurance experts and other key stakeholders.

In the words of HRC:

The main objective of this task force is to facilitate the development and availability of health plans and insurance products that provide coverage of medically necessary treatment for transgender individuals in accordance with accepted medical standards.†

A total of 850 businesses have been rated in the 2012 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. Some 277 Fortune 500 companies voluntarily submitted surveys, while the remaining 214 were rated based upon publicly-available data.

In addition, 65 Fortune 1000 companies, 134 law firms and 160 other companies voluntarily participated in the 2012 CEI.

Pride Round-Up 2011

June is Pride month, so here’s a round-up of some of the latest news and developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community that piqued our interest:

Tying the knot: New York could become the sixth state in the nation to allow same sex marriage, pending a State Senate vote that  reports suggest  may happen  today. The NY State Assembly already voted in favor of the bill Wednesday. Same sex marriage is currently 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. Californians are still awaiting the outcome of a federal court case that will determine the constitutional validity of Proposition 8 (a constitutional amendment passed in California in November 2008 that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples).

Census snapshots: The Williams Institute at UCLA will be releasing snapshots of the 2010 Census throughout the summer, providing demographic and geographic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children for all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. New this week: Alabama and Hawaii. The 2010 U.S. Census is the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses.

Corporate equality: Insurers are among a growing  number of Fortune 500 companies that continue to break new ground in workplace protections and benefits for LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). 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, gender transition guidelines and LGBT resource groups. As an industry, insurance scored an average 91 percent rating in the latest survey, up from 88 percent the previous year. Check out our earlier post to see which insurers received a 100 percent rating.

Social media for a good cause: Direct auto insurer Esurance recently launched a charitable giving campaign on Facebook in support of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth. For each new “Like† on its Facebook page, Esurance donated $10 to the organization, raising a total of $50,000. If you haven’t already, show your support and “Like† Esurance.

Insurers and Corporate Equality Index

Corporate America continues to break new ground in its workplace protections and benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

Insurers are among a record 844 U.S. companies and law firms that have been rated as part of this year’s survey, including for the first time the entire Fortune 500.

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, gender transition guidelines and LGBT employee resource groups.

As an industry, insurance scored an average 91 percent rating this year, up from 88 percent last year.

We tip our hat to AIG and John Hancock Financial Services for receiving the 100 percent rating for the first time.

Other insurers receiving the 100 percent rating are: AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, Allianz Life, Allstate Corp, Chubb Corp, CNA, Esurance, The Hartford, ING North America, Massachusetts Mutual Life, MetLife, Nationwide, New York Life Insurance Co, Pacific Life Insurance Co, Progressive Corp, Prudential Financial, and Sun Life Financial.

Aon, Deloitte and Marsh & McLennan were among other insurance-related businesses to earn the top rating. A special mention to Travelers Cos which improved its rating by 35 points this year.

An unprecedented 337 major U.S. businesses earned the top rating of 100 percent this year, up from 305 with top ratings last year. Collectively, these businesses employ over 8.3 million full-time workers.

When the survey was launched in 2002, only 13 companies received 100 percent.

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.