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.

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