I recently attended WOW, the Women of the World Festival which was founded in 2011 on the centenary of International Women’s Day. This was a great opportunity to reflect on how women are succeeding in the insurance industry and how as a relatively new recruit to the sector myself, to see what opportunities are opening up for younger women in insurance.
First I’m happy to report that I work for a company committed to delivering the best opportunities for all of its staff regardless of gender. 40% of Asta’s Executive team are women, which compares very favourably to the FTSE 100, where latest figures show women make up just 8.9% of Executive Directors.
Our business like any other is interested in financial success and profits, we do not invest in diversity just for diversity’s sake; rather we seek to attract the best talent from across all groups in society because it makes sound business sense.
The market for our products is changing and growing rapidly, extending into regions and demographics new to insurance. This requires a workforce that looks and feels like the market place it operates in.
The London Market Group has identified finding talent to respond to this change as a key risk to the insurance industry. This risk extends beyond just maintaining an equal gender balance in the insurance workforce as it develops in experience and seniority, but in continuing to attract new talent into it. As a 2015 study by The Hartford concluded, only 4% of millennials (the generation born between 1982 and 2000) see insurance as an appealing industry to work in.
A new initiative announced at WOW – Insuring Women’s Futures – seeks to tackle this head on. Sponsored by AIG and the CII and supported by the Managing General Agents Association (MGAA), the programme has three strands which aim to better understand the risks women face, the insurance products they need and increasing their role in the industry itself. The programme is chaired by CII CEO and Asta NED Sian Fisher. This development follows the establishment of Inclusion@Lloyd’s by the Corporation and the LMA. Both initiatives demonstrate that diversity and inclusion are increasingly at the forefront of senior insurance leaders minds as they seek to ensure a profitable future for our industry.
There can be little doubt that as the market evolves so must the people that not only work in it, but lead it. I’m still in the early stages of my insurance career at Asta, but I feel confident that the right steps are being taken now to ensure that opportunities will be there for me and my peer group as we progress in the industry, making it fit for the challenges that the future will undoubtedly create.
Rachel Flynn attended Kent University and graduated in 2011 with a First class BA (Hons) in History. She started her career at Lloyd’s working on the Solvency II project and later worked within the Operational Risk Management team.
She joined Asta’s Risk team as an Analyst in mid 2014 and was promoted to Senior Risk Analyst at the start of 2016. Rachel is currently Dip CII qualified and is working towards completing her ACII in 2016.