Washington, D.C. – Citing both continued issues of inequality in the insurance industry and the potential to create unprecedented opportunities for women, the Million Women Mentors (MWM) Women in Insurance Initiative (WII) calls on the insurance industry to join the WII Consortium. WII and its members are committed to taking substantive and measurable action by recruiting, mentoring and sponsoring women to drive equality in career advancement and leadership throughout the talent pipeline.
WII met in late June at the offices of Indeed in New York City to discuss the current state of women in insurance – as explored in its new whitepaper, Women in Insurance: Leading to Action – and how the group will work together to propel women into executive roles and achieve gender parity. Formed in 2017, members of WII include Accenture, ACORD, Aetna, Erie Insurance, The MEMIC Group, Prudential, QBE, State Farm, and Tata Consultancy Services, with new participants joining regularly.
“Women are critical to the growth and survival of the insurance industry and we must do more to move the needle at all levels, advancing women and especially women of color, where the pay disparity is most severe,” said Edie Fraser, Chairman & Founder of STEMconnector and Million Women Mentors. “We are calling for transformational leaders to share their successes, recognize opportunities, and secure incoming talent by making insurance jobs exciting and engaging.”
WII is looking to tackle three key issues in the insurance industry as outlined in its 2018 Women in Insurance: Leading to Action report:
1. Women in leadership: Women comprise more than 60 percent of the insurance industry workforce, but occupy only 19 percent of board seats, 11 percent named insider officer positions, and 12 percent top officer positions such as CEO, COO and CFO. (Source: Saint Joseph’s University Study on Insurance Industry Demographics, 2017)
2. Pay gap: In 2016, women in insurance earned 62 cents for every dollar earned by men. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
3. Career development inequality: Only 8 percent of insurance companies have formal programs to develop strong careers for women. (Source: EY, Women in Industry, 2016)
The WII Consortium has issued a “Call to Action” focused on six key points to address these challenges:
1. Advancing women in leadership and throughout the industry, recognizing the importance to insurance of attracting and retaining talent
2. Moving the needle to address diversity of all types, and integrating it into organizational culture
3. Using the accomplishments of innovative leaders, including those in the FinTech and InsurTech fields, to drive excitement around industry transformation
4. Collecting and publicizing data to showcase results and build upon existing research
5. Raising awareness and visibility of the WII Consortium, its membership, and its plan of action
6. Building partnerships with like-minded organizations such as the Women’s Insurance Networking Group (WING), Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), and Dive In: The Festival for Diversity & Inclusion in Insurance
The WII Leadership Group is proud to announce as its Chair Margaret Resce Milkint, Managing Partner of The Jacobson Group, co-founder of WING, U.S. Chair of The Insurance Supper Club, and North American Champion of Dive In 2018. “It is an honor to chair the MWM Women in Insurance Initiative,” Milkint said. “The spotlight on women’s leadership in insurance has never been brighter. Enlightened men and women have joined together to move talk to action.”
“We need a co-ed call to action,” added WII Advisory Council co-chair Carol Zacharias, SVP & Underwriting Counsel of QBE North America. “Insurance executives – women and men alike – need to step up and work together to advance women by serving as mentors, sponsors, and role models. I hope to see representatives from every major carrier, broker, and consulting firm at this table next year.”
Among the key partners in the Initiative is ACORD, the global standards-setting body for the insurance industry. In the meeting’s welcome address, ACORD President & CEO Bill Pieroni said, “The insurance industry, even more than most sectors, is facing an incoming talent shortage. Studies show that millennials, especially young women, do not find insurance an attractive career option. By 2025, more than 60 percent of all college graduates will be women. It is imperative that we focus, as an industry, on increasing our collective ability to attract, develop, and retain young talent.” Pieroni also announced the launch of ACORD’s “Millennial Women’s Choice Award,” which will be presented at the 2018 ACORD Connect conference to acknowledge the organizations which have made impressive strides this year in attracting and retaining millennials in insurance.