TAMPA, FL. - Did you know that 50.2% of the Insurance sales agents in the U.S. are female? While this may be true, “they only hold 11% of named executive officer positions and 19% of board seats at insurance companies” (ThinkAdvisor, “Closing the Gender Gap in Insurance”). Women do outnumber men in the entry-level insurance workforce, but are still being vastly underrepresented for leadership and responsibility roles.
Unfortunately, traditional stereotypes of women are that they’re not typically classified as leaders like men. There’s basically a bunch of stereotypes that employers are unable to even notice that they’re implementing into their hiring or promoting process. Statistics show that women in entry-level insurance positions are 24% less likely to even be promoted before their male coworkers. And because of the divide of influential females in the industry, it’s much more difficult for women to be influenced by her superior or have a role model to look up to.
While these statistics are proven to be true, there are still companies that strive to foster equality in the workplace and give women the opportunity to excel and stand out in their field. McKinsey & Company has given us the three main building blocks as to why women are successful in the financial industry: 1) They’re able to build strong networks and relationships, 2) they’re able to take risks in any circumstance, and 3) they’re able to communicate their value.
Women in the insurance field are now also trying to recruit other women and building them up to be more influential. Barbara Bufkin, a leading P&C growth and innovation business development executive for Assurant and board member of many prominent financial boards across the country, has devoted her career to paving the way for female success in the insurance industry.
“We need to make sure that women’s voices are being heard when they are not in the room,” says Bufkin. “We need to prepare women for executive roles. Giving women strong coaching to be more conscious of their own capabilities and confidence, to overcome ‘imposter syndrome’ and consider themselves for a position when they may not have felt ready for it.” (carrier management). In an article by Carrier Management, “Women’s History Month: Honoring Women in the Insurance Industry”, Barbara also explains how the statistics of women’s leadership roles in the financial field are creating awareness for not only gender roles, but pay equality as well. “There’s an intentional and committed focus around this.”
The Women in Insurance Initiative (WII) was created as a result of women’s roles and success being ignored. It is “a consortium of organizations throughout the insurance industry to take substantive and measurable action by recruiting, mentoring, and sponsoring women to drive equality in career advancement and leadership throughout the insurance industry." Their steps to success are listed below:
1. Advancing women in leadership and throughout the industry, recognizing the importance of attracting and retaining talent, and sharing success measurements.
2. Moving the needle to address diversity and inclusion, and integrating both into organizational cultures.
3. Promoting transformational and innovative leadership throughout the insurance, FinTech, and InsurTech industries.
4. Collecting and publicizing data to showcase results and build upon existing research.
5. Raising awareness and visibility of WII, its membership, and its plan of action.
6. Building partnerships with like-minded organizations.
In the past few years, women have shown their dedication to excelling in the insurance and financial industries. There has been a 48% increase just in representation and a 98% increase in top executive roles held by women. Our nation was built on the ideals of man, and catering every aspect of an American life to benefit man indefinitely. But times are changing. The year 2020 is coming to close, and with that brings more opportunities for women to bridge the gender discrimination gap and gain equality in all aspects of life.
At Clifton and Lewis Insurance, we’re very inclusive. Our team of agents, besides the owner, are all female. This wasn’t by choice, but because each employee showed great promise and perseverance. We’re proud of our team and we look forward to future endeavors!