Over the last few decades, women have made significant strides in the professional realm and across many industries. As they continue to push for equality in pay and opportunity, it is important to explore the historical, present and future statuses of professional women, especially in fields largely viewed as male dominated. The insurance industry has been one of these fields for a long time, but this seems to be changing in a few positive ways. Below are some of the recent gender trends within insurance and what the future might hold for women in the industry.
Gender Shifts in the Insurance Business
Women who have worked in insurance for a while have admitted things have changed significantly over the years, from a business largely “pale and male” to one with many diverse, successful female leaders. Nearly 4 out of 5 insurance claims and policy processing clerks are women. Some female insurance leaders suggest that part of this change has come from the fact that more women now receive bachelor’s degrees than men and the industry is beginning to embrace this when considering applicants. Overall, the industry now has more women than men, but there are still difficulties faced when trying to climb the corporate ladder.
Challenges for Women in the Industry
Although there are more women working in insurance than men, men still hold the vast majority of boards and executive positions. And while the national average states that women earn 77 cents on every dollar earned by their male counterparts, this number drops to about 62 cents within the insurance industry.
Some of this stems from women being less likely than men to negotiate their starting pay, but other studies show interesting data as well that could be affecting these numbers. Catalyst research suggests that male-dominated management groups often determine which of their employees get promotions and pay raises, and tend to choose younger versions of themselves, albeit unconsciously.
Several women also argue that although there are challenges out of their control, such as being labeled in a negative light, many of the trials they face are hurdles they create for themselves. Some of these include believing in oneself and limiting self-doubt, stressing about work-family balance and taking the time to network or reach out to other female leaders in the business.
Changing the Game: Benefits and Opportunities for Women in Insurance
According to Insurance Journal, networking is the best step women can take to begin working on gaining promotions and climbing corporate ladders within the insurance industry. Like many fields, relationships with clients aren’t the only important connections to have — contacting and building connections with people in the insurance business has a huge impact on opportunities for partnerships, promotions or other opportunities in an insurance career. Many companies are also taking strides in helping women grow within the industry by providing mentorship and sponsorship programs where women can have leaders to learn from, ask for advice and who can help bring other women up to their level.
For women looking to gain networking experience and build connections in the insurance industry, the IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference is a wonderful opportunity. With four regional forums to attend in June, the conference is a chance for women in insurance to join the national conversation and learn to help shape the future of the industry.
Learn More About ASI
ASI is one of the largest homeowners insurance carriers in the United States. Through a network of independent agents, the company offers home, condo, renters, dwelling, fire and flood insurance in over half the country, with plans to cover the rest by 2017. Find out more at americanstrategic.com.