Diversity in Insurance: There are far too few women in senior positions within InsurTechs

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There has been a lack of diversity amongst co-founders and CEOs of InsurTech start-ups, and even more so in the insurance industry as a whole. With the right encouragement, InsurTechs can be at the vanguard of attracting and retaining diversity in talent as they start new businesses.

Analysis of Startupbootcamp’s application data has shown that 16% of those that applied had a female CEO, founder or co-founder. 

This gender imbalance is, perhaps, not surprising when we look at the bigger picture. PwC research ‘Mending the Gender Gap’, indicates that women only held 19% of senior level positions, 14% of board seats and 2% of CEO roles in financial services firms. The recently published London Matters 2017 report by the London Market Group, cites the proportion of female executive directors at just 5%. The picture is equally concerning in the FinTech arena - research by Inno Tribe indicates that female executives at the top 50 FinTechs make up just 5% of all executives.

This pattern of declining gender balance towards senior levels within insurance businesses is consistent with data from the Chartered Insurance Institute, which indicates that of those members holding Associateship or Fellowship status, only 26% and 13% respectively are women, whereas among those holding Certificate status, the balance is far more even at 46%.  However, this imbalance also reflects the date at which the qualification was obtained.  Considering only those who obtained the qualification within the last 10 years, women constitute 38% and 29% of those holding Associate and Fellow titles.  This increase in younger women achieving qualifications is encouraging. It will be important however for the profession to ensure that talent practices recognise this capability - through promotion and retention policies - with a view to improving gender balance in senior positions.

TheCityUK report into the Future of Financial and Professional Services, produced in conjunction with PwC highlights the important role of insurance in society and goes on to identify talent diversity and technology as two key areas critical to the future success of the UK insurance sector. The move to more technology based distribution channels as a means of improving customer engagement is considered by many insurance businesses to be the key to future success.  The low levels of female representation in the boardroom at InsurTech start-ups, in keeping with the current trend in the more traditional parts of the sector, is concerning.

 

These findings clearly indicate that considerably more needs to be done to attract female talent to the insurance sector, and to improve gender balance through retention and promotion strategies. A profession that is not representative of society will be less equipped to relate to its customers and their needs, to innovate relevant solutions, and attract diverse talent. Creating a more diverse and inclusive profession is a business imperative, it's simply no longer an option.

Jane Portas, Partner at PwC

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Jonathan Howe
Global InsurTech Leader
Tel: +44 (0)20 7212 5507
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Sabine VanderLinden
Managing Director, Startupbootcamp InsurTech
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