“Men and women can’t work effectively together in insurance,” I was recently told. Eh what?
Let me give you context to the above. Very recently, I spoke to one industry executive who said that he did not think that men and women could ever work effectively together in the insurance industry – although plenty of women work in his global insurance business. To say I was not surprised is an understatement.
That said, in the same week, I met another CEO who is striving to have a 50/50 split of men and women in his business to avoid the testosterone-charged decisions being made. He says he is still a long way off, but he has a goal in mind.
More women at a senior level = more success
At a recent Swiss Re/Aon talk held in New York, the Women in Leadership Forum had Katherine Giscombe of Catalyst, a leading research firm, as a keynote speaker. Her statistics revealed that companies with more women in the C-suite and on boards of directors are more financially successful, as measured by ROE (return on equity) and total return to shareholders.
In fact, in an interview with the Financial Times Weekend Magazine a couple of weeks ago with Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said (about the financial crisis of 2008): “We don’t know if 2008 would have been different with more women in finance, but my intuition tells me it might have been.”
Where can we get more women from?
Lloyd’s Director of Market Development Sue Langley has written an interesting article on women taking the lead in encouraging diversity in the London Market, which you can find here… And a short extract, which shows the article is worth reading:
“I’m always told there are not enough senior women out there and that they drop out due to the ‘work life balance’. Well we all, men and women, want one of those. Personally, I think we are not creative enough about where we look for talent. Yes, of course more women than men drop out from the workplace, but we’re not yet looking for a 50:50 balance on Boards, just achieving 25 percent of women would be good!”
Meet the 100 women in reinsurance
Well, just before Christmas myself and a friend set up a new group on LinkedIn – 100 Women in Reinsurance – and contains some of the highest ranking women in reinsurance.
The highest percentage comes from the US – 33 percent, and are mainly New York, but a few from Princeton, where Munich Re has its American offices. The second is from Bermuda, 25 percent, with women from all ranks and ranges. Then London takes up 21 percent of the women, and Zurich and Ireland are on equal footing at 9 percent. The remainder are spread equally between Cayman and South Africa.
The question is: what to do with the group? There are relatively few women in reinsurance, particularly at executive level, but we are gathering them together using LinkedIn.
Please let me know what you think about this post – and if you know any women who should be part of 100 Women in Reinsurance!
Finally, apologies to readers of @reinsurancegirl’s blog for the delay since the last post – time has gotten away with us, as it can do at this time of year.