03/08/2019 A Look at Women in Insurance to Honor Women’s History Month
Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist
A Look at Women in Insurance to Honor Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month celebrates the achievements of women throughout U.S. History, and presents a great opportunity to celebrate the contributions from women at Combined Insurance, and to take a look at women in the industry as a whole. Women are making healthcare decisions for the family, purchasing insurance coverage, working in the corporate offices and selling policies to customers in the community.
Women as insurance consumers
In 2017, females made up 50% of the US population1. That’s hardly a “niche” market!
While each person is an individual with different needs and habits, it can be helpful to look at statistics that both challenge assumptions and help put gender differences into context:
- Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing2
- Women utilize more health care than men and make approximately 80% of health care decisions for their families3
- 80% of women understand health insurance somewhat or very well, yet are less confident today than they were 10 years ago (27% vs. 19%) that they will be able to secure long-term health or nursing home care for retirement4
An Ameriprise Financial study found that when it comes to solving financial challenges, 64% of Boomer women, 51% of Gen X women, and 60% of Millennial women seek financial advice5. This suggests that life stage and age make a difference in the likelihood that a woman will actively consult with an insurance advisor while making coverage decisions that can impact financial wellness. It might also signal a terrific opportunity for a sales agent to ask female clients if they could benefit from their services; statistically speaking, about half of them will welcome the assistance.
On the whole, women, like their male counterparts, have a varying degree of “room” in their budgets to afford coverage and have unique outlooks on their financial prospects. While assessing her family’s or her own personal supplemental insurance coverage needs, a woman may need more or less education on what types of plans are available or more or less personal support while making decisions.
Again, consider the individuality of each consumer, but keep in mind her life stage to get a feel for her priorities: whether or not she’s focused on building a career, supporting a family (growing kids and/or aging parents), planning for retirement, or just getting started in the workforce. It all makes a difference to how and why she buys insurance.
Women as insurance professionals
Women make up 61% of the insurance workforce as sales agents, claims professionals, underwriters and in actuary, but only occupy 14% of leadership roles in the industry.6 According to a study by The Academy of Risk Management & Insurance at St. Joseph University, the reason may lie in the fact that in the insurance industry, more women are in functional roles versus business roles, and top leadership is typically chosen from business roles, and not from functional roles. 7
The good news, though, is that in 2016, 86% of female insurance professionals say they believe that the industry is making strides toward gender diversity (compared to 72% in 2015)8
Across almost all industries in the US, there’s rising interest in the number of women in business ownership and executive-level positions. According to the Ameriprise research, the number of women-owned businesses rose 44% between 1997 and 2007. In 2015, more than 9.4 million firms are owned by women9. Self-employed insurance sales agents and insurance agency or brokerage owners most certainly fall within this category.
- Discover Finding Your Fit: An Overview of Health Insurance Careers
Female executive-level attendees of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s 2018 Women In Insurance Conference discussed ways the insurance industry is promoting gender equality. 58% of attendees surveyed indicated their workplace had formal plans in place to promote inclusivity and diversity.
Find out about career opportunities at Combined Insurance!
1 Population, female (% of total). (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from data.worldbank.org/
2 Brennan, B. (2015, January 21). Top 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Women Consumers. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from forbes.com/sites/bridgetbrennan/2015/01/21/top-10-things-everyone-should-know-about-women-consumers/#565f85776a8b
4 Prudential Financial. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from prudential.com/media/managed/wm/media/Pru_Women_Study_2014.pdf
6 Jacob, D. (2018, August 16). Women dominate insurance, but inequality is rampant at leadership levels. Retrieved from propertycasualty360.com/2018/08/16/women-dominate-insurance-but-inequality-is-rampant/
8 Facts Statistics: Careers and employment. (n.d.). Retrieved from iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-careers-and-employment
9 Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from nawbo.org/resources/women-business-owner-statistics
10 Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation. (2018, July 9). IICF Women’s Leadership Forums across the Country Showcase Growing Movement toward Diversity, Inclusion and Innovation in the Workplace[Press release]. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from womensconference.iicf.org/news-media/press-releases.html
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