02/28/2018 Women & Insurance: The Perfect Combination

Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist

Women & Insurance: The Perfect Combination

To honor Women’s History Month, we are taking a look at women and insurance. Whether they’re making healthcare decisions for the family, purchasing insurance coverage or selling policies to customers in the community, women make up a significant portion of the insurance marketplace.

Women as insurance consumers

In 2016, females made up 49.5% 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

Unlike education or nursing, for instance, the financial services and insurance industry is traditionally thought of as a “man’s business.” In fact, the image of an insurance agent is probably a middle-aged man in a suit carrying a briefcase. This is changing—and it’s changing fast. (Just take a look at our Combined Insurance team of sales agents!)

 Let’s turn to some statistics on women working in the industry:

  • In 2016, 86% of female insurance professionals say they believe that the industry is making strides toward gender diversity (compared to 72% in 2015)7 
  • In 2015, women accounted for 47% of all workers, yet there were 1.6 million women employed in the insurance sector, accounting for 59.4% of the 2.7 million workers in the insurance industry8 
  • The percentage of women varies widely by occupation8
    • 51.2% of insurance sales agents
    • 55.3% of claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators
    • 77.1% of insurance claims and policy clerks.
    • 58.6% of underwriters
    • Less than 1% of actuaries

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.

Female executive-level attendees of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s 2016 Women In Insurance Conference discussed ways the insurance industry is promoting gender equality. These include active recruitment of a gender-diverse workforce, establishment of mentorship programs for women, and the sponsorship of executive networking programs. What’s more, some 32% of respondents rank insurance as the most supportive industry in financial services when it comes to the advancement of women to senior leadership roles. 

Find out about career opportunities at Combined Insurance!

 

References
1 Population, female (% of total). (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS.
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.
3  dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fshlth5.html.
4  Prudential Financial. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from prudential.com/media/managed/wm/media/Pru_Women_Study_2014.pdf.
5  newsroom.ameriprise.com/images/20018/WomenandFinancialPower.pdf.
6 7 C. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=4516.
8 Facts Statistics: Careers and employment. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from iii.org/fact-statistic/careers-and-employment.
9 Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from nawbo.org/resources/women-business-owner-statistics.

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