Women in insurance: a discussion on diversity
By Kyrsten McCartney, Product Design and Research Manager, Cytora
International Women’s Day fell at an interesting time this year, with women’s health and safety a focus of many conversations in the weeks prior to and following the occasion.
As always, diversity was high on the agenda too. And as a woman in insurance, that discussion is something I’m always keen to be a part of – not just on one day in March.
As part of IWD 2021, I spoke to Insurance Times about diversity and inclusion in insurance and insurtech. You can read the feature in full here. Other expert women in insurance from organisations including Aviva, Zego and Direct Line Group, provided insightful commentary on their own experiences, unpicking the value of having a diverse workforce.
Limited idea generation from a one-dimensional workforce
I told Insurance Times that in insurance today, everyone wants to be ‘innovative’. But what does that really mean? When a similar group of people sit together to plan what the next great thing should be, it’s not going to push boundaries. Their combined background and experience is often so similar that the idea generation will be limited.
When people come together with different experiences and backgrounds their ideas are going to be more varied; and as a collective, more powerful.
The bottom line is that diversity is good for business. Financially, this is indisputable. The more diverse your team, the more relevant your output will be.
Prioritising culture and recruitment
The ‘why’ of a diverse workforce is clear, but the ‘how’ is a bit more complicated.
I would say there are two pillars on how we get there in insurance. Firstly, it’s about getting the company culture right. And secondly, reviewing how jobs are advertised and your recruitment process.
To attract diverse candidates and create effective teams, you need to get the company culture right. To create a great culture, you need to define clear company values which encourage and nurture the desired behaviour. Give people a safe space to fail, listen to one another and set time aside to up-skill.
Then we need to actively support everyone from every background as part of the recruitment process, understanding their individual motivations and goals. Not everyone is the same, yet we try to put everyone in the same box.
Once we can get past this and treat people on their individual merit, we will see positive results across the industry – and an impact on the bottom line for insurers and insurtechs alike.