Lisa Unwin explains a new programme aimed at encouraging female talent back to the insurance profession
The insurance profession is one of the most important and influential parts of the economy, employing thousands of people across the UK. However, it is widely acknowledged that there is a lack of diversity at senior levels.
According to recent data from the Association of British Insurers, although 55% of people entering the profession are female, that proportion drops to 29% at board level and 24% at executive level, with a steady decline from manager upwards.
“This is not unique to the insurance sector,” explains Stephanie Dillon, founder of Inclusivity Partners, an organisation that recently launched the Insurance Returners programme.
“Across the profession we see women dropping out, often due to caring responsibilities, only to find that when they are ready to return, their way back is blocked. Men do take career breaks too but we know that these issues disproportionately impact women.”
She goes on to explain the need for programmes that will enable firms to tap into the “forgotten army” of experienced women who are ready to return to work after a career break.
She says there is a need for programmes where talented people who are ready to return will be given the tools and confidence they need to step back into their careers and connect with organisations that recognise their value.
Back to the future
Lucy FitzGerald is a perfect example. Back in 2012, 14 years into a successful career as an underwriter, she decided to leave the profession following the birth of her second child. The main reason at the time was a lack of flexibility in the workplace.
Seven years later, Ms FitzGerald decided it was the right time to return to a career she had worked so hard to build. Through her contacts and the strong reputation created during her time in the profession, she was able to secure not just one but two offers from leading firms.
Ms FitzGerald joined Chubb as a senior real estate underwriter in the autumn of 2019.
Sian Fisher, CEO of the CII, says: “Finding women who trained and worked in insurance, left but are
now ready to return, is a huge untapped opportunity.”
Ms Fisher supports initiatives that take a practical and thoughtful approach to giving women the full support they need to return to work successfully, and giving insurers a path to recruit from and integrate this incredible senior talent pool.
“Programmes like this are vital for people who want to return after any sort of career break,” explains Ms Dillon. “They help rebuild the returner’s confidence, open doors and provide supported pathways back to work.”
The benefits for the insurance sector are also clear. What better way to address a lack of diversity at senior levels than by attracting back women they recruited, trained and lost along the way, knowing they have the experience and ambition to reignite their careers?
Applications are open until 5th May 2021. Apply Here
Lisa Unwin is communications manager of Inclusivity Partners
Image credit | Mark Airs Ikon