If you've been on LinkedIn in the last day or two, you may have noticed that the inaugural Women in Insurance Awards took place earlier this week. And judging by the number of posts about it and the universal positivity of them, it has gone down rather well.
The day has finally arrived! The judges have done their thing and we can finally announce the shortlist for the 2019 Women in Insurance Awards.
A key aspect of the Women in Insurance Awards entry process is that we ask nominees to complete a short questionnaire about themselves asking them to explain why they think they deserve to win.
The Women in Insurance Awards are all about helping to bring greater diversity to this industry so it is fitting that the last judge to share her views with us is one of the most high profile proponents of greater diversity in insurance, Kalpana Shah.
It wasn’t until 1920 that the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) started to admit female members, a full eight years after gaining its Royal Charter.
Even though the institute moved relatively quickly to address that discrimination in much the same way the wider world and other professions did, it took nearly 100 years for the CII to appoint its first female CEO.
I’ve got a kinda complicated relationship with insurance. I love working in the industry and I remain as surprised about that as when I started out at Insurance Age in 2006.
Amanda Blanc, CEO of EMEA and Global Banking at Zurich, is one of the most recognisable leaders in the industry and has been for some time now. The fact that a working class woman can get to the very top rungs of the insurance ladder shows that it is, of course, possible for women to succeed at the highest levels in insurance.
Diversity in the workplace is good for business - that fact is well established by various pieces of research, not least the 2015 McKinsey study which found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform competitors by 15% and those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform competitors by 35%.
There is a wide range of opinion about how best to tackle the lack of gender diversity in the workplace. For some the stick is required to make companies act and for others it is about waiting for generational and social changes to take place.
Lloyd's has, by anyone's estimation, had a tough couple of months. A slew of sexual harassment claims have shone a harsh spotlight on the world's oldest and largest insurance market.
Although we should celebrate the progress made in creating greater gender diversity in insurance, the fact is, we still haven't cracked the problem.
So we have come to the end of the first week of our Women in Insurance Awards campaign. The engagement so far has been fantastic (thanks everyone!) and the judges already have over 200 entries to consider but there are still two weeks to nominate someone or enter the awards yourself.
Earlier this week, I asked why the industry needs an awards ceremony dedicated to women. Hopefully, that question was answered by Simone Broadhurst and David Worsfold. But if there was any lingering doubt, the steady stream of tales of sexual harassment coming out of the London Market should dispel it.
It's an interesting question and one which the research (see below) appears to answer. If that research is to be believed, then surely Risk Professional of the Year at the Women in Insurance Awards should be a flagship category.
On the back of David Worsfold’s open letter to the industry about the Women in Insurance Awards, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a chat with the woman responsible for making these awards a reality.
Although there are several high-profile individuals such as Amanda Blanc, Inga Beale and Sian Fisher flying the flag for women in insurance, the real story of women in this industry is more than a few figureheads. However, that story and the women who write it need greater visibility to inspire others and acknowledge the significant contributions women continue to make.