Marketing Week Awards in focus: Lloyd’s of London is levelling the playing field for women in insurance

Insurance business Lloyd’s of London has made significant strides to address the gender divide for women working in what is traditionally viewed as a male-dominated sector.

Businesswoman Karren Brady, who spoke at Dive In last year, was awarded a CBE for services to women in business and entrepreneurship in 2013.
Businesswoman Karren Brady, who spoke at Dive In last year, was awarded a CBE for services to women in business and entrepreneurship in 2013.

The Corporation of Lloyd’s, which oversees and supports the Lloyd’s market, launched the Dive In festival of diversity and inclusion last year, for which it won the Diversity Champion prize at the Marketing Week Awards last month.

‘Women in insurance’ was a big focus at the event given the industry ranks 17th out of 25 in terms of female representation at the top, according to the ‘Credit Suisse Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management’ report. The study reveals that just 12% of women are in top management positions and only 1% of insurance businesses have a female CEO.

Tashi Lassalle, head of marketing and communications at Lloyd’s of London, says: “Initiatives like Dive In send a message to people working in the market already that insurance is an industry where women are valued, supported and encouraged to develop their careers.

“It also helps to convince people who might be considering insurance as a career choice that it absolutely is a sector that is committed to diversity in all forms, not just gender.”

Taking a long-term view

Lassalle appreciates that perceptions will not change overnight, however.

“It will take time for insurance to be viewed as a level playing field for talent in the way that asset management has built its reputation,” she adds.

“As an industry, we just have to keep walking the talk and doing things differently as well as holding up examples of real people as role models. If they can be ambassadors for women because they have had positive support and mentoring experiences they can talk about that’s very powerful, especially for younger women who are choosing careers.”

Strong financial sense

Aside from enabling marketing teams to better understand their customer and sparking the debate needed for genuine innovation, gender diversity makes strong financial sense. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that paying women the same as men would add $28tr (£19.4tr) to the global economy by 2025 through increased female spending power.

Progress is being made according to Lord Davis’ report into gender diversity, which last October announced that the percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards rose from 12.5% in 2011 to 26.1% in 2015 – the equivalent of 550 new appointments. By 2020, the aim is to grow this figure to 33%.

In April, however, the Equality and Human Rights Commission countered these findings, arguing that 31% of companies which increased the proportion of women on their boards did so by reducing board size and not by appointing more women. Furthermore, 60% of companies missed the target completely.

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