I appreciate that the quote is from Ghandi (who as far as I am aware wasn't an insurance executive), but a conversation with a technology startup CEO earlier today reinforced one of the major challenges we are facing in the insurance sector. I was asked why, out of the seven applicants they had received for a specific role, only one was female - '...is it the wording of the role profile, should I move away from words like ninja and rock star?'
There are some fantastic advocates for, and initiatives promoting, greater diversity in the insurance sector (e.g. Dive In Festival, Women in Insurance). However, one of the major issues is that these are quite internal solutions, and rarely does that enthusiasm get out in to wider society. Insurance continues to be perceived as a male, pale, stale, sector. Add the equally gender biased tech sector in to the mix and what hope do #InsurTech firms have of attracting the kind of varied perspectives they want and need?
I quoted an interview with Natalie Gray, as she is a great example of someone who just went out and did what she wanted regardless of any perceived gender bias. She is also one of the founders of a new tech based startup in the US, Cover.
In a very interesting debate on twitter with some fantastic friends and colleagues, as a group we got a little bit philosophical about why gender imbalance exists in so many professions, and my conclusion was that we pass our own bias on to our children, and (perhaps unintentionally - at least we can hope) perpetuate narrow-mindedness. If prejudices exist in society as a whole, how do we overcome the 'Insurance Salesman' perspective and get a diverse blend in to our workforces?
I have my own opinions on this - but I'd welcome one and all to join the debate and share their thoughts.
“It was very different for me to be exposed to that kind of work, where if you want to make something happen you just go out and do it,” Gray says. “It was very interesting to me, this mentality that if you don't find the job you want, you go make it. That was very formative for me early on.” That hustle is a powerful philosophy, she says. “I've been basically able to create a career path for myself, which has been very exciting,” she says. “It's very different when you're internally motivated to have to do these things. I made my own game plan of how I was going to go from fine art, into eventually doing mobile design, which are completely different animals.”