BOARD LEVEL ///// 21
“Diverse teams are
likely to be more
at reading non-verbal
cues, and more likely
to permit everyone on
the team to contribute
to the conversation.”
sponsors and role models within their companies as they climb the
corporate ladder,” says Caprio.
“In addition, it is important for women to find external mentors
and role models who are willing to assist with professional
development and leadership skills, and to provide advice, as well as
strategies for advancement.”
Communicating one’s worth and accomplishments to those who
matter is also a vital step towards career success.
For example, prior to her appointment to the MGAA board, Bell
introduced herself to each member of the board as she feared that without
a personal introduction her application may have been overlooked.
She is still the only woman on the MGAA board.
AN EQUAL FUTURE
Promoting gender parity begins from an early age.
“We need to be educating all children that there are no barriers to
what they can achieve,” Bell says.
“We also need to ensure that those recruiting our future leaders are
truly open-minded. Creating a supportive, challenging and accepting
culture will play a huge role in ensuring that more women reach
senior level positions.
“Gender and diversity awareness is the most important factor.
Everyone—regardless of their background—must be offered the same
opportunities to progress.”
Many senior women are championing equality in the workplace
across the globe.
“A variety of women’s leadership organisations, industry events
and seminars are focused upon the insurance and reinsurance
industry,” says Caprio.
“Examples are the Insurance Supper Club, the Insurance Industry
Charitable Foundation Women in Insurance Conference Series,
Business Insurance Women to Watch, and Women’s Insurance
“Inga Beale was the first female chief executive of Lloyd’s in 328
years,” Bell adds.
“This appointment had and continues to have a significant effect
on the Lloyd’s market. It has spread much further afield and spurred
other industries to consider their own situations.
“A lot of the time, I believe, discrimination is not deliberate—it’s
just not on their agenda at all.”
The Women in the Workplace study found that 95 percent of
financial services companies track gender representation across
all levels, and 71 percent measure the gender representation of
their promotion candidates. However, far fewer financial services
companies have clearly defined what they are striving towards.
“Success with gender diversity initiatives requires clear and consistent
support from the CEO and senior management,” says Caprio.
“Leaders at all levels of a company who sponsor and develop
women should be recognised and rewarded.
“Companies can actively encourage and support their own female
senior or C-suite executives to serve on other corporate boards. Board
service will enhance an executive’s skills and experience at her company,
and will expand the existing pool of board-qualified women overall.
“Companies can expand the search criteria for board members to
include female candidates who have the right experience, but who
have not yet served on a corporate board.”
Flexibility to balance work and family is hugely important. The Women
in the Workplace initiative found that as women’s responsibilities at work
increase with seniority, they largely also maintain their tasks at home.
It also found that women—especially at senior levels—fear that
partaking in flexibility programmes might hinder their advancement.
The research suggested that companies must encourage leaders of
both genders to signal their acceptance and usage of flexible working
policies in order to “de-risk” the opportunity for women.
In conclusion, the wheels are now in motion to ensure that
diversity remains at the top of companies’ agendas.
“There are many people fighting to do the same thing and together
we are a gathering storm,” says Bell. n
Elaine Caprio is president of Caprio Consulting. She can be
contacted at: email@example.com
IS LEGISLATION THE ANSWER?
In Norway, a 40 percent gender quota for public limited companies
was introduced in December 2003, with the goal achieved in 2008.
In 2010, Lord Davies of Abersoch was asked by the Conservative–
Lib Dem coalition government to review the number of women on
corporate boards in the UK. At that time, women made up 12.5
percent of corporate boards of FTSE 100 companies, up from
9.4 percent in 2004—a very slow rate of increase.
Lord Davies recommended a self-regulatory, “business-led”
approach, as opposed to legislative quotas. Ten recommendations
were made in 2011 to spur an increase in female representation.
One of these was that FTSE 100 boards should aim for a minimum
of 25 percent female representation by 2015.
The independent Hampton-Alexander Review followed in 2016
and, continuing the same “business-led” approach, revealed that
women then made up 26 percent of the members of corporate
boards of FTSE 100 companies. In 2018, the Hampton-Alexander
Review was committed to achieving the 33 percent target for women
on boards and in leadership teams of FTSE 350 companies by 2020.
Compared with countries that have adopted binding legislative
measures around the same period, namely France, Iceland,
Belgium, and Italy, however, the UK does not compare well.
www.intelligentinsurer.com Diversity and Inclusion Report 2019