Motivated by a desire to change the insurance industry for the better, U.K.-based Sam White has become known for her promotion of women and diversity in the financial services sector.
As the founder and CEO of insurance services provider, Action 365, insurance provider, Pukka Insure and the newly launched brokerage, Freedom Brokers, White employs over 240 people in the U.K, Gibraltar and Australia. She feels strongly about hiring people with the right talent and skills for the role, so consequently 67% of her directors are female.
A true entrepreneur, White set up her first business from her sister’s conservatory in Cheshire at the age of 24, persuading personal lines brokers to let her manage their customer claims experience. From there, Action 365 was born and has been growing ever since, now offering motor claims accident management services for insurers, brokers and hire companies.
London-based Pukka Insure was launched in 2016 to provide competitive vehicle insurance to customers across the U.K.
White has faced many challenges throughout her career journey. Despite the fact that her businesses were profitable, she often struggled to get investment funding; a fact that she attributes to her gender.
“I’ve had a great deal of support from certain businesses in the industry but I do think, by nature, people tend to be unconsciously biased because the majority of the decision-makers in the financial services sector are male,” she said. White believes that the industry as a whole is failing to attract a diverse talent-pool.
“It’s not that people are willfully pushing back against progress but I think the problem is that the environment doesn’t lend itself to diversity,” she said. “The industry is suffering from corporate constipation that is causing barriers to the attraction of different types of talent.
“People sit in meetings saying what they think they’re supposed to be saying when they actually feel very differently about tackling a problem. What we want is to make the industry attractive to all types of people,” she added.
White feels strongly about promoting a culture of open communication so that employees are comfortable asking for flexible hours in order to balance personal responsibilities.
“One of the hardest things to overcome is getting people to feel comfortable enough to tell you where you’re going wrong and where the structures we have in the business are counter-productive,” she said.
“The industry is crying out for new talent so if you’re new to the industry, the ball is in your court. Make sure you get a manager who understands you and works to help you achieve your goals,” she advised.
Among her accolades, White won the Northern Power House Outstanding Entrepreneur award in 2018.