Insurance needs women in leadership roles because the tide of disruption demands a more empathetic mindset, said Sam Maule, head of digital and fintech at NTT Data Consulting.
The shift towards customer experience and behaviour analysis, Maule maintained, was an indicator women’s strengths are highly valuable to financial services sectors like insurance, as well as the tech world.
A 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that though women made up 65% of American insurance carriers’ total staff, they only made up 31% of executive or senior level officials at those carriers.
“There’s a wealth of talent to be tapped into,” Maule said about women.
But how do insurance companies attract female leaders?
“Acknowledging it’s an issue as an organization, setting up mentorship programs, have your leadership team involved,” Maule advised.
“Get actively involved with universities and schools in their programs to introduce the company and the concept of insurance and how much it’s changing.”
Though he didn’t berate those working in insurance for a lack of diverse hiring practices, Maule directed his energy to highlighting why women were so important.
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“Women tend to have a more empathetic approach than men do - I know I’m generalizing but I also know I’m right,” Maule said.
“Technology by itself is not a solution without empathy - when you’re talking about insurance that has to go hand in hand because you’re talking about consumers’ behaviour.”
Understanding people’s behaviour and the way they work is the future of insurance, Maule argues.
“The types of jobs you’re going to see in the future (in insurance) are behaviour scientists, user experience and experience design roles, it’s about how do you engage? How do you do real time data analysis?” Maule said.
“If I said that 10 years ago talking about the insurance space, you probably would have laughed at me.”
Tech and big data’s morphing of insurance into a new entity, Maule said, was its biggest recruitment tool.
“It’s not as if the money hasn’t been spent and there isn’t interest to do that, it’s just that it’s not a one-size-fits all and there’s not a simple solution for this,” Maule said.
“It’s a tough issue to address. It takes leadership within an organization to do this, it takes an organization’s culture.”