Major insurance players join forces to encourage more women to return to senior roles

15 March 2021

In a ground-breaking move, nine major players have created a cross-sector returners programme to encourage more “career break” women to return to the insurance industry

Monday 15th March 2021, London:  Nine leading firms - brokers, insurers and long term savings and retirement businesses -  today announced the creation of a programme which will enable “career break” professionals to return to the insurance industry.  Opportunities are open across all disciplines, including underwriting, broking, claims, actuarial, exposure management, risk and some corporate functions. 

According to the most recent data* from the Association of British Insurers, although 55% of people entering the industry are female, that proportion drops to  29% at board level and 24% at executive level, with a steady decline from manager upwards. 

“This is not unique to the insurance sector,” explains Stephanie Dillon, founder of Inclusivity Partners, the organisation delivering this programme.  “Across the professions we see women dropping out, often due to caring responsibilities, only to find that when they are ready to return, their way back is blocked.  Men do take career breaks too, but we know that these issues disproportionately impact women.”

She goes on to explain that the programme will enable participating firms to tap into the “forgotten army” of experienced women who are ready to return to work after a career break.  Talented people who are ready to return will be given the tools and confidence they need to step back into their careers and connect with organisations which recognise their value.

Lucy FitzGerald is a perfect example.  Back in 2012, 14 years into a successful career as an underwriter, she decided to leave the industry following the birth of her second child.  The main reason at the time was a lack of flexibility in the workplace. 

Seven years later, Lucy decided it was the right time to return to a career she had invested so much to build. Through her contacts, and the strong reputation created during her time in the industry, she was able to secure not just one but two offers from leading firms.  Lucy joined Chubb as Senior Real Estate Underwriter in the autumn of 2019.

Sian Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Insurance Institute says her organisation sees this as a practical solution to a real and pressing problem. 

“Finding women who trained and worked in insurance, left but are now ready to return, is a huge untapped opportunity. This initiative takes a practical and incredibly thoughtful approach to address this problem directly – by giving women the full support they need to return to work successfully and giving insurers a path to recruit from and integrate this incredible senior talent pool.”

Lloyd’s of London is committed to creating an inclusive market for talent and has also lent its support. John Neal commented:

“Lloyd’s is determined to sponsor gender balance across our market, and within the Corporation we are proud to have achieved gender parity at the leadership level. Having seen at first hand the benefits that gender balance brings, I am delighted to support this initiative”. 

The programme is open to women and men returning from a career break.  The organisers use a tailored assessment process which looks for potential, acknowledges the full breadth of a candidate’s experience and understands that breaks should not be career limiting.  Successful candidates will be offered:

  • A six month paid placement in one of the participating organisations
  • A thorough training, onboarding and induction process
  • One-to-one specialist coaching

The programme is open for applicants now.  Successful candidates will start work in September 2021 on six-month contracts, with the aim being to transition to a permanent role at the end of that period. 

Interested applicants can click here to apply. 


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