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Promoting gender equality

The ABI is committed to promoting gender equality at all levels within the insurance industry.

Women in finance charter commitments 

In July 2016 the ABI was one of the first cohort of signatories to the women in finance charter in order to demonstrate its commitment to promote diversity both internally and within the insurance industry. A key requirement of this charter is to report on progress against the internal targets set on an annual basis.

The ABI’s headline target was to achieve at least a 45% / 55% female to male gender split across management positions by 30 June 2019 and in addition to this, the following supplementary targets were set to support the achievement of this goal:

  1. The ABI aims to maintain a rate of internal promotion into management positions that is over 50%.
  2. The ABI will request a 50%/50% gender diversity split in long lists provided by recruitment agencies during management recruitment processes.
  3. The ABI aims for at least 50% of staff to return from periods of maternity leave / shared parental leave, and flexible working requests will be considered in line with best practice.
  4. Equal opportunities for training and development are provided to both male and female members of staff.

The ABI is delighted to confirm that since these targets were set in 2016, it has successfully moved the dial in relation to gender diversity within the management population. The current gender split is 45.45% female / 54.54% male and therefore we consider to be firmly on track to deliver the headline target by June 2019.

We believe we have positively influenced gender diversity within the management group through ensuring diversity and inclusion is part of the conversation when conducting a number of internal processes. In the past 12 months we have achieved a 100% rate of return in relation to those who have taken maternity / shared parental leave and we have also considered and approved a number of flexible working requests in order to support staff in balancing their work and home responsibilities.

Recruitment has proven to be a key touchpoint in relation to our ability to positively influence gender diversity at the highest level, and we are proud to confirm that over the past 12 months we have sustained our commitment to present gender balanced long lists when recruiting into management positions and have continued to promote internally.  

The ABI continues to be committed to supporting gender diversity and diversity more broadly, both internally and in promoting the importance of this amongst the broader Insurance industry.

Louise Hanson, Director of Advocacy, has been appointed as the Executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion:

“We’ve really stepped up our support for better diversity and inclusion in the industry this year and it is refreshing to see businesses take the issues seriously beyond a ‘nice to have’.

"I am proud to be the ABI Executive responsible for gender diversity and inclusion under the Women in Finance Charter.”

The ABI has also supported the Insurance HeForShe campaign for gender parity with Huw Evans making a personal commitment to mentor two women at different stages of their careers.

Huw Evans’ pledge:

"Use my role at the heart of the industry to continue the ABI’s commitment to provide programmes for young talent and future leaders that support and drive forward diversity. I also commit to personally mentor two women from these programmes, focusing on women who have either returned to work following maternity leave or who are from a background under-represented in insurance. 

"I hope by mentoring I can encourage them, give them some tips and help them with resilience when things are difficult. But I am also looking forward to learning from them, to broadening my own middle-aged male horizons and to get more clues as to what else we can do. None of us can conquer the world’s problems single-handed. But we can all do something. And that’s why I am making my pledge today."

International Women's Day

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, ABI Director General Huw Evans further added his thoughts on why the insurance and long-term savings industry must #BeBoldForChange:

Huw Evans said:

“International Women’s Day and its focus this year on women in work offers us an important opportunity to take stock of how we are all doing to improve support for women in the workplace. We can use the day to recommit to doing better and be bolder with our actions. This will help us move towards a future where International Women’s Day is no longer necessary, because we have gender balance and equal pay across all major industries. 

"The financial services sector as a whole needs to get better. We know the insurance industry has some specific challenges where representation of women on boards and at senior executive leadership is currently just not good enough. 

"As the industry trade body, we are playing our part and can see the vital importance of achieving gender equality within the insurance and long-term savings industry. If we are going to serve the economy and represent the millions of customers that rely on us, we need the best talent working within our industry. We simply can’t be at our best as an industry if half the population is not fully represented in leadership positions and across the workforce.”

Find out more about the ABI Women in Finance Charter commitment here. 

Women in Finance Summit 

Speaking to the Women in Finance Summit held by City & Financial, Huw said:

“We need more doing and less patting ourselves on the back for signing a charter we wouldn’t need if we did better.

“Change needs to start from the top, it won’t happen organically from the bottom. More senior leaders need to send permission signals about having a more balanced and rounded life.

“We need a bit more urgency as research suggests that, at the current rate, we may only have gender parity by 2095!”

You can read more from Huw on why diversity is so critical to the sector here.