Pay Equity In The Insurance Industry: It Makes Good Business Cents

14 Mar, 2023 | Admin | No Comments

Pay Equity In The Insurance Industry: It Makes Good Business Cents

By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I

The gender pay gap is a sensitive topic we need to spotlight. We’ve seen it in every industry, from entertainment – when Patricia Arquette called for wage equality in her 2015 Oscars acceptance speech – to Wall Street, when CNBC reported in 2019 that Citibank admitted that its female employees earned 29% less than its male employees globally.   

In the United States, the gender pay gap is 18%, which means that on average, in 2022, women made 82 cents for every dollar men earned in any industry, according to a recent Pew Research Center study —a rate that hasn’t significantly changed for two decades. Women of color continue to suffer the most severe gender wage gap in this country. Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar white men are paid and must work an additional 214 days to catch up to what white men made in 2020 alone. Native women are paid about 60 cents and Hispanic women only 57 cents for every $1 earned by white men. In the insurance industry, women fared worse, earning just 62 cents on the dollar in 2020. As a result, women cannot build savings, withstand economic downturns, and achieve financial stability. This earnings gap widens during a woman’s career.  

Older women bear the brunt of ageism  

We’re all familiar with the phrases “past their prime,” “put them out to pasture,” and “not enough runway,” but often ageism is gender specific, targeting older women. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that American men don’t typically start to make less money until they’re over 65. In contrast, women’s median pay decreases when they enter the 45–54-year age group.  

Inequity can drive retirement insecurity 

Lower lifetime earnings also reduce the amount of retirement capital women can accumulate from 401ks to defined benefit pension plans to social security. Women’s retirement contributions are, on average, 30% less than those made by men, according to a recent Goldman Sachs survey.  

A 2020 report from the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) finds that women can remain at a disadvantage with their retirement savings. Years spent out of the workforce for caregiving responsibilities—for children, spouses, and aging parents—significantly impact women’s total retirement savings and income. In fact, women are more likely to leave the workforce or take part-time jobs to shoulder those responsibilities – something we saw after the coronavirus struck.  

Women tend to live longer than men, too, and thus often have a greater chance of exhausting their sources of income. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the average American man will live to age 76, while the average woman in America will live to be age 81.   

Not only are women paid less, but men continue to dominate the top roles and highest-paying professions. Some folks say women need to be more confident and negotiate raises better. However, in 2019, The Wall Street Journal surveyed 2,000 graduates of an elite U.S. business school and found that 64% of the women versus 59% of the men asked for raises and promotions, but women were turned down twice as often.  

Diversity brings value 

With fewer women in top positions at insurance companies, insurers are missing out on critical sources of talent, according to McKinsey & Company. They referenced Harvard Business Review research which showed that diverse teams are more effective at solving difficult problems and reaching diverse markets and customer segments. Insurance companies need effective and diverse teams at all levels to grow and keep their competitive edge—meaning more women and women of color.  

Transparency laws help close the gender pay gap  

Wage transparency laws can close the gender pay gap, reduce discrimination, and promote fairer compensation practices. By requiring employers to disclose pay scales, job applicants can have a better sense of what to expect in terms of pay before they apply and negotiate salaries more effectively. This practice may also help women already in those jobs know what factors go into their pay and determine whether it is fair.  

The insurance industry is making strides toward equity 

Insurers are increasingly taking the initiative to transform their commitments into meaningful actions regarding pay equity based on gender, race, and overall diversity and inclusion. These organizations recognize that this is not only the right thing to do, of course. But they also realize that these practices are also good for business.  

Triple-I believes that acknowledging and celebrating those organizations working to make a difference is important. Below is a highlight of what some of our member companies are accomplishing in the DEI and pay equity space. We encourage others who have a story to tell to let us know and we’ll include them in this celebration:  

  • Allstate’s performance in workplace diversity meets or exceeds external benchmarks. As of Dec. 31, 2021, women made up approximately 57% of their workforce, and 42% of their employees were racially or ethnically diverse. Minimum compensation increased in 2022 to $17/hour and $20/hour, based on geographic differentials, the second increase in the last two years. Racial equity is a pillar of The Allstate Foundation, and it aims to close the racial opportunity gap for careers with thriving wages. As of January 2023, Allstate proactively added salary ranges to 100% of its job descriptions to be transparent and show its commitment to equitable pay practices.   
  • American Family, recognizing the structural barriers in society that keep people from achieving their dreams, is doing its part to break down these barriers, committed to tackling systemic problems that impede equity and believes everyone deserves the freedom to dream fearlessly. For 2022, American Family received the Best of the Best Awards from the Professional Woman’s Magazine, among other awards. Their diversity and inclusion efforts are grounded in equity — believing fair treatment starts with giving people the proper systems, support, opportunities and access needed to achieve their professional success and advancement.  
  • AmericanAg™ has undertaken several steps to increase both the diversity of their workforce and communication in their business communities, including the use online platforms, media outlets, and search firms to recruit top talent with diverse backgrounds, not tolerating gender gap compensation issues among employees. They have initiated all-employee discussion sessions concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion to bolster communication and education.  
  • Argo Group is committed to cultivating an authentic, inclusive and respectful workplace where all employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work with equal opportunities to be successful. They developed their first year report on the gender pay gap in 2020 among their team in the U.K., but the company has been tracking the pay gap and working on improvements since 2017.  
  • CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer, has been named to Seramount’s sixth annual Inclusion Index, which recognizes leaders in creating an inclusive workplace. Chubb engages in pay equity analysis to ensure equal pay between employees in similar roles. The objective of this practice is to determine whether pay differences are driven by fair and compensable factors, such as location or tenure, and not by unjustifiable factors, such as gender or race. It has been a success at the organization. 
  • Farmers Insurance, ranked as a Best Employer for Women by Forbes, is partnering with Women Back to Work to support the career re-entry of women in tech. Women at Farmers Insurance have rated Team, Executive Team, and Leadership as the organization’s highest-scoring categories. Farmers Insurance ranks on Comparably in the top 5% of other companies with 10,000+ Employees for Gender Score. 
  • Grange Insurance is a proud member of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™, a national initiative of more than 2,000 CEOs and Presidents who are pledging to support a more inclusive workplace for employees, communities, and society. In 2022, Grange was selected as an honoree of Columbus Business First’s Diversity in Business Award in the Outstanding Diversity Organization category. As an example of its commitment to pay equity, Grange conducts an annual gender pay equity analysis. 
  • At Hanover, measuring workforce demographics enables them to track where they stand and the work that needs to be done along their DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) journey. This practice also helps them achieve a shared goal of attracting, retaining, and advancing a diverse workforce at all levels. For 2021, 59 % of the workforce was female.
  • Liberty Mutual was recognized by Forbes as one of America’s best employers for women every year since 2018. Liberty Mutual monitors their market competitiveness, constantly evaluating their pay practices to ensure relative parity among employees and across all business areas. They designed their compensation system to pay competitively for performance across all dimensions of diversity. Their multi-year DEI Plan includes goals to increase representation of women at all levels in the U.S. by 2025, as well as ensure progress over the long term. Delivering on these goals means that more than half of their U.S. workforce will be women.  
  • Lloyd, in its 2021 Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap Reports, noted its mean gender pay gap is 18.6%, an improvement of 1.8% from 2020. While there is still more to do, this shows a continually improving trend since the 27.7% pay gap in their first report in 2017. Lloyd’s is working to improve pay gaps by providing career development for women; hiring one in three ethnic minorities; and having an EDGE action plan, among other objectives.  
  • MAPFRE continues reducing its gender pay gap. Its Compensation Policy lays out a compensation model that focuses on productivity and added value, contains no gender criteria, and is adapted to the competitive environment.  
  • At MetLife, they are committed to pay equity and annually review their pay practices, including compensation and benefits programs, to ensure they incent the right behaviors and provide equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender or race. Their goal is to support, reward, and compensate the entire individual.  
  • Munich Re sees diversity as the lively and active coexistence and working together of different mindsets, mentalities, experiences, and expertise. Their employees are their most valuable asset, and their diversity is the key to our success as a company. They are increasing the proportion of women in all management positions globally and Group-wide to 40 percent by the end of 2025.  
  • Seramount placed Nationwide Insurance on its Top 75 Companies for Executive Women list, which recognizes corporations that have women in top executive positions and created a culture that identifies, promotes, and nurtures successful women.   
  • In 2022 State Farm was ranked among the Top Companies for Executive Women by Seramount – and has been recognized every year since 2008. They have created the D&I Governance Council with its main objective to integrate diversity and inclusion into day-to-day business practices and how they lead their organization. They have also created learning opportunities such as Ally Skills Workshops for all employees and Inclusive Practices and Talent Decisions for recruiters and leaders. In addition, State Farm has cultivated transparency by sharing demographic data internally and externally.   
  • Swiss Re noted that they have a regularly monitored gender-neutral approach to pay across all levels of the organization. They also conduct an annual statistical analysis of base salaries and total compensation across corporate bands, job families, employee ages, and experience levels to identify gender pay differentials for comparable roles across the organization. The regression-based analysis for 2022 found no statistically significant gender pay differentials across these categories.  
  • USAA, a national insurance and financial services company focused on active military, veterans, and their families, announced its final commitment of $20 million to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of the company’s three-year, $50 million commitment made in late 2020, the latest grants to nearly 50 nonprofit organizations focus on amplifying the collaborative need to build diverse talent pipelines through education and employment programs.   
  • Utica National boasts a workforce comprised of 60% women – a figure which mirrors the percentage across the entire insurance industry, based on a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Looking back at the company’s 107-year history, their very first employee was a woman, and now women make up the majority of their workforce that keeps the company moving and growing. For five consecutive years, Utica was named a Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America magazine.   
  • W.R. Berkley’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct outlines how they address diversity and inclusion to provide equal opportunities for all Berkley employees. Many of their insurance businesses have diversity and inclusion committees that support these policies.  
  • Westfield Group’s Women’s Network works to educate, inspire and interact with women and their advocates by building a community focused on appreciating the strengths and contributions of women as leaders in the workplace. By providing advocacy and development that enables women to achieve their career goals, the network helps their organization achieve higher performance and profitability through diverse thought and voice.  
  • Zurich Insurance is committed to gender equality in the workplace and has implemented measures globally to track progress. These initiatives include the Equal Pay for Equivalent Work analysis to make sure gender is not a factor when it comes to remuneration.  

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) developed Advancing Ideas into Action, based on their Inclusion in Insurance Regional Forums held in 2022, furthering conversations started by IICF in 2013 during their first Women in Insurance Global Conference (now the IICF Inclusion in Insurance Global Conference) about advancing ideas around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and innovation into action.      

In its 2013 report, Increasing Gender Diversity in Insurance Leadership: Lessons from Women Who Reached the C-Suite, Spencer Stuart, an American global executive search and leadership consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois, noted that “increasing diversity requires clear and consistent support from the CEO and senior management, and male leaders generally. Executive leadership sets the tone that diversity is a priority and sets expectations that succession plans and candidate slates will include women.” 

Peter Miller, CPCU and president and CEO of The Institutes (of which Triple-I is affiliated), couldn’t agree more. “At the end of the day, all leaders must be deliberate and consistent in their efforts to attract and grow diverse talent,” Miller said, adding that “focusing on leadership-skills-based development is a critical factor in retaining and elevating diverse talent, which in turn helps drive pay equity.”

The Institutes has consistently been recognized as a Top Workplace over the last several years and earned national recognition as a 2023 Top Workplace. Additionally, The Institutes has been recognized for its work-life flexibility and compensation and benefits. 

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