Research carried out by ICMIF on gender diversity at board, CEO and senior management level last year demonstrated how cooperative and mutual insurers – and particularly ICMIF member organisations – are leading the way in diversity. More and more women are leading mutual and cooperative insurers and playing a key role in growing the insurance sector globally.
The ICMIF Members’ Governance report, published in 2017, noted that the percentage of women on the boards of directors of mutual and cooperative insurers rose to 20.6% in 2015, compared to an insurance industry average of just 17.8%. This represented a significant growth for the mutual and cooperative sector over the previous 10 years, having increased from an average representation of women on boards of 14.3% in 2010 and an almost twofold increase from 11.0% in 2005.
Just under 85% of ICMIF member companies had at least one woman director on their board in 2015 and impressively, 48% of companies had three or more women directors, a significantly greater percentage than the industry average of just 17% at that time.
Last month ICMIF reported on the announcement from member organisation Thrivent in the USA on the election of Bonnie Raquet as the first-ever female Chair of the board of directors at member organisation Thrivent (USA). "Bonnie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role of the Chair of our board of directors, and we look forward to her continued leadership," said Thrivent CEO Brad Hewitt. "We are also proud that Bonnie has been named the first female Chair of the board in our organisation's history. This is a monumental moment that we celebrate."
Speaking on behalf of ICMIF, Chief Executive, Shaun Tarbuck said: “The high percentage of woman at the top of cooperative and mutual insurers shown by ICMIF’s research is no surprise. Our business model gives high importance to the development of people, all people in all their diversity. This is also borne out by our new focus on the ICMIF Young Leaders Forum and Young Leaders Programme at the recent ICMIF Biennial Conference and the positive diversity we saw amongst participants. Our business model recognises the richness of diversity, including gender diversity. The women leading our member organisations tell me they feel comfortable to grow within cooperative and mutual organisations without constraints. They don’t experience the so-called “glass ceiling” and say they feel highly respected in their function by colleagues.”
The mutual and cooperative sector represented 27% of the global insurance market in 2016, a significant growth in global market share compared to 24% in 2012. It wrote USD 1.2 trillion in insurance premiums in 2015 and held over USD 8 trillion in assets (2007: USD 5.9 trillion).
Over 990m policyholders now have mutual/cooperative insurance products and cooperative and mutual insurers have consistently increased their employee numbers since 2012 with over 1.13 million people now employed by the sector across the world.
International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 8 March and is a day when women around the world and from all walks of life are commended both for their achievements and for their efforts towards equality. International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries, communities and business organisations.
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