ICMIF says it is seeing mutual benefit for greater diversity

Mutual insurers say they are leading the industry in its efforts to deliver greater diversity & inclusion.

Data from the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) found that in 2020, 27.8% of directors serving on ICMIF members’ boards were women, this is ahead of the financial industry average of 23.3% in 2020* and the insurance industry average of 26% in 2019**. This is a substantial increase from 20.6% in 2015 and nearly double from 14.3% in 2011.

The ICMIF Members’ Governance 2022 report explored the size and composition of ICMIF members’ boards of directors; tenure of directors and CEOs; as well as gender diversity of the boards, CEOs and senior management teams on a global and regional level. This is the third edition of the report with previous versions having been published in 2012 and 2016.

Shaun Tarbuck, ICMIF CEO, said: “These trends coming out of the mutual and cooperative sector are very encouraging, and while there is still a lot of work to do by the insurance industry in general in terms of gender parity in executive management, our sector is certainly leading the way. These companies with a high proportion of women on their boards and women in senior executive positions have been proven to perform better, not only financially in terms of growth, efficiency and profitability, but also in terms of instilling a culture of inclusion within their respective insurance companies, which in turn, is transferred to the customer in terms of better service and engagement from their employees of all gender.”

The report found 87.9% of ICMIF members had a least one woman on their board, and over half of members (51.7%) had three or more female board directors in 2020, up from 48% in 2015.

Over one third (33.8%) of senior management positions within ICMIF member companies were held by women in 2020. This is a notable growth from 2010 and 2005 when the number was around a quarter and almost double the insurance industry average of 17% in 2019.

The number of female CEOs increased from 18.1% in 2015 to 22.7% in 2022 and was well above the financial services industry average and the insurance industry average of 6.9% and 9.6% respectively.

Commentating on the report, Liz Green, ICMIF executive vice-president, said: “The growth in female representation across members boards, CEO and senior management positions reflects their commitment to diversity and gender equality throughout their companies. It’s remarkable to see how far we’ve come over the 15-year period this report examines.

“The cooperative and mutual insurance sector has long known what the rest of the financial service industry is starting to realise: that the best boards for insurance companies are more diverse boards, and that the most effective senior management teams are the more diverse management teams. While we still have a long way to go, it’s encouraging to see we are heading in the right direction and indeed leading the way in areas such as female CEO representation.” she added.