IN­SUR­ANCE: A GOOD FIT FOR WOMEN TECH­NOL­O­GISTS?

Fe­male vet­er­ans of the in­sur­ance tech­nol­ogy sec­tor re­flect on the op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow as dig­i­tal lead­ers in the in­dus­try.

Digital Insurance - - STRATEGIES -

In­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy is a ma­jor growth en­gine for the Amer­i­can econ­omy, and it pow­ers the op­er­a­tions of most of the coun­try's cor­po­rate gi­ants. How­ever, the IT sec­tor has in­creas­ing been in the news for sex­ism, from women tech en­trepreneurs speak­ing out about ha­rass­ment in the ven­ture process to the “Google memo,” which stated bi­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences are a rea­son women are un­der­rep­re­sented in the pro­fes­sion. Granted, women held just 26% of com­put­ing jobs in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cen­ter for Women in In­for­ma­tion

Tech­nol­ogy, a non-profit backed by the Na­tional Science Foun­da­tion to pro­mote women in com­put­ing. By com­par­i­son, the group found women hold­ing 57% of all pro­fes­sional oc­cu­pa­tions in the U.S.

But, as the Women in In­sur­ance Lead­er­ship pro­gram has shown, women have risen to the top of in­sur­ance IT and made in­cred­i­ble con­tri­bu­tions. In­deed, in­sur­ance, which has cen­ters of in­no­va­tion all over the coun­try and is in­vest­ing more in dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion ev­ery year, of­fers a place for women tech­nol­o­gists to flex their mus­cles on real-world projects from the mo­ment they walk into the of­fice door. CIOs are quick to note that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies have an open door for the best ta­lent. Car­ri­ers also boast a dig­i­tal strate­gic di­rec­tion that ra­di­ates en­thu­si­asm for in­no­va­tion and a clear fo­cus on an end goal that al­lows tech­nol­o­gists to do the talk­ing with their skills. And, be­cause in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are start­ing from scratch in many cases, the im­pact of the work on the busi­ness can be im­me­di­ate and leg­endary.

What fol­lows are first-per­son ac­counts from high-pro­file tech­nol­ogy lead­ers from all sec­tors of the in­dus­try, dis­cussing the ways in which in­sur­ance has proven to be a great place for them to be­gin and ad­vance their ca­reers — and why other women seek­ing re­ward­ing tech em­ploy­ment should take note.

In my time at Syn­ergy Comp, I have al­ways been wel­comed to share my ideas and grow within the or­ga­ni­za­tion. The fact that I started in the un­der­writ­ing depart­ment and learned what we do, why we do it, and how we are unique helped pro­pel me into the tech­nol­ogy field. Hav­ing the back­ground on our com­pany re­ally helped me de­velop the un­der­stand­ing and how we can im­prove and au­to­mate our pro­cesses. Syn­ergy Comp def­i­nitely en­cour­ages me to con­tinue to strive for more and do what is best for the com­pany.

My ex­po­sure to the in­sur­ance in­dus­try, and in­sur­ers specif­i­cally, has al­ways been pos­i­tive. Re­cently, I have seen the in­dus­try start to pro­mote and en­cour­age more women in the tech­nol­ogy field. The user con­fer­ences that I have at­tended re­cently in­clude women who wear many dif­fer­ent hats. I be­lieve this trend of hav­ing mul­ti­ple roles or re­spon­si­bil­i­ties has tran­si­tioned many women into work­ing in the tech­nol­ogy field within in­sur­ance.

With re­gards to the in­sur­ance in­dus­try and tech­nol­ogy specif­i­cally, I rec­om­mend it be­cause there are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow and de­velop a ca­reer within the in­dus­try as a whole. In­sur­ance his­tor­i­cally has been be­hind the curve with re­gards to tech­nol­ogy, but it is fi­nally catch­ing up. It is ex­cit­ing to see the growth and op­por­tu­ni­ties we have seen and will con­tinue to see in the up­com­ing years.

vides and em­pow­ers its em­ploy­ees to ex­cel, grow and ad­vance. Both in­dus­tries are aligned with my own per­sonal passion. When I started in in­sur­ance, I was 25 years old. Af­ter many po­si­tions, roles and pro­mo­tions (and, of course, years later), I am now the CEO and founder of Strat­egy Meets Ac­tion, an an­a­lyst firm that ex­clu­sively ser­vices in­sur­ers and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies.

Through­out my ca­reer, I have been able to bal­ance an ac­cel­er­at­ing ca­reer with be­ing a wife, a mother, and now a grand­mother. But I was not alone in blaz­ing the path. With other pro­fes­sional women along­side me in the early 1980s, we set the stage for the op­por­tu­ni­ties our sons and daugh­ters have to­day. Even be­fore tech­nol­ogy came into in­sur­ance, women have had a long his­tory of work­ing and con­tribut­ing to the im­por­tant im­pact in­sur­ance has had on so­ci­ety. Con­tin­ued ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy will only con­tinue to el­e­vate the im­por­tance and rel­e­vancy of in­sur­ance for the fu­ture.

In­sur­ers are now em­brac­ing in­no­va­tion and chang­ing their busi­nesses to meet the needs of to­day's cus­tomers. And I re­main en­cour­aged to see a new gen­er­a­tion of in­sur­ance pro­fes­sion­als em­brace tech­nol­ogy and change the shape of their or­ga­ni­za­tions. I also re­main un­be­liev­ably grate­ful to have had such a lasting ca­reer in an in­dus­try that I truly love.

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