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.
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.