ICMIF announces 50:50 gender split on stage for its Americas Conference

The event will focus on how co-operative and mutual insurers can future-proof their businesses

The International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) will have an equal number of men and women taking part in its Americas conference as speakers, panellists and moderators.

The event, on 19-21 November in Cartagena, Colombia, will focus on how co-op and mutual insurers can future-proof their businesses to ensure sustainable competitiveness and the ability to remain resilient. 

In September, at the annual meeting of the Latin American Association for Reinsurance Education (LARG) in Panama City, women overtook men in the agenda, with 15 women speakers as panellists and moderators compared to 12 men.

The federation’s 2017 Biennial Conference saw a 28% representation by women on the speaker list and 30% representation by women on the delegate list. ICMIF also ran a Young Leaders Programme at this event, with 49% of the Young Leader delegates being women.

“Thirty-one companies from 16 countries sent their young leaders to participate as delegates, and one of the threads running through the whole conference was the need for mutuals and co-operatives to develop the next generation of talent,” says ICMIF vice-president for business intelligence, Ben Telfer.

“The young leaders’ attendance was embraced by the CEOs and senior executives who attended and their presence added to the diversity of thought at networking events and discussions. I was delighted to see such an equal diversity split amongst the participants too,” he added. 

ICMIF set up a Young Leaders Forum for millennials who have been identified by their senior managers as strong candidates to become future leaders within their organisations. This includes seven women and five men, reflecting current membership.

Promoting equality is a concern for the whole co-operative and mutual insurance sector. Research  by ICMIF has show that the percentage of women on the boards of directors of mutual and co-operative insurers rose to 20.6% in 2015, compared to an insurance industry average of just 17.8%.

According to the report, 85% of ICMIF member companies had at least one woman director on their board in 2015 and 48% of companies had three or more women directors, a significantly greater percentage than the industry average of just 17% at that time.

Chief executive Shaun Tarbuck said: “The high percentage of women at the top of co-operative and mutual insurers shown by ICMIF’s research is no surprise. Our business model gives high importance to the development of people in all their diversity. This is also borne out by the positive diversity we are seeing at our events amongst both on stage line-ups and delegates.

“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 co-operative 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.”

Co-operative and mutual insurers represented 27% of the global insurance market in 2016, with over US $8tn (£6.20tn) in assets.

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