Insurance co-op apex ICMIF says its members lead the way on board gender mix

‘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’

Research from the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (Icmif) shows that its member organisations are ahead of the financial industry average when it comes to female board members.

Icmif says that in in 2020, 27.8% of directors serving on its members’ boards were women, compared to a financial industry average of 23.3% 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, it adds – but says there is still a long way to go.

The Icmif Members’ Governance 2022 report explores the size and composition of 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 published in 2012 and 2016.

It finds that 87.9% of Icmif members had a least one woman on their board, and 51.7% had three or more female board directors in 2020, up from 48% in 2015.

Over a 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.

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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.

Executive vice president Liz Green 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 c-ooperative 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.”

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CEO Shaun Tarbuck added: “These trends coming out of the mutual and c-ooperative 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.”