The City

Industry backs returners programme to support ‘career break’ insurance women

Insurers and brokers have backed a programme which will allow women and men who have taken a career break to return to the industry.

The programme, which is open to applicants now, will offer successful candidates a six-month paid placement at one of the participating organisations and one-to-one specialist training.

Participating organisations include AIG Life, AIG UK, Chubb, Chaucer, Howden Group, Dual, Lockton, Marsh, Willis Towers Watson and Phoenix Group.

Lloyd’s has also offered its support for the initiative, with CEO John Neal saying that the Corporation is “determined to sponsor gender balance across our market”, having achieved gender parity at the leadership level.

“Having seen at first hand the benefits that gender balance brings, I am delighted to support this initiative,” he added.

The programme has been launched by diversity and inclusion consultant Inclusivity Partners and aims to tap into the “forgotten army” of experienced women who want to return to work after a career break, according to Inclusivity Partners founder Stephanie Dillon.

“Across the professions we see women dropping out, often due to caring responsibilities, only to find that when they are ready to return their way back is blocked. Men do take career breaks too, but we know that these issues disproportionately impact women,” she said.

Chartered Insurance Institute CEO Sian Fisher said that allowing women who are trained and have worked in insurance to return to the market was a “huge untapped opportunity”.

She said: “This initiative takes a practical and incredibly thoughtful approach to address this problem directly – by giving women the full support they need to return to work successfully and giving insurers a path to recruit from and integrate this incredible senior talent pool.”

According to data from the Association of British Insurers, although more than half of new entrants to the industry are female, this drops to just under a third at board level and again to under a quarter at the executive level.