- Although women make up 57% of the insurance industry, they still face an even greater challenge climbing the corporate ladder, filling just 28% of leadership positions.
- Over 75% of Zesty.ai’s business, from more than half of our customers, comes from relationships led by women, despite there being nearly three men for every one woman leader in the insurance industry.
- CEOs should take notice that women are disproportionately leading the charge on digitally transforming insurance, one of the oldest and most essential industries in the world.
International Women’s Day was founded to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women, and to recognize the challenges they face globally. As a technology company with deep roots in property insurance, Zesty.ai bridges two industries with distinct records of inclusion. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we’re taking this opportunity to reflect upon what we can do to make sure that the future of Tech, AI, and Insurance is more inclusive, takes advantage of all the talent that exists in the marketplace, and is able to bring success to people from any background.
As is our tendency, we decided to look at the data: women compose just 27% of the technology industry, and only 22% of leadership positions. Although women make up 57% of the insurance industry, they still face an even greater challenge climbing the corporate ladder, filling just 28% of leadership positions. It’s clear from the data that the insurance industry is doing a relatively good job attracting women, while technology companies struggle to do so. Consequently, tech needs to increase their efforts at hiring women in the first place, and the insurance industry must focus on promoting them. The next Ada Lovelace, Sheryl Sandberg, Tricia Griffith, and Jane Fraser are already working at our companies and around our industries. Organizational culture will affect how and when these women will reach the leadership positions they’re capable of.
When my co-founder Kumar Dhuvur and I started Zesty.ai in late 2015 to help insurers understand risk by leveraging AI-powered computer vision technology, we didn't anticipate how difficult it would be to bring new products by an industry which, by its very nature, is sensitive to risk exposure and is quite deliberate in its adoption of new technologies. Climate risk analytics will influence the way we live and the world we leave to future generations; yet the adoption of new technologies is not always straightforward in insurance. We knocked on hundreds of doors, presenting our company as a new provider of innovative climate risk solutions, but as willing as executives were to listen to our pitches, they were just as ready to show us the door.
Transformative products often require what we call a “champion”: someone who advocates for a product which might otherwise get ignored, or written off as too much of a risk. A champion stands their ground and holds true to their conviction that the benefits of change far outweigh the cost of going against the grain. A champion is a power broker who has the ability to align a large organization with diverging priorities behind a common goal, and lead with conviction. And in 2018, something incredible happened: Zesty.ai found its first champion. This happened a few more times in 2019, and many more times in 2020, and then the floodgates opened in 2021. The uniting feature to these deals, much to our surprise and delight, was that women at some of the oldest insurance companies in the world were the ones who forged long-term partnerships with our company when Zesty.ai was the seemingly-risky upstart in the market. Over 75% of our business, from more than half of our customers, comes from relationships led by women, despite there being nearly three men for every one woman leader in the insurance industry.
As insurance is reinventing itself and adapting to new risks in an increasingly digital world, it has to take notice of the changemakers who are leading the way and acknowledge when their new ideas generate positive results. Our experience tells us that a future insurance industry with better representation at all levels will be better able to adapt to the changing risk landscape and provide better protection to the things we cherish most in our lives. Women are disproportionately leading the charge on digitally transforming insurance, one of the oldest and most essential industries in the world. With that, on this International Women's Day, we must admit that numbers only tell part of the story and that the impact of women on transforming insurance is far greater than the statistics may lead us to believe.