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Best insurance companies for working mothers in 2015

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Workplace issues like career advancement, child care, flexible work schedules, leave policies and wage equality are not just female concerns.

Today, men also recognize the benefits of working for an employer that offers you the ability to be successful at work while still taking care of your family responsibilities.

Hundreds of companies compete each year to be recognized as Working Mother 100 Best Companies, based on four primary criteria — advancement of women, paid parental leave, child care and flexible work schedules.

This year, nine insurance companies (P&C, life and health) received the honor.

Flexible work schedules highly valued

Our nation is home to 24 million working mothers — 70 percent of moms with kids under age 18 are employed. Flexibility is the No. 1 policy working moms covet, according to Working Mother. Flex comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the 2015 Best Companies all offer it.

An average of 74 percent of employees use basic flextime, but these organizations also focus on ways to individualize flexible work offerings to best serve all of their employees and business.

Sadly, most new parents in the United States receive no paid leave when they have a baby or adopt a child. Only 5 percent of companies offer fully paid maternity leave, according to the 2014 National Study of Employers, from the Families and Work Institute.

By contrast, every Working Mother 100 Best Companies offers fully paid maternity leave to its full-time employees who have been on the payroll for at least a year.

On the following pages are the nine insurance companies recognized as 2015 Working Mother 100 Best Companies (listed in alphabetical order).


1. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Golden Valley, Minn.)

It costs $40 per day, on average, to use the day care at Allianz headquarters, which serves 100 kids. At that same site, a gym offers exercise classes ($20 per month). As an added incentive, active employees can earn medical premium discounts worth $300 to $600 per year.

Allianz annually offers employees $5,250 in tuition aid, a 401(k) with 7.5 percent salary match and up to $1,200 in health saving account (HSA) contributions. In hard times, they can request $5,000 in grants to cover their medical or living expenses and take 20 extra paid days off.


2. Allstate Insurance (Northbrook, Ill.)

This property and casualty insurer maintains a day care facility and medical clinics at its largest sites and offers a twice-daily shuttle to a fitness center near headquarters.

Alternative schedules and seminars on optimism, mindfulness and meditation keep things positive. Affinity groups address issues important to women and parents. 


3. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (Durham, N.C.)

Up to 25 days of infant transition care or backup child care are available annually. Those who scale back their hours (with management’s approval) won’t injure their chances for promotion. Also, new “Lean In” circles support career achievement.

Babysitting evenings held on-site also give Mom and Dad time alone. This company also offers summer day camps for kids under age 12, keeping children entertained when school is not in session. 


4. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ (Newark, N.J.)

Forty-nine percent of employees here work from home full- or part-time. Many of the health insurer’s six offices operate their own fitness and/or day care centers, labs, medical clinics and pharmacies. 

Women earn 39 percent of the organization’s top salaries. Membership in the Women LEAD affinity network has risen 50 percent since 2013.

5. MassMutual Financial Group (Springfield, Mass.)

Employees receive three fully paid weeks off after a birth or adoption (to be added to any short-term disability leave); some job-share, flex or reduce their hours to look after new arrivals.

Parent Community groups are held monthly to discuss career, family, benefits, emotional health and more. Moms can request up to $5,000 in tuition aid per year to obtain advanced degrees, yet also pursue down-to-earth lessons at seminars on simplifying life, fighting stress and raising healthy kids. 


6. MetLife (New York, N.Y.)

Employees get eight weeks of parental leave for primary caregivers (and two for secondary caregivers), to be added to any existing short-term disability leave.  Parents may also combine the new leave with paid time off and/or unpaid time to arrange up to six months away from the office.

The Families at MetLife group provides an instant community, while the Work-Life ASSIST program can help with personal tasks and find child care or counseling.

ny life

7. New York Life (New York, N.Y.)

Eighty percent of employees here use flexible schedules. Some work less when their kids are young, then ramp back up years later.

The Women’s Initiative network at this insurance company, serving 1,000-plus female employees in 15 locations, engages members in thought-provoking discussions, collaborative business projects and meaningful mentoring. 


8. Prudential Financial (Newark, N.J.)

Ninety percent of the workforce enjoys some kind of flexible work arrangement (in 2002, only 9 percent of all employees responding to a survey said they used a flexible work arrangement). 

Prudential offers 100 hours of subsidized backup child/family care annually, to be used with a nationwide provider or at its own on-site child care facilities in Dresher, Pa., and Newark, N.J. (each of which provides an extra 20 days of care per child each year, plus 20 days of free transition care for infants).

Workshops on special needs and elder care complement the company’s more than 70 health and work life webinars.


9. Zurich North America (Schaumburg, Ill.)

Women earn one third of all top salaries and can request up to $5,000 in tuition assistance annually. Near-site child care and subsidized backup care are available to parents. Driving Your Career workshops, designed for those at all levels, encourage women to think about expanding their education and making smart job transitions.

New business and leadership programs offered by this insurance provider help executive women move into the next phase of their careers. At present, 33 percent of female employees here also belong to its Women’s Innovation Network, a resource group devoted to their development, which is now launching a mentoring initiative. 

See also:

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