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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Women's market represents trillion-dollar opportunity

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Women are an integral part of the insurance consumer base. As wage earners and financial decision makers, the demographic is an important one to target when it comes to financial product sales.

In fact, according to a recent report by AXA, IFC and Accenture, the women’s market represents a trillion-dollar opportunity for the insurance industry.

The report, “SheforShield: Insure Women to Better Protect All,” pinpoints that by 2030, the insurance industry is expected to earn up to $1.7 trillion from women alone. The industry could significantly increase its participation in the economy and further support social and economic development in emerging markets by more effectively reaching out to women, according to the report. 

“The rising share of women with tertiary education degrees, of women who work, who own or run businesses, of women who earn growing levels of income is leading to a changing and expanding landscape of protection needs,” said Denis Duverne, deputy chief executive officer of the AXA Group.

The report pinpoints 10 key insights about women and their protection needs, which are:

1. Women on the rise — from billions to trillions:

From a market of nearly $800 billion in 2013, the women’s market globally is expected to represent between $1.45 and $1.7 trillion by 2030.

2. A re-balancing act:

The women’s market of the 10 emerging economies covered in this report will represent up to half of the global women’s market premium by 2030. Women are gaining ground; their increased level of education, income, improved socioeconomic status, and their greater need for protection make them a big opportunity for insurers. This is strongly reflected in a very simple yet telling number: women across the world are willing to invest 90 percent of their income into their households.

3. A valuable client:

Women’s attitudes toward fraud, claims, loyalty, their roles as a trusted source of recommendations, and their relational rather than transactional approach to networks make them a valuable customer and an inexpensive brand ambassador for insurers.

4. It’s not only about money:

It’s more than just financial compensation for loss. Women want protection and peace of mind not only for themselves, but also for their husbands, children, and parents. They do not want to be a burden; they want short-term simplicity and long-term stability, advice, and support.

5. It’s all about life’s big moments:

Women’s needs and preferences differ by segment and lifecycle events, requiring insurers to tailor products and services. There are five to six tipping points during a woman’s life at which she makes a significant amount of her insurance related decisions: marriage, entering the workforce, buying a house/car, having children, divorce/widowhood, and retirement. She has little time to think about protection products on a regular basis.

6. The birth of a saleswoman:

Women in the insurance industry are a performing salesforce. In particular, their point of differentiation relates to their ability to develop long-term client relationships, thereby improving client retention and possibly influencing the iterative uptake of insurance products with existing clients.

7. Empower women entrepreneurs:

One-third of the world’s entrepreneurs are women who want to grow their business and take more calculated risks, but who face a glaring gender gap and access to finance. By helping them manage the risks, insurance increases women’s ability to access credit and helps them to make this leap.

8. One size doesn’t fit every woman:

Women are not a homogeneous group but are a diverse market with different needs depending on their income, location, employment, and status. Different women face different constraints in accessing and using insurance.

9. Digital channels:

Not only for the young, but also for the time-poor: Insurers need to leverage digital distribution channels to increase awareness and communicate with women clients, as they have recourse to time-gaining digital services to manage both their family and professional agendas. Given women’s role as conduits and the value they place on peer-to-peer recommendations, their lack of time and desire to save it, insurers should leverage targeted social networks and mobility.

10. Stronger together:

Partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations, women’s associations, and other private sector players can be developed to expand access to insurance for women. In particular, given the extent to which women tend to lack time and look to save it, they often see value in buying things together thanks to “transitive trust,” i.e. if one brand/provider trusts another enough to partner with it, then so will the woman client. The insurance industry should look to identify the right private partner(s) with whom to envisage a bundled offer.