In this issue, Emily Viner, the vice president of agency growth and leadership development for The Guardian Life Insurance Company, writes about the need for more women in sales roles within this industry. Viner, who’s also at the helm of the company’s gender balance strategy, has experience to draw from.
In 2013, she created Guardian’s strategy to attract, develop and advance women in distribution, which has garnered a 71 percent increase in the number of female managing directors. She uses her current role to create gender, ethnic and generation diversity in advisor ranks. “My purpose and passion is ensuring the current and future growth of field leadership and leaving a legacy of gender balanced leadership,” Viner says.
Viner’s mission and accomplishments are remarkable and praiseworthy. Indeed, the insurance industry has long been a male-dominated field, and even though recent studies have shown that companies with gender and ethnic diversity are more successful, insurance is perhaps last to catch on and catch up.
Or is it?
A recent report by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation shows that, despite working in a male-dominated industry, 86 percent of insurance professionals believe that the industry is making strides toward gender diversity. In fact, 87 percent of respondents said their company in particular is actively working to promote gender diversity, a whopping 28 percent increase from last year’s statistic. When it comes to the advancement of women to senior leadership roles, 32 percent ranked insurance as the most supportive industry in financial services, up from a measly 12 percent in 2015.
These figures are promising. Dare I say there may even come a time when this publication no longer sees the need to cover gender diversity? A time when this issue is no longer an issue but a silly notion of the past? Until then, we’re here to remind you that it’s an important aspect of a successful organization, no matter what industry.
Diversity breeds innovation, and innovation breeds success.