Bloomberg reported the other day that multiple women in the C-Suite boost a company’s profits – not really a surprise to us guys who have come up through the ranks of organizations run by women.

According to the report, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY found that companies with at least 30% women in leadership roles may boost their net profit margins by about 15% compared to those with no female leaders. They found the biggest gains took place when women held senior executive positions, such as CFO or COO.

Industry leader Brian Duperreault, former president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., has been focused on this issue in the insurance industry for some time now. Despite recent, modest indications of progress, much work remains to be done in promoting diversity within the industry, particularly among its senior ranks. While the number of Fortune 500 companies led by female chief executives has tripled in the last decade, they still account for less than 5% of the total group. And according to Brian, in the insurance industry the figures are even worse: just 1.3% of CEOs in finance and insurance are women.

Perhaps the captive insurance industry has a better record of women in leadership positions. I am proud that five out of eleven of VCIA’s board of directors are women: Diane Hanson of Aon, Siri Gadbois of College Insurance, Heather McClure of Academic Physicians Insurance Company, Jan Klodowski of Agrisurance, and Maureen Raeside of Verizon Risk Management are all stars or rising stars in the world of captive insurance. Not to mention, as many of you know, VCIA’s own “C-Suite” is almost entirely made up of women!

I continue to see extremely talented young women join the ranks of captive insurance. However, much of the responsibility for effecting meaningful progress toward greater equality between male and female professionals within a corporate culture will fall to the most senior executives. Being such a data-driven industry, one hopes the Peterson Institute/EY study will help make a difference.

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith,
VCIA President

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