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Talent--not gender--key to industry's future


Women are ascending to executive positions in the commercial insurance industry more than ever before, and the reasons for that are encouraging.

Business Insurance's Women to Watch report, which begins on page 9, features 50 women working in risk management, insurance, employee benefits and related fields. All of them have prominent responsibilities within their organizations; in several cases they are the top executive.

A few years ago, it would have been difficult to find more than a handful of women in the C-suite in the insurance industry. What has changed?

For one, more companies now sponsor initiatives to advance women or provide networking opportunities. Secondly, more companies see the importance of dedicated diversity officers to cultivate talent and help organizations reflect the diverse customer bases that most serve. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, women are creating opportunities for themselves and each other through informal means, such as mentoring young women outside their organizations.

Talent matters in any industry that requires specialized skills. We think the above trends can serve as useful ways to attract and promote more talent--male and female--to leadership roles.