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Pandemic takes heavy toll on women in insurance industry: Survey


Nearly a third of the women employed in the insurance industry left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Monday by Accenture Inc.

The consultancy conducted a survey in March of 500 women working in the financial services industry to find out how the pandemic had impacted the industry and its workers; 176 of the women surveyed worked in the insurance industry. The survey found that 32% of women in insurance had left their jobs, either temporarily or permanently, during the pandemic, with more than 20% citing childcare or eldercare as the main reason for leaving. About 30% of those who have not left their jobs reported that they were considering leaving their company.

Six in 10 of the insurance industry respondents said they had school-aged children and faced increased pressure as a result of being the primary caregiver, and nearly 40% said flexible scheduling, followed by paid leave, as the primary ways their employer could help with their ability to juggle work and childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.

About 60% of the women surveyed said they would prefer a hybrid approach to work — working some days in the office and some days at home, although nearly half said they believed they would lose advancement opportunities if they were not present in the office five days a week post-COVID-19.

Forty-five percent of the women in insurance surveyed said they had lost opportunities to grow their careers during the pandemic. About 44% said the pandemic had adversely affected their career progression and nearly 40% said they felt disconnected to or forgotten by their company.

Accenture also conducted a second survey of C-suite insurance executives, who confirmed that a number of women had left the insurance industry. Two-thirds of executives reported that some women had resigned since the pandemic, and nearly 20% reported that a significant number of their female employees had resigned.

About 68% of the insurance executives said they believed their company’s human resources and office policies could preclude them from competing for new talent in the post-pandemic environment; 62% said their company was losing its sense of culture by operating remotely.

The majority of insurance executives surveyed also said they are considering closing key hubs or shifting employees to lower-cost locations, with 89% stating that their post-pandemic strategy involves closing their headquarters in a major market (13%), relocating to a lower-cost location (66%) or both (10%).

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.