Insurance chiefs pledge to tackle 31.2% gender pay gap

The insurance sector has significantly lagged behind other UK industries in its average median gender pay gap, with the specialty insurance sector reporting a far greater pay difference than its composite and retail counterparts.

Broker top pay quartileAnalysis by The Insurance Insider shows that insurance sector's average median gender pay gap is 31.2 percent, worse than the financial and insurance sector as a whole, which pays men 22.2 percent more on a median hourly pay basis. The national average median pay gap for the private sector is 8.1 percent.

Among insurers specifically, P&C specialty carriers tended to have worse gender pay gaps than composites or general insurers. Only UK entities of global carriers were included in this analysis.

FM Global fared the worst, with a 46.3 percent median gap. Novae, Barbican, Swiss Re, MS Amlin and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) all paid men more than 40 percent more than women on average.

The insurers with the smallest median gender pay gaps tended to be personal lines players. The best median pay gap in our analysis was Admiral, which beat the national average with a gap of 5.1 percent, followed by Esure (10.4 percent), Mapfre (10.9 percent), Direct Line (14.7 percent) and Axa UK (17 percent).

Most insurers' top-pay quartiles were skewed heavily towards men. AGCS's top-pay quartile was only 12 percent female, while Canopius, Chaucer, Munich Re and Barbican all had top-pay quartiles that were more than 85 percent male.

Insurer top pay quartileAmong brokers, the picture was similar. Integro's median pay gap was the worst by far, at 75 percent; 18 percentage points ahead of the next worst performer, Price Forbes.

Of the 'big three' brokers, Willis had the lowest median pay gap, at 29.4 percent, while rival Marsh had a gap of 41.1 percent. Among the best performing brokers were Direct Group, part of Ardonagh, motorcycle specialist Carole Nash and Swinton, which all had gaps of less than 5 percent.

In terms of women in the top-pay quartile, Ed Broking, JLT Reinsurance and Price Forbes fared the worst; at all three, men made up more than 90 percent of staff on the top pay.

Every carrier, except for auto insurer Markerstudy, displayed a pay gap in favour of men in bonuses as well as ordinary pay.

MS Amlin paid bonuses to men that were on average 93 percent higher than those it paid to women, while at Hiscox the figure was 71.1 percent and at Travelers, 68.8 percent.

At Markerstudy, women were paid bonuses that were 66.6 percent higher on average than those paid to men.

Tokio Marine Kiln, Esure, Atradius and Barbican all had median bonus gender pay gaps in the mid-20 percent.

Among brokers, the pattern was similar. Gallagher Risk and Reward, JLT Reinsurance and Integro all paid bonuses to men that were on average more than 70 percent higher than those paid to women.

Top firmsCarriers and brokers have pledged to improve their gender biases. AGCS, which among insurers had the fewest women in its top-pay quartile, said in its pay gap report that it had been "actively working to create greater gender equality for a number of years".

It pointed to its networking and development programmes such as the Allianz Women in the City initiative, as well as its flexible working policy, as evidence of its efforts.

UK CEO Brian Kirwan said: "We're not where we want to be and we want to change that.

"We need to create more opportunities for women to fulfil their career aspirations within AGCS."

Munich Re, which had a median pay gap of 35.9 percent and just 14 percent of its top-pay quartile made up by women, said it would review its grading structure to "create more transparency on progression" within the company. It also pledged to ensure all recruitment shortlists included female candidates, and to identify "a pipeline of female leaders".

Canopius group chief underwriting officer Mike Duffy meanwhile, acknowledged that more needed to be done to achieve gender parity.

Worst firmsHe pointed out that the specialty reinsurer actually paid slightly more women than men a bonus, although men's bonuses were on average 57.8 percent higher than women's.

Duffy said Canopius would tackle unconscious bias in recruitment, as well as encouraging shared parental leave and providing coaching for women about to take up maternity leave or returning to work after having a baby.

Barbican, which had a median pay gap of 45.1 percent, said it planned to appoint an "independent female executive" to advise the company on improving its gender equality.

Several brokers expressed disappointment at their own gender pay gaps and promised to do better.

Ed CEO Steve Hearn, who last month warned the insurance industry would "disgrace itself" on gender inequality, said he was "certainly not proud" of Ed's own median pay gap of 39 percent.

He said the inequality in pay was due to "the under representation of females in senior broking roles".

Hearn said Ed began tackling the issue 18 months ago but that change would take time.

Hearn has previously claimed Ed would pay its female brokers double the pay rises of male counterparts and has instructed headhunters to bring to interviews two female candidates for every male potential recruit.

JLT Group has pledged to tackle the gender pay gap through changes to its graduate recruitment scheme, to attract equal numbers of female and male candidates, and by ensuring an equal number of male and female employees are enrolled in its leadership programme.

Price Forbes, which had a 53 percent median gender pay gap, said it recognised the "significant difference" in its rewards for men and women. It said there were a number of factors behind these numbers, most pertinently that 71 percent of its workforce is male.

It also pointed out that "so many women choose to work part-time", which affected pay gap results.

However, Price Forbes said it would enhance its flexible working policy and maternity pay, mentor women for leadership roles and look to achieve gender parity in its recruitment processes.

Corrected Gender Chart