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Women in Insurance: A Global Award

By Carlos Arocha

International News, January 2021


As diversity and inclusivity are now more prevalent in the global insurance industry, the gender inequality gap has been narrowed, but there is still much to do in advancing women’s roles in leadership positions—and pay equity—in the global insurance sector.

According to STEMConnector, a technological platform, in the U.S., “women drive the insurance industry, with over 60 percent of the workforce (1.6 million workers strong). Leadership is where we find inequity: women occupy only 19% of board seats, 11% of named inside officer positions, and 12% of top officer positions such as CEO, COO and CFO. Only 8 percent of insurance companies have formal programs to develop strong careers for women.”[1]

A 2018 report by McKinsey & Company, a consultancy, attributes this to issues like unconscious bias and lack of management support. The result is that younger women do not see themselves reflected in senior roles. They do not perceive a way to get there themselves.

The Geneva Association's Women in Insurance Award is shining a light on executive-level women and their contributions to making insurance a force for good.


The International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics, known as The Geneva Association (GA), is a Zurich-based association originally established in 1973 in Geneva.[2] Its membership consists of CEOs of 75 large or influential insurance and reinsurance organizations around the world. The GA awarded the first “Women in Insurance Award” in 2020—the first international award to celebrate women executives in insurance whose work positively impacts society.


The GA is now accepting nominations for The 2021 Women in Insurance Award! Now in its second year, the award’s four priority themes are health, climate and environment, inclusive insurance, and innovation, but achievements in other areas may be considered. The winner is chosen by a prestigious selection committee and will be honored at The GA’s 2021 General Assembly—its annual gathering of re/insurance CEO members—scheduled to take place in Kyoto in spring 2021. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 26, 2021.


The recipient of the 2020 award was Garance Wattez-Richard, CEO AXA Emerging Customers. In a May 2020 interview, Wattez-Richard talked about the work of her team to protect the emerging middle class in developing and mature markets alike; how they will respond to the new challenges of COVID-19; and tips for women working in industries like insurance.


For more information or to submit a nomination, visit

Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries or the respective authors’ employers.

Carlos Arocha, FSA, is managing partner of Arocha & Associates, an actuarial consulting firm based in Zurich, Switzerland. He can be reached at



[2] Per the Geneva Association website, “The Geneva Association was created in 1973 and is the only global association of insurance companies; our members are insurance and reinsurance Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Based on rigorous research conducted in collaboration with our members, academic institutions and multilateral organisations, our mission is to identify and investigate key trends that are likely to shape or impact the insurance industry in the future, highlighting what is at stake for the industry; develop recommendations for the industry and for policymakers; provide a platform to our members, policymakers, academics, multilateral, and non-governmental organisations to discuss these trends and recommendations; reach out to global opinion leaders and influential organisations to highlight the positive contributions of insurance to better understanding risks and to building resilient and prosperous economies and societies, and thus a more sustainable world.”