Firstly WOW Friday at the Southbank was tremendous. I am delighted that so many Supper Club members were able to participate in the day and in particular to play a role in the mass speed mentoring. It was also tremendous, and I was very proud, of Inga Beale, as well as Romaney O’Malley and Julia Friend of AIG, who formed part of WOW Friday through their panel contributions.
From conversations before the day, during the festival and afterwards, on Friday evening, this is a timely moment to send you clarification regarding the set up and status of ISC and why it is affiliating with the CII in terms of Insuring Women’s Futures (www.insuringwomensfutures.co.uk).
As you know I founded ISC as a senior women’s network a decade ago. The network is independent with no commercial affiliation. To date I have personally funded the ISC in terms of resources to support its administration and events organisation. In addition, I have given of my own time to run the ISC alongside my fellow committee members who lend both their name and personal support to the ISC: Inga Beale, Barbara Merry, Jane Portas, Annette Court, Karen Green, Julie Page and Sian Fisher.
ISC has evolved and grown significantly over the years. As such, ISC went through a rigorous process early last year to become a standalone community interest company (CIC) with its own Charter. Whilst there is no trade, this necessitated our being regulated by the FCA due to use of “insurance” in our name. This was a huge exercise over a number of months and which David Welch, Jane Portas and Jane Beacham gave significant time to deliver. You can see this at: www.theinsurancesupperclub.com/governance/
This year, I am delighted to report that ISC has events planned for London, Zurich, Bermuda, Monte Carlo, Chicago, New York and Toronto.
ISC affiliating with the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) Insuring Women’s Futures (IWF) programme: this came together as a direct result of Sian Fisher’s appointment as the CEO of the CII. The IWF programme forms a unique platform to showcase action by the senior women in the market – something a number of us in ISC had been contemplating and discussing for a long time and inspired through conversation at an ISC private dinner. Together with the CII we are now setting out on this unchartered journey to raise the profile of Women & Risk and to modernise our industry’s approach to women – both as clients and employees. Full details of IWF may be found on the website which I encourage you to review, and also to request you please take the survey. IWF was launched by the CII at WOW, announced by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and Founder of WOW, during her interview of Inga Beale at the Royal Festival Hall.
IWF focuses on the bringing together women and men in our market to help reinvent insurance for women. There are three aspects to the work of IWF:
- Women at Risk – better understanding Women’s Risks in Life, both personally and professionally, drawing on experiences of those working in our profession and also through forging relationships with external women’s organisations to provide insight and data, and in return lending our support;
- Women as Risk – contemplating how our sector responds to these risks through Insurance Risk Solutions, and to identify scope for new and improved products and approaches;
- Women in Risk – Careers in Risk aims to support the market to achieve gender balance and to attract new diverse female talent. Our intention then is to leverage this new structure, and through this for the ISC to support, collaborate and involve other women’s networks in the market such as iWIN and Ambition First so that we are united in supporting women in our market while also making a business contribution. This approach also aims to respond to feedback about the number of women’s networks, and to help ensure we are collaborative in achieving the goal of improving the profile of the women in the market. All of these networks are independent which is important.
Insuring Women’s Futures is potentially game changing for the industry as well as for women generally. It has only been made possible because of individual volunteers and timing: Inga Beale and Sian Fisher, as respective CEOs of Lloyd’s and the CII, with their profile and clout in the market will form the “face” of IWF, with Inga as Patron and Sian as Chair. In terms of Careers for Women in Risk I am well positioned through my skills and global connections, particularly with women at all levels during the past decade, and will lead this part of the programme. We are fortunate to have Jane Portas a Big Four Partner in Risk, to lead the philanthropic Women at Risk component with her research skills, and high level global connections. The CII under Sian’s stewardship will provide both the umbrella and international market platform and resources for the IWF programme, and for now in view of her market experience, insurance business and underwriting background, Sian will also lead Women in Risk. Given the nature of IWF including improving insurance solutions for women, all four of us are independent with no insurance firm affiliation.
It is intended that the WOW Festival is a key component as a global channel for IWF.
Your support and participation in IWF as individual ISC and CII members going forward will be vital to moving the dial forward for all women. We welcome your views, ideas and contributions on IWF and look forward to your support. Please feed back via the IWF survey otherwise to me, Sian or Jane directly.