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Stakeholders at ‘Dive In Festival’ point way forward for women inclusion in insurance industry

Stakeholders at the Dive In Festival in Nigeria 2020 have pointed the way forward on gender diversity highlighting its impact on global and local economic growth as it executed the second edition in Nigeria recently.

They canvassed for equal opportunities, equal pay, female empowerment, advocacy and commitment from leadership in firms to develop and nurture females as they rise to a leadership position in key industries.

As a build-up to this event, the Dive In team conducted a survey to understand the issues female in the insurance sectors are facing, the possible limitations on their rise to leadership and how they are navigating these challenges.

This survey showed that despite the ambition to attain a top-level in career; young female professionals in the Insurance sector are largely constrained by inadequate opportunities relative to gender bias, unequal pay and harassment.

The survey further highlighted that females are willing and ready to take up more challenging roles within the sector and have to resort to professional bodies for support and guidance in their careers. Some leading females in the industry also lend their voice to the younger female professionals in insurance & finance in a campaign titled “Letters to my younger self”. They shared lessons which would help the younger generation develop a mindset and character required for success within the sector.

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At a time when the world is changing at a faster rate, with newer challenges emerging, the corporate environment needs to explore all talents and resources by creating an environment for them to thrive irrespective of gender and experience

To examine some of these challenges faced by young female professionals in the Nigerian Insurance sector, Dive In Festival hosted reputable leaders in the sector to the Dive In’ Nigeria Festival themed “Promoting Inclusion & Diversity in the Nigerian Insurance Industry for a Quantum Leap” to discuss new possibilities that will spur participants to break boundaries in risk management and insurance.

Speakers included Adetola Adegbayi, executive director, General Insurance Business Division, Leadway Assurance Company Ltd, a Legal Practitioner with extensive experience in Legal Research, Corporate Legal Practice, Insurance and Financial Services; Nike Anani, Co-Founder African Family Firms, a firm dedicated to assisting second-generation family members (“NextGens”) in identifying and implementing new opportunities, shortening the journey from identification to impact.

Founder, The Funmi Omo Initiative and Former Managing Director in African Alliance Insurance Plc, Funmi Omo, (recognized as one of the top 100 women CEOs in Africa by Reset Global People); Corneille Karekezi, Group MD/CEO, African Re Group, and Ibitunde Balogun, executive director Tangerine Life Insurance Limited. The event was moderated by financial broadcast journalist and business anchor at CNBC Africa, Esther Awoniyi.

At the event, Adetola Adegbayi, when asked about her thoughts on revitalizing diversity and inclusion initiatives and drive engagement going forward, said; “We need to look at not just women but also men who are disadvantaged, physically challenged people when addressing diversity and inclusion.

It doesn’t matter whether you are formally educated or not, as people what matters is how we make use of our abilities to deliver.” She ended her presentation by stressing on the need to celebrate the difference in togetherness and balancing equality with equity.

Speaking further on the topic when asked by the moderator, Esther Awoniyi, on her thoughts on diversity and inclusion in trans-generational wealth and family business, co-founder, African Family Firms, Nike Anani said, “Women stand to lose out the most when businesses fail to move to the next generation.

Insurance has however turned out to be a risk management tool to protect women’s interest and other threatening issues that might ensue from lack of trans-generational wealth transfer.”

In a closing statement to a question asked by a member of the audience, on strategies that insurance companies should adopt to get more youths interested in applying for jobs, Ibitunde Balogun, executive director at Tangerine life Insurance, who is also exceptional at mentoring millennials for leadership said, “The Insurance Industry currently falls into the least paying jobs in the financial service sector and this itself discourages youths from pursuing a career in this line. “

Addressing Insurance leaders, he further stated, “You need to make insurance more attractive to the new age. The new generation wants good remuneration for work done, work-life balance and flexibility in their jobs.”

Dive In is a global movement in the insurance sector to support the development of inclusive workplace cultures. Its mission is to enable people to achieve their potential by raising awareness of the business case and promoting positive action for diversity in all its forms.

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