What additional steps can the insurance sector take to advance?
Compared to previous generations, women now make more money for their families and are more secure in their personal financial decisions.
They still have challenges to overcome before they can take control of planning for their financial future and legacy.
Findings from a recent analysis, Lack of Knowledge and Confidence Deter Women from Purchasing Life Insurance, published by insurance charities LIMRA and Life Happens, show a significant difference in the attitudes of these products and the purchasing of life insurance between men and women.
In the past, society excluded women from their financial issues.
Before the 1960s, women were not allowed to open bank accounts in their own names.
Prior to the Equal Opportunity Credit Act of 1974, banks would not extend credit to women just because they were single.
Banks demanded the husband’s co-signature when a woman was married.
State rules granted males unrestricted authority over their wives’ assets up until the SCOTUS Kirchberg v. Feenstra ruling in 1981, even if those assets were acquired without joint marital resources.
Women are still underrepresented in the life insurance sector.
Despite women expressing increasing anxiety about the “financial, physical, and mental consequences of COVID-19 on them and their family,” the survey states that the life insurance ownership rate for American women fell 10 points to 47% during the previous five years.
In fact, 42 percent of men and 31 percent of women who responded to the survey said they would both get life insurance in 2021.
Some of the women who responded to the study expressed concern about how insurance companies and financial professionals could treat them differently as well as their trepidation about disclosing personal information to an agent or business.
Financial planning for women still has challenges.
According to the LIMRA survey, only 22% of women “feel highly knowledgeable about life insurance,” compared to 39% of men, and 80% of women incorrectly estimate the cost of life insurance.
Data needs context in order to be useful in understanding how individuals make decisions.
Other research, for instance, suggests that cultural prejudices and norms may have an impact on women’s self-confidence and desire to partake in activities from which they have traditionally been excluded.
Inequalities persist due of remnants of the past:
biases about who should and shouldn’t be able to handle money matters confidently; gender wage discrepancies, with much greater differences for women of color; and unequal allocation of unpaid but incredibly crucial domestic and family care work.
These barriers can be made more difficult by the fact that women may earn less than men or are the major breadwinners in their households, which may leave them with less time to learn about and use financial planning tools like insurance.
Although barriers are lowered, there is still room for improvement.
Throughout history, women have contributed significantly to the economy in general and inside their families, whether or not this work was rewarded or acknowledged.
Today, nine out of ten women may be the only people making financial decisions in their households due to lifestyle choices, divorce, or the passing of a partner.
According to the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study, which was also carried out by Life Happens and LIMRA and surveyed 56 million women, 43 percent of them think they need or will require greater coverage.
The key to winning the market is to meet women where they are.
This can be accomplished by raising consumer awareness and addressing the hazards associated with life cycle needs that differ by gender.
Only one in ten women hold leadership positions, which are critical to the industry’s change, despite the fact that women make up roughly 60% of insurance professionals.
Advancing diversity and inclusion objectives can pave the way for more innovation and equality.