Diversity and Inclusion  

A lifetime of financial inequality

Data collected by Insuring Women’s Futures before Covid-19 showed career breaks and part-time work reduce women’s prospects of getting a promotion, their hourly pay and ultimately, their lifetime earnings, depleting how much is saved into a pension to pay for their own later-life care.

Next steps

Last November, hundreds of insurance and personal finance professionals gathered in London to commit to take action to raise awareness of the issues that cause women to be worse off than men and to tackle this inequality.

As a first step on the road to improved financial equality for women, a total of 21 insurance companies signed up to the Insuring Women’s Futures flexible working and inclusive customer financial lives pledge.

The ‘Financial Flexible Working’ pledge committed companies to help their colleagues to understand and manage the long-term financial implications of flexible working. 

The ‘Inclusive Customer Financial Lives’ pledge committed the same companies to adopt an inclusive ‘whole customer’ approach, encouraging women to consider the impact of their life circumstances on their financial resilience.

Insurance and personal finance professionals also united behind Insuring Women’s Futures, recommending the government and employers act to:

  • Equip young women to make financially informed study choices.
  • Include the employer’s pension contribution in gender pay gap reporting.
  • Collect and use gender disaggregated data to inform policy and supervision.
  • Extend auto-enrolment to employees on low pay in order to give all women the best opportunity possible to receive the pension tax relief that they are due.

In June, CII chief executive Sian Fisher signed The Telegraph’s letter urging the government to close the lockdown gender gap and commit to considering the impact of pandemic policy on women’s lives.

The letter – also signed by Mary Portas, Dame Helena Morrissey and Baroness Ros Altmann – raised concerns that the long-term impact of the government’s response to the pandemic on women’s lives is being overlooked.

The CII is also taking further action to gain even greater understanding of the deep-rooted nature of female financial inequality and how best the insurance and personal finance profession can address it.

Financial resilience

The next stage of the CII’s Insuring Futures initiative will examine how everyone can better build and maintain financial resilience for later life.

The CII wants to hear from anyone working in insurance and personal finance who can help identify what people can do during every decade of their adult lives to build and maintain their independence.

This stage will look at the kind of conversations people need to have with their families, friends, insurance professionals and financial advisers to create more financial resilience throughout their entire life.

The insights will form the basis of a conversation with insurers, advisers, charities, policymakers and researchers that will lead to guidance and support for professionals around: 

  • How we design products and communications for older people that resonate with the way they live their lives.
  • How professionals can structure conversations with clients that are more relevant to the risks and aims they have.
  • How advisers can give advice to their clients’ whole family as they grow older and their plans become more entwined with the needs of their family.

Anyone wishing to be part of the Insuring Futures working group should email Sophia Kleanthous, campaigns adviser at the CII – sophia.kleanthos@cii.co.uk.