Sedgwick’s director of client operational delivery feels ’that women can think more strategically in terms of problem solving when it comes to managing a claim’

On International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 - one year ago in March - loss adjusting business Sedgwick launched its Women Colleague Resource Group (CRG) as part of its overarching diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy.

This was in reaction to the lack of female loss adjusting professionals - for example, statistics from the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters, published in 2015, revealed that only 4% of loss adjusting staff at this time were women.

Although gender balance across loss adjusting has improved over the last eight years - Woodgate and Clark noted in April 2021, for example, that 10% of its loss adjusters were female - strategies like Sedgwick’s remain important to continue this upwards trajectory.

Its Women CRG aims to help create a sense of belonging for female employees at Sedgwick and foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that aligns with the organisation’s principles, values, goals and business practices.

The group also strives to support members in enhancing their professional development skills, build effective networks and relationships both internally and externally, as well as liaise with communities and philanthropic organisations that share similar ambitions.

On the Women CRG’s one-year anniversary, its co-chair and Sedgwick’s director of client operational delivery, Angela Kelly, tells Insurance Times: “Sedgwick recognises the abilities of women in terms of problem solving and bringing in new technology, which is something we have been heavily involved in.

Angela Kelly_Sedgwick

Angela Kelly 

“In loss adjusting, [gender balance] is absolutely getting better. 

“We’re also doing a lot of promotion in terms of more traditional, male focused areas like construction and engineering. We actively encourage more women to get into these types of sectors, which are predominantly male dominated.”

As an example of this, Sedgwick is seeing improvements in gender diversity through its graduate scheme, which first launched in September 2020. Within the programme’s last cohort, eight of the 13 participants were female.

Historically, more women have been employed in job roles centred around providing care services, Kelly adds.

She thinks these are great transferable skills for an insurance career. ”We have [employed] women that have moved roles from nursing, catering, or carers who want a change and [can] effectively [hold] the hands of customers through a difficult claims process.”

Value of soft skills

Kelly believes that more women are joining the loss adjusting sector and that there is a value to the soft or non-technical skills that these candidates can bring.

She says: “I do think that women can think more strategically in terms of problem solving when it comes to managing a claim with all the stakeholders involved.

”Communication is key when you have all the stakeholders involved. Understanding customers’ needs as well.

”There needs to be the right balance and women can help - that whole piece around stakeholder management, communication and putting themselves in the customers’ shoes comes naturally [to women].”

Although it is good news that more women are becoming loss adjusters, the next challenge is retaining them. To help with this, Kelly advocates flexible working.

She adds: “It is absolutely vital having that flexibility – to be able to change your days and condense your hours.

”The Women CRG means that we absolutely want to retain women and then grow within the industry. We know that having that diverse colleague group is important and [we] continue to support them on things like professional development.”

In line with Kelly’s view, Sedgwick launched its flexible working policy - Flexible First - in the middle of 2022. The firm explained that this initiative ”encourages employees to work in a way that allows them to be their best self, by giving everyone more choice about how, when and where they work”.

Sedgwick will be launching its Early Careers CRG at the end of March - this will operate alongside its existing Women CRG.