’I would like to see more female leaders,’ says chief evangelist
Guidewire chief evangelist Laura Drabik has said that she is committed to helping more women take up senior roles in the insurtech sector.
Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times at the Guidewire Connections conference in November, Drabik said that it was important for there to be ”strong female leadership” in the industry and that representation needed to be improved.
This came after figures revealed that the percentage of female staffers in the financial and insurance activities sector had dropped year-on-year.
An analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data by law firm Kingsley Napley LLP earlier this year (15 August 2023) revealed that women made up 42.7% of staff in the sector in Q2 2023, a reduction of 1.6 percentage points compared to Q2 2022’s result.
Drabik felt that women were “self-selecting” out of technology or engineering roles.
”I don’t understand that,” she added.
“Maybe it’s because they’re not seeing people like them represented in those classes, or in those careers.
”We have to change that, so we need to educate and show these younger cohorts that they’re represented in leadership roles and that there are career paths.”
Drabik also highlighted that flexibility in working patterns was also an issue for mothers.
In November, KPMG insurance partner Huw Evans highlighted the insurance industry had a “particular problem with women not returning to the sector after they have children”.
And Crawford and Company’s UK and Ireland president Lisa Bartlett felt the problem came from a “legacy of presenteeism culture” as employees often need to be in the office nine to five, which “doesn’t naturally fit around child caring responsibilities”.
“Until we address things for women who are working mothers, females will not see themselves there,” Drabik added.
“I would like to see more female leaders and we do look at investing in female leaders.”
Drabik made the comments as she revealed that Guidewire’s insurtech programme Vanguards was set to go global after launching two years ago.
The initiative incubates new insurtechs and provides a channel for connecting P&C insurers with technology innovators.
Drabik said six firms graduated from the programme last year.
“We are invested in several of them,” she added.
“We are going to be gearing up our mentoring, keeping quarterly pitch days and we are also going to go global.”
Interested in all things insurance technology and insurtech.
Writer of the monthly TechTalk section of the magazine and backchat. When not writing can be found doing yoga, at some kind of dance workshop, singing, globetrotting, or baking – not in any specific order.View full Profile