Why gender equality matters for insurance

There is strong evidence that gender equality boosts economic potential. Further, Swiss Re Institute estimates that a 26% increase in global GDP in a scenario of labour market gender parity would yield an additional USD 2.1 trillion in global insurance premiums by 2029. We also model that gender equality would reduce existing health protection gaps in Asia by 11%.

By focusing on solutions to achieve gender parity, insurers and reinsurers can address a key driver of the widening protection gaps facing individuals, families and societies.
Marianne Gilchrist, Head Global & South Asia, Hong Kong, Swiss Re

Globally, women still earn about 20% less than men1

The accumulated effects of shorter careers and lower earnings result in higher retirement saving gaps for women. Coupled with their higher life expectancy, women are also more vulnerable to old-aged poverty.

Increasing recognition of gender equality contributes to improving societal resilience

The issue of gender equality is attracting growing attention from policymakers worldwide. They increasingly recognise the benefits of equality to society in terms of poverty alleviation, inclusive growth, sustainable development and economic resilience. Gender equality is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal2, and G7 policymakers have made combatting gender inequality an agenda priority3. Resilience and sustainability are core values of the re/insurance industry, but few research efforts have made links to the potential business opportunities.

Additional premium for the insurance industry

Swiss Re Institute estimates that gender equality could bring an additional USD 2.1 trillion in insurance premium by 2029. It could also reduce the health protection gap in 12 Asian markets by 11% under a gender parity labour market scenario.

Challenges and opportunities for insurers on the road to gender equality

Insurers need to prepare for reforms and regulations that are increasingly being put in place to advance gender equality. Importantly, insurers need to recognise gender differences in preferences, and understand what solutions to offer how and where. Financial literacy and inclusion are also important. Studies shows that financial inclusion drive higher insurance demand4. To this end, insurers can help more female consumers improve their understanding of the benefit of insurance and the specifics of risk protection products.

A good starting point would be to target insurance products at women in ways that resonate with their preferences and behaviours, and that reflect women's ever-expanding role in financial decision making around the world.
Marianne Gilchrist, Head Global & South Asia, Hong Kong, Swiss Re

References

[1] Global Wage Report 2018/19: What lies behind gender pay gaps, International Labour Organization, January 2019.

[2] Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, United Nations, 2015, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

[3] Declaration on gender equality, G7 Ministers, 10 May 2019, https://www.elysee.fr/admin/upload/default/0001/05/2d0396362dbe1fb85faccb8e1f5dbefce5a0b09e.pdf

[4] E. Luciano and M. Rossi, Life Insurance Demand and Financial Inclusion: evidence from Italian households, Carlo Alberto Notebooks, 2014, http://international-pension-workshop.com/papers-pdf/Rossi.pdf

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