Among mutual and cooperative insurers, about one in five board members are women.

Research from the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) shows that, on average, women account for 17.8% of board members in the insurance industry. Among mutual and cooperative insurers, however, this percentage is 20.6%.

In a report released yesterday, ICMIF notes that this represents a significant increase for the mutual and cooperative insurance sector over the last decade, with the average female representation on boards of directors up from just 11% in 2005. The ICMIF says about 85% of its member companies had at least one woman director on their board in 2015 while 48% had three or more female directors, which is higher than the insurance industry average of 17%.

27% of senior executives at ICMIF firms were women

As for the number of women who hold chief executive and senior management positions, the report reveals that almost 27% of senior executives at ICMIF firms were women, while 18% were led by a woman CEO in 2015; in 2015, just 7% reported having female CEOs.

“The cooperative and mutual insurance sector has long known what the rest of the insurance industry has been slow to realise: that the best boards for insurance companies are more diverse boards, and that the most effective senior management teams are the more diverse management teams," comments ICMIF Chief Executive Shaun Tarbuck.