Rothbury Insurance Broker Maria Jamison discusses diversity, what the insurance industry is doing to encourage women in the industry and the #metoo campaign.
What’s it like being a female adviser in the insurance industry?
In my experience there’s not a lot of focus on whether you’re a male or female broker. What I’ve found is people are more concerned about whether they’re working with someone who knows what they’re talking about rather than what gender you are.
Do you think there’s enough focus in the industry on
increasing gender diversity?
I think there are more female insurance brokers in the industry than ever before, so it’s probably heading in the right direction. It would be good to see more women in management roles though.
Insurance has always been a pretty male-dominated industry, but more women are entering the industry. Why do you think this is?
There are probably a few reasons for this; young women are not afraid to measure themselves against their male counterparts and men in general know women are equally capable of doing the same job as them.
I also think it’s generally accepted that women bring different aspects to the industry and that’s a good thing.
The industry has also been focusing on promoting insurance as a viable and rewarding career path.
There’s a lot of attention in the media about the #metoo and Time’s Up campaigns, as well as numerous local
sexual harassment stories in the workplace. How do you think the insurance industry fares on this?
I think it can happen anywhere though, but most companies today have a zero-tolerance policy (on any sort of harassment).
So, I hope this is empowering women to come forward and speak up if they feel they’re being unfairly treated, discriminated against or subjected to any form of sexual harassment.
Can you discuss a client experience where being a woman has helped you with an application, claim or challenging situation?
I have quite a few female clients and in all honesty, I think women sometimes prefer to deal with women because they feel more comfortable sharing personal information. There’s also a certain level of empathy and understanding intrinsically between women.
What advice would you give a young woman wanting to become an insurance broker?
I say go for it! Most women have a natural ability to build relationships with those around them. This is absolutely the most important part of being an insurance broker.
Most people can learn the technical aspects of insurance but being able to build relationships, have empathy for people and want to help them, is what makes a great insurance broker, and those are qualities many women have.
What advice would you give the younger you?
Have the confidence to back yourself and don’t ever doubt your own ability. Find someone who can be a mentor to you and learn as much as you can from them.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and question things. Be generous and kind when dealing with other people, and most of all believe in yourself.
Do you think there is enough focus on career development and professional growth for women in the insurance sector?
I have found if you are willing to develop and grow your career there are a lot of opportunities and support out there. I’m fortunate that Rothbury is especiallysupportive in this area – you just need to put your handup for the opportunity.