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How we can do more to champion Women in Protection

22/05/2024

Hannah Baker, Protection Consultant

After attending the 2024 Women in Protection conference, it’s got me thinking about what the industry does well for women and where we can improve.

Why does it matter

Our recent Wealth and Wellbeing research shows that 38% of women have received financial advice compared to almost half of men who have1 On top of this, 9% fewer women have Income Protection compared to men, and 7% fewer women have Critical Illness Cover compared to men1. Having been in the industry for nearly two decades, I know that this is not a new picture but, unfortunately, it’s not one that’s dramatically improving either. 

I speak to advisers every day and it still surprises me how often I’m asked if we can cover women who are pregnant (yes), women while they’re on maternity leave (yes) and stay at home parents (yes). If those of us in the industry make assumptions about the availability of cover in these circumstances, you can bet that clients will be thinking it too. 

What can we do to as an industry to help?

Firstly, let’s think about women’s knowledge of protection. Approximately half of women aged 18-34 say that their knowledge of Income Protection is limited and this increases to 56% when discussing Critical Illness Cover1. Now, some of this will come from fewer women having advice, however, we also need to consider whether we’re truly engaging with this market in a meaningful and impactful way. Many of us will regularly talk about 1 in 2 of us suffering from cancer in our lives but how often do we discuss that breast cancer is the most claimed for condition on Critical Illness policies? 

Our recent Wealth and Wellbeing research shows that 27% of women aged 18-34 worry about having to take time off work due to mental health issues1. It’s scary to think that more than 1.8 million people are on the waiting list for mental health services through the NHS2.Support services offered by providers can speed up the process of women getting treatment and is often offered from day 1 of their policy.

14% of women are worried about their child getting seriously ill or injured1 and it can be a difficult and emotional issue, that certainly isn’t only one for women, but it’s something that women disproportionately worry about. There’s an opportunity here to start the conversation by highlighting the support services I mentioned above or other product benefits like parent and child cover and enhanced children’s cover which could allay some of these worries. It feels as though this would be much more engaging to discuss, making the conversation more personal and relevant to women. 

I still regularly hear about couples dismissing the need for protection and just focussing on the ‘main earner’. This often means that women are more exposed financially in the event of ill health. Income protection can offer additional support for homemakers if they are unable to prepare a meal or do basic housework which could help with things such as additional support to run the household or childcare. 

27% of women aged 18-34 worry about having to take time off work due to mental health issues, 27% of women over the age of 55 are worried about female related cancers 

View more stats to power your protection conversations with women 

What can we do as individuals?

Be the change that you want to see. The world of financial services can still appear to be very male dominated so here are some tips to get you started… 

1. Attend the Women in Protection conference

I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the WIP conference for the last 3 years and was very proud to be Highly Commended in BDM of the Year category in 2022. It’s a fantastic event and I really enjoyed attending this year. The day isn’t purely about CPD hours and provider’s newest features, it focusses on networking and, bringing female advisers and women’s insurance needs to the forefront. Discussions are really varied with this year’s topics focussing on subjects such as empowering change within you, the importance of value-added services to women, insights on the protection gap and adapting our products to gender needs. If you haven’t been before, I would really recommend it. Everyone is welcome, the event isn’t just for women and it’s one way that you can get involved to drive change forward. 

2. Support and develop talent

For those of you who run a business, have you got a plan to develop your female talent to ensure a long serving career in the industry? Women often find it hard to ‘put themselves out there’ but being an ally to these women can have a huge impact for those who are waiting in the wings. 

3. Join Diversity and Inclusion groups or initiatives

I’m proud to be part of a company that is championing women across the business. I’m part of the LV= Diversity and Inclusion network for gender issues (called Balance) and we’ve delivered some great outcomes since starting the network. Last year our core focus area was to ensure that women felt truly supported through the menopause. As part of the collaboration between our people team and the network, we run monthly drop-in sessions for women wanting to discuss their symptoms and feelings, and training has been rolled out to all leaders on the impact of menopause within their team. As well as continuing to talk about the menopause, our 2024 goal is to bring more prominence to parental leave and to ensure that we’re giving our support, and a little bit of the green heart treatment, to a hectic and often nerve-wracking time.

Whatever you do, whether big or small, you will be helping the industry empower women. And together, we can make a positive change to champion inclusion across the industry. 

Sources:

LV= Wealth and Wellbeing survey , March 2024 and LV= Research Nov/Dec 2023. Both surveys of 4.000 UK nationally representative adults, conducted by Opinium

NHS providers 27 September 2023

 

Flexible Protection Plan

The LV= Flexible Protection Plan provides financial, emotional and practical support including features designed with women in mind.

Learn more about our menu plan 

Reaching Resilience

Did you know 38% of women have received financial advice compared to almost half of men who have?1

Read our Reaching Resilience report

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