6th February 2018 marks 100 years of the Representation of the People Act 1918, a legislation which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the very first time, and paved the way for women striving for equality ever since. Significant change can be seen since this legislation, especially in the 2017 general election when more than 200 female MPs were elected to House of Commons for the first time, winning 208 out of 650 seats.
The position of women in the insurance industry has also changed dramatically as well during this time, positively moving women towards a position of recognition, and equality.
In the first half of the 19th Century, the insurance office was exclusively a male dominated workplace. Women were only allowed into the office if their husbands had passed away and they were taking on the family business, however, accounts of these are minimal. The earliest known female agent to work within the insurance office was Ms Barnes, who was appointed in 1822 to take over her late husband’s business. Following this, the insurance office became ‘feminised’, as women were employed exclusively in clerical roles. In 1871, the first female clerks were hired at The Prudential, providing ‘Industrial Insurance’ (life insurance) during the Industrial Revolution. This opened women’s entry into the insurance industry.
However, women working as clerks enabled other males to easily ‘climb the insurance ladder’ whilst maintaining a cheaper female labour force. Not only were the employment limitations taking its toll on the female work force; they also had the challenge of Victorian notion of gender roles. The ideal surrounding women was that they should remain at home, providing for their husbands and children. Any kind of employment was carried out within the home, therefore making office work ‘unfeminine’.
Many attitudes began to change during the First World War (1914-18), with the majority of young males being enrolled into the army, women were relied upon to preserve the workforce at home. This experience encouraged the suffragettes to fight for equal rights, including the right to vote. This consequently lead to the Representation of the People’s Act in 1918, after the war had ended, and women continued to integrate themselves into the insurance industry. The CII bar on women sitting exams at the CII was lifted in 1919, and the first female fellow of the CII was appointed in 1921.
Lloyd’s of London was the final barrier that women had to overcome in the insurance industry. Prior to 1970, women were not permitted to underwriting memberships and it wasn’t until 1973 that women were permitted to work in the underwriting room. Liliana Archibald was the first female broker to be appointed by Lloyd’s. She then became Lloyd’s first female ‘Name’ (this term was used to describe rich individuals who backed policies written at Lloyd’s with all of their personal wealth and took on unlimited liability).
The Sex Discrimination Act was passed in 1975, which protected people from discrimination on the grounds of sex or marital status. Margaret Thatcher also became the UK’s first female prime minister in 1979.
The 2000s marked a huge change in women’s position in the insurance industry. Lillian Boyle was appointed the first female CII president in 2001, and was succeeded by Amanda Blanc in 2012. Sian Fisher became the first female CEO for the CII as well in 2016.
Lloyd’s of London also appointed Inga Beale as their first female CEO in their 328-year history. A third of Lloyd’s workforce are now female. Beale has spoken about creating diversity in the industry, stating: “What you do is, you de-genderise every statement you make. You’re in a business environment; you de-gender everything. You never say he or she”. Beale has been heavily involved with the Inclusion@Lloyds initiative, and has launched the Pride@Lloyds, which is an internal LGBT resource group.
Despite these successes, there is still a long way to go before true equality is achieved. Lloyd’s of London is currently two-thirds male, 90% white and 90% British, and Beale has stated her ideas and initiatives to tackle this. The gender pay gap is also another major issue, which has recently been raised by major corporations such as the BBC, with women earning around 76 to 80 per cent of what their male colleagues make, according to a 2017 survey by Glassdoor. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report, this gap would not be closed for another 170 years.
YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE AT RISK IF YOU DO NOT CONSIDER YOUR
CURRENT LIMITS OF COVER UNDER YOUR LIABILITY INSURANCES
You may already be aware that the Lord Chancellor recently announced that the Discount Rate was reducing from +2.5% to -0.75% for personal injury awards.
This is one of the most significant changes to the insurance industry in recent times and it will have an immediate effect on the amount of compensation that is paid to seriously injured individuals.
We have created an easy-to-read guide, please take the time to read this, as it is important that you fully understand the implications of this change and how it could potentially affect your business.
We strongly advise that you should immediately review the cover limits under both your employers’ and public liability policies. Please speak to your usual contact at Miles Smith if you want to increase these, or if you require further advice. Alternatively you can call us on 020 7977 4800.
In the UK businesses can be affected by various perils, such as flooding and fires, that could stop your business from operating for a period. Property insurance often protects your business’s buildings/structure, office equipment, possessions and cash, however it doesn’t account for the loss of income that you may incur as a result of not being able to run your business for a sustained period of time.
What is business interruption insurance?
The Association of British Insurers defines business interruption insurance as,
“Business interruption insurance covers you for loss of income during periods when you cannot carry out business as usual due to an unexpected event.
Business interruption insurance aims to put your business back in the same trading position it was in before the event occurred.”
What indemnity period should businesses purchase?
Many businesses underestimate their requirement for business interruption insurance. 67% of businesses are insured for 12 months or less, however most businesses require at least 18 or 24 months of cover, if not more.
When considering the appropriate indemnity period under a business interruption policy, you firstly need to understand the basis of cover that you require. A business interruption policy aims to replace the lost income and/or profit which would have been achieved if the interruption to the business had not happened, not loss of sales, as some clients may believe. Business interruption insurance will also help businesses to continue to trade after a material damage claim.
Mike Cherry, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman said,
“It is vital small businesses aren’t left in the lurch when the worst happens. We would encourage all small firms to make sure their current insurance arrangements offer suitable protection, to mitigate the risks of business failure or constricted cash flow resulting from unexpected costs.”
Under insurance can occur due to a misunderstanding of the basis of measuring revenue or gross profit as defined in the policy. The calculation is not the same as the accountancy convention. The definitions in the policy are crucial for setting the sum Insured.
It is also a common error to be over optimistic about the time it will take the business to get back to the trading positon that it enjoyed immediately prior to the loss. Often, because of regulatory and other administrative constraints, 24 months is likely to be the minimum period for a business to fully recover its trading level. Each case however needs to be considered on its individual merits.
HAPPY EASTER FROM ALL AT MILES SMITH!
This Easter Miles Smith have partnered with FareShare a UK based charity who save good food, destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people.
To find out more about the work FareShare do, follow this link http://www.fareshare.org.uk
Please feel free to download this as a PDF