Kim Beach is the Founder and CEO at InsureWomen, an insurance company with a mission to empower women in the insurance buying process to feel confident, educated and treated with the respect and attention they deserve. Kim was interviewed by Michael Fiedel, a Managing Director at InsurTech Ohio and Co-Founder at PolicyFly, Inc.
Kim, what compelled you to shift into a career in insurance?
“I think it’s incredibly interesting, even powerful, that a lot of people often fall into insurance from very different perspectives. I was in the television industry at the end of my career. Well, it wasn't really the end of my career there, but toward the end I was like, ‘Ok, I don't want things to end like this’. I am a little older, and my husband has been a lifelong life insurance guy, so he invited me to work with him.
I looked into the opportunity and could see the flexibility and ownership it offered. One of the things that we really don't talk about in the insurance business is it's a must-have product (for the P&C business). People have to buy insurance. When I joined my husband, my focus was going to be to sell long term care insurance, but then, we found out that I could start a from-scratch insurance agency. I was up for the challenge because my husband's been a in the business so long and knew more than I did, I knew I could count on his support. And since there’s not a lot of recurring revenue in life insurance, we thought this would be a great niche for me to go into. I've been in my community a long time, have been involved with many organizations and know a lot of people. I thought it was important to build something and really serve the people in my community.”
As a woman entering into insurance, how did you feel as you immersed yourself into a male-dominated industry?
“It's interesting because I was by myself starting this agency, and this, as you know, is still a very male-dominated industry. It’s hard because as a woman, you feel like you're on the outside looking in. It really takes an effort to engage with some of the men and also reach out to women in the industry to get some idea of what other people are struggling with and how they are solving these problems..
What I found with women in the industry was they were super supportive of other women, and I absolutely love that. I started reaching out to other female agents with questions and seeking advice. Everybody was very supportive, but it was scary making myself vulnerable and asking for help is never easy. I found the people in this industry are incredibly responsive and truly care about their clients as well as their colleagues.”
Why do you think it has taken so long for insurance to move the needle on empowering women?
“There's not a lot of female leadership. I do think that is changing, but it's very different when you look at insurance from a corporate perspective, and then you look at it from an agency perspective because there are more women that have gotten into the agency side of things. At the corporate level, looking at senior leadership in particular, women still comprise a small percentage. But there is a growing contingent of women out there who are trying to change that, which is uplifting to see. It's interesting to me because during COVID, I would contend that women in the business (on the agency side) found their voice. There's a lot more communication and consensus among these women in insurance, and this has really come to light in the last two years.
I definitely see the tide turning for women and with so much new technology coming into play, outsiders have figured out there's a lot of money to be made in this industry. In addition, the talent growth is exceptional and the broadening skill sets that the insurtech movement is bringing offers even more excitement.”
Do you feel like there is a commensurate amount of momentum towards diversity, or is there a strong subset of this conversation that is just lip service?
“I really do think people care. Companies are now hosting events for women. Liberty Mutual and Safeco’s Mid-Atlantic region did a two-day event for women last year. Westfield Insurance also hosted a women-focused insurance event last year.. I know at the Big I’s Elevate Conference, they did a whole breakout on women in insurance. Again, with the ability to communicate now, nobody can hide, and I think women are demanding they be heard and get a place at the table.”
What can you and other female leaders in the insurance industry do to help even more women find great opportunities?
“Mentorship. How do I mentor somebody? Well, go on LinkedIn and start connecting with other women and see who needs help. I have people reach out to me all the time, but that's because of InsureWomen. You can also get involved in Gamma Iota Sigma, a fraternity for insurance majors at colleges. These are people that would love to be mentored by experts in their communities. Mentorship will also be a focus of InsureWomen, which launched at the beginning of this month. It’s a community of female agents and other stakeholders in the industry who care about women buying insurance and women selling insurance. Getting more women into the business, through these inspiring women, is the ultimate goal.”
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