Crawford® Highlights Female Leaders during International Women’s Day
Today and for the rest of the week, Crawford & Company® celebrates the careers of its female employees worldwide in conjunction with International Women’s Day. This day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN day for women’s rights and world peace.
We begin a four-day series that highlights several Crawford female employees who have overcome challenges and found success as co-workers, leaders, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. These highly accomplished women share their insights with Claims World readers about a wide range of subjects that include why they chose a career in the male-dominated insurance industry, the importance of networking, setting examples for their children, and whether gender affected their career choice.
On Friday, the series ends with a narrative from a company leader who reveals what it’s like living in a country where both women and men receive paid parental leave, and also where Crawford‘s female employees outnumber its males.
Read along today through Friday but first, meet Crawford’s featured leaders:
Beverly Trice, vice president, Catastrophe (CAT) Operations, Crawford
Beverly began her career with Crawford in 1979 in Mobile, AL. When Crawford moved its catastrophe headquarters to Atlanta in 1984, Beverly was one of three chosen to relocate as part of the ‘new’ CAT Group. She is now based in the Atlanta Support Center and oversees all CAT operations, which includes oversight of approximately 4,200 temporary, seasonal CAT employees. Throughout the years, she has hired a number of Crawford’s outstanding women, including Bonnie Sawdey, senior vice president and chief people officer.
Rianne Baumann, vice president, Global Markets, and director liability & CAR, Crawford
Rianne works in the Rotterdam office in the Netherlands. She has been a Crawford employee for six years and recently joined the Global Markets team. Rianne was also the driving force behind the launch of Crawford’s European Financial Lines Claims Service.
Angela Ferrante, senior vice president, Operations, Garden City Group℠, (GCG®) LLC
Angela is based in Lake Success, New York, and has spent the past nine years at GCG® leading some of the most historic class action administrations of all time. She is an active leader in the legal administration community and has been profiled in several world-renowned publications.
Heather Matthews, senior vice president, National Claims Management Center, Crawford
Heather, a Crawford employee since 2004, is based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and is responsible for multiple operating divisions and more than 250 clients. She has participated in an international mentoring program and is currently developing a leadership mentoring program for women.
Maggie Cowing, UK technical director of Major & Complex Loss, Crawford Global Technical Services®
Maggie joined Crawford after the 2014 acquisition of GAB Robins and is based in London, UK. She has considerable adjusting experience and expertise in all aspects of major and complex property and business interruption losses across a wide range of industry sectors. This includes retail, leisure, motor trade, manufacturing, technology, food processing, financial institutions, healthcare, education and local authorities.
Erica Fichter, senior vice president, Medical Management, Broadspire®
A Broadspire employee for 20 years Erica is based out of Sunrise, FL, and oversees more than 500 clinical and support professionals throughout the United States. Daily, she mentors women in Broadspire, many of whom have moved up within the organization to higher levels or responsibility.
Charlotte von Krogh, Nordic regional director, Crawford
Based in Oslo, Norway, Charlotte is responsible for Crawford’s operations in the Nordic countries. She began her Crawford career as Norwegian finance manager. In 1999, she was promoted to country manager and was responsible for the further development of the Norwegian business. In 2007, she was promoted to CEO for Continental Europe before returning to Norway to take up her current position.
How do you think the insurance industry treats women?
Beverly: “We’ve come a long way baby! When I began my career with Crawford, there were very few women (if any) in leadership roles in the insurance industry. It’s been a long road, but I’m so proud to see my friends, colleagues and females in general beginning to ‘break the glass ceiling’ in our industry and finally disrupt the good-ol’-boy network.”
Rianne: “It’s difficult to say without some empirical evidence about the insurance industry itself. I know anecdotally that there are fewer women in leadership positions across the majority of business and industry and although I haven’t experienced any problems myself, I’m sure there are instances of women finding their opportunities are limited because of an unconscious bias.”
Heather: “I believe that the insurance industry treats women fairly and with respect, and we are seeing a significant increase in women in highly influential roles in Canada. Historically there was always a dominance of women in insurance but not in senior roles, and that is now changing.”
Maggie: “The insurance industry is much better than it used to be as there are more female executives. But sadly, it still tends to be the case that women work in support, administration and office-based roles rather than in leadership positions.”
Is it a better or worse place to work than other sectors?
Maggie: “The insurance industry is still more male-dominated than other professions such as medicine, publishing, media, education and retail. However, along with the rest of the financial sector, there is probably a better gender balance than in heavy industry, manufacturing, power etc.Claims adjusting, when compared with other professions associated with insurance such as law, forensic science, accounting and surveying, is still highly male dominated although it is good to see that the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters in the UK is now working to redress the balance.”
What has changed to make the insurance industry more attractive to women? What still needs to change to make the insurance industry more attractive to women?
Rianne: “The high level of regulatory compliance combined with expectations regarding education (Crawford’s employees need to be increasingly well-qualified these days) has opened the door further for women. Women are equally talented and as well-educated as their male counterparts; and this has strengthened their position, with businesses shedding their unconscious biases and appointing people entirely on merit.”
On International Women’s Day, people around the globe will celebrate the achievements of women. How will you do that at Crawford?
Maggie: “I am proud to be on the panel at the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters Women in CILA project, as part of the overall Diversity and Inclusion initiative within our Institute. I will speak at the inaugural Women in CILA event to be held at Lloyd’s of London on International Women’s Day.”
Rianne: “Crawford Netherlands employs a lot of talented and successful women and we’ve been working hard for some time to open up the company to a younger, more diverse workforce. We recently did a photoshoot to profile the team with women and men involved. We’ll be using this to promote Crawford as a business that’s progressive and where equality is a cornerstone of our organization.”
Check back tomorrow to read what some of our featured female leaders say about the importance of networking and unique characteristics women should develop to succeed in business.