Last week, CNA, Aon plc and the Women’s Insurance Networking Group (WING) collectively sponsored the 2015 Voices Live Chicago Event supporting the growing role of women in insurance technology.

The event allowed both women and men at the forefront of the technology and insurance industry “to come together and discuss the important issue of promoting diversity and inclusion within this space,” said Margaret Resce Milkint, a managing partner for The Jacobson Group, noting that in spite of strides being made within other areas of the insurance industry, men continue to outpace women among technology professionals.

Milkint and David Mendelsohn, partner of DLA Piper, launched WING in 2011, seeking to provide a platform for women in the industry to find support and grow. The networking group today includes more than 500 of the insurance industry’s female leaders and enlightened males nationwide, according to presentation slides from last week’s event.

The event, organized by WING, the Illinois Technology Foundation (ITF) and Global Tech Women, featured a diverse, multigenerational panel followed by a roundtable discussion, during which the panelists shared inspirational stories about personal missions to engage women in technology. Moderated by Milkint and Mendelsohn, participants included: Arti Arora, director, Knowledge Sharing, Aon; Marisa Cabrera, IT Rotational Program Associate, CNA; Deanne Hettich, vice president, Practice Leadership, Aon; Jeff Hughes, vice president, Information Technology, CNA.

In a statement about the event, Sarah Pang, senior vice president, Corporate Communications and Community Involvement, CNA said: “Technology professionals are in demand and recruiting women into the insurance industry continues to be of the upmost importance,” adding that as the technology industry continually evolves, bringing new, diverse talent to CNA has become a growing focus.

Aon’s Nichole Barnes Marshall, global head of Diversity and Inclusion, called the event “empowering.” Noting that fewer women are joining the technology workforce, she said that “We are thrilled to be a part of such an empowering event,” said at Aon. “With fewer women joining the tech workforce, she said such events are needed “to inspire women to get involved and find new avenues to engage their professional expertise.”

While the Chicago event featured discussions of strategies to further engage women in the technology field, the focus of an event in Philadelphia next week will be the large gap between men and women in all types of insurance leadership positions—in the C-Suite, on the board of directors, and functional officer positions.

The “Women in Insurance” symposium is being presented by Academy of Risk Management and Insurance at Saint Joseph’s University on Mar. 27, expands thinking on the topic beyond some groundbreaking industry-specific research published by the University in 2012.

A full agenda and registration information for the Saint Joseph’s University “Women in Insurance” symposium are available here.

Michael Angelina, executive director of Saint Joseph’s Academy of Risk Management and Insurance, presented the research results at the IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference in June 2013, and reported on them for Carrier Management a few months later. Among the key findings from the study analyzing 100 U.S. insurers was that women held only 6 percent of top executive spots–15 of 250 CEO, CFO or COO roles–across all industry segments.(See related articles, Saint Joseph’s University Research Shines Light on Gender Diversity in Insurance and P/C Carriers Lag Life Insurers, Brokers on Gender Diversity.)

Angelina, together with Erin Hamrick, a partner for Sterling James, and Patricia Henry, executive vice president and global government affairs officer for ACE Group, will discuss current data and changing behaviors at the symposium next week.

Other speakers, offering views from an underwriter’s perspective, include Sabrina Hart, executive vice president, Zurich Insurance Group, Kelly O’Leary, senior vice president, Chubb Insurance, Kathleen Reardon, CEO, Hamilton Re, and Carole M. Ferrero, president and global chief underwriting officer, Gen Re.

Keynoters are Laura Hay, a partner and Insurance practice leader for KPMG, and Deb Aldredge, chief administrative officer for Farmers Insurance.

A full agenda and registration information for the Saint Joseph’s University “Women in Insurance” symposium are available here.

To learn more about the Voices Live Chicago event, view the presentation slide deck or follow WING on LinkedIn

To learn more about filling the technology skills gap in the insurance industry, see related articles, “The Race to Secure High Impact Analytics Talent” by Margaret Resce Milkint and “Addressing the STEM Skills Gap” by Dax Craig and Linda P. Rosen.

Sources: WING, Aon, CNA, Saint Joseph’s University

Topics InsurTech Tech Leadership Education Market Universities Aon