Women on the Rise - Changing the Landscape of the Insurance Market

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Women on the Rise - Changing the Landscape of the Insurance Market


Article by Marisa Grundling, lecturer in the School of Financial Planning and Insurance


In light of National Women’s Day celebrated on the 9th of August, we focus on the role that women play, particularly in the insurance market.

Women play multiple roles in society.  Women are home makers, mothers, employees and employers.  Women are also at the forefront of economic development in many markets, representing not only an engine for growth but for insurers, but also a high-potential salesforce since women have the skills to develop long-term client relationships.

In a recent publication called SHEforSHIELD1, some very interesting facts about women are noted.  Jin-Yong Cai, the IFC Executive Vice President and CEO has said the following: “Women in emerging economies are beginning to enjoy rising incomes and purchasing power.  Their risk-mitigation needs, accordingly, are growing.”  They estimate that by 2030, the insurance industry is expected to earn up to $1.7 trillion from women alone. 

The most noteworthy insights that they shared as pertaining to emerging market economies like South Africa, is that a re-balancing is taking place where half of the total world market of women will be coming from emerging markets.  This is due to the fact that women are gaining momentum with increased levels of education, income and improved socio-economic status.  In line with this momentum and improved knowledge, their understanding and need for protection from risks requires increased insurance cover. 

A study by Borges2 noted that women are willing to invest up to 90% of their income into their households.  This investment is driven by the different life cycles women find themselves in at a specific point in time.  The most significant of these changes are marriage, entering the workforce, buying assets, having children and retirement. 

Understanding the full potential of the women’s insurance market will therefore produce an impact far beyond the insurers’ bottom line. Women’s multidimensional roles in our communities make them an exceptional channel for positive social and economic progress.

In South Africa, we have already made some strides for insurance needs specific to women, but so much more can be done that will benefit not only women, but the insurance industry as a whole.  

As we celebrate women and applaud them for the tremendous sacrifices they have made, we are also hopeful for a better future for women in South Africa, and particularly in the insurance industry. By recognising the immense contribution of women to our societies and the impact they can have, we can build a more inclusive economy and ensure adequate protection for women.



1. IFC, “SHEforSHIELD”. (2015)

2. Phil Borges, “Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World”. (2007)


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06 Aug 2020