"Respecting people's individuality opens the door to greater creativity" IWD 2021

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 we hear why our Commercial Lines Director, Carolyn Callan, Chooses To Challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.

"I’m Carolyn Callan and I joined Covéa Insurance as Head of SME & Schemes in November 2017 - my first foray in to the world of the insurer having spent the previous 15 years on the broking side of the fence.  I knew of Covéa as I had previously worked at Swinton (its sister company at the time) and whilst I had heard a lot of positive comments about the culture and the people, I was hugely impressed to find that it was really was like that...it wasn’t just on the surface...it flows right through the organisation.  

At the time I joined Covéa, there was only one female director on the Executive team.  In November 2018, after 12 months with Covéa, I applied for the role of Commercial Lines Director and in May 2019, I became the second female director.  Today, there are three of us...a big step change in a short space of time but still only a 1/3 of the Executive team and that’s fairly representative of the insurance industry as a whole...women in insurance are still in the minority. 

Since I started in insurance in 2002, much progress has been made but there is so much more to do.   

We are extremely passionate about achieving gender balance at all levels across our business, whether it’s championing opportunities for women in leadership roles, signing up for the Women In Finance Charter, supporting the Stemettes and “TechSheCan” charters or attracting more females in to our entry-level apprentice and trainee roles to develop and grow the leaders of the future. 

At Covéa, we recognise that our strength as an organisation lies in the diversity of our people and creating an environment where everyone can thrive, embrace their individuality regardless of gender or any other forms of diversity and realise their true potential. 

Respecting people's individuality opens the door to greater creativity and collaboration and empowers our people to share ideas and provide feedback more openly, all of which can only help to improve our employee engagement, customer service, product development and ultimately, the success of our business.  Also, how can we ever expect to understand and connect with our customers, if our employees do not reflect and represent the customers that we exist to serve?  

So, yes...women have come along way and yes...we’re taking this seriously at Covéa and yes...we’ve made significant progress even in the short time I’ve been with the business, but there’s no room for complacency.  I read something today that really hit home and made made me realise that we must all continue to challenge - according to the World Economic Forum, sadly none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and it’s unlikely many of our children will either.  Gender parity will not be achieved for almost a century. There's urgent work to do and we still have a long way to go as far as equality, equity and inclusion is concerned but we can all play a part and make a difference! 

But for today, I’m celebrating International Women’s Day, celebrating the amazing achievements of women from all walks of life and I invite you to do the same."

#InternationalWomensDay #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge




Notes to Editors:

About Covéa Insurance

Covea Insurance Plc is the UK underwriting business of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa, who are number 1 for property and liability insurance in France, generating over 16.6 billion Euros in premiums in 2020. 

Covéa Insurance looks after the insurance needs of over 1.5 million policyholders; delivering financial reassurance through its Standard & Poor’s A+ stable rating, as a guaranteed subsidiary of Covéa. 

The company offers motor, household, protection, pet, mid and high net worth insurance and a range of commercial insurance products, through a range of distribution channels. Employing over 1800 people, Covéa Insurance has a strong people and service ethos, having Investors In People Gold accreditation and is signatory to the HM Treasury Women In Finance Charter. It also has World Class service accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service for its Motor Claims, Home Claims and Underwriting Services teams as well as Chartered Insurer status for its Commercial and Mid/High Net Worth business.

In 2018, Covéa Insurance were recipients of the Personal Lines Insurer of the Year award at both the British Insurance Awards and the Insurance Times Awards and was the top rated insurer in the Insurance Times Broker Service Survey for both Personal and Commercial Lines.

Back to list

Media Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact Stephanie Cox.

Alternatively, please call or email

E: Dianne Smith T: 07796 695 090