Women in Insurance: Arleen Taveras, Co-Founder & CEO, Insurance Licensing Services of America

Women in Insurance - August 12 2020

In this interview series, we profile women who are shaping the future of insurance. This week, we connect with Arleen Taveras, Co-Founder, President & CEO of Insurance Licensing Services of America and co-host of the Spot On Insurance podcast. Named a 2019 Business Insurance Woman to Watch, Arleen discusses how insurance will look significantly different in five years than it does today, and the range of opportunities that exist within the industry including blockchain, robotics, data analytics, marketing, and risk management.

Arleen, tell us about your path to insurance. What attracted you to the profession?

When I entered the insurance industry, I was fortunate to join a London brokerage, Minet, which had recently opened up in NY and the leaders were energetic, enthused and made every person understand that they were a crucial component of the team. It led me to quickly decide I wanted to continue in the field, and I committed to the industry by educating myself by reading industry books, magazines and obtaining my ARM designation.

What do you find most fulfilling about the work you do?  

We handle over 50 compliance tasks including surplus line tax reports and Secretary of State and Department of Revenue filings. These are tasks that most people and companies don’t want to handle because of the complexities involved to provide these services to the industry for over 20 years is very fulfilling.

The insurance industry is in the midst of massive change. What do you think the insurance business will look like in five years?

I think many roles will be phased out and in five years the insurance business will look significantly different than it is today. It will be sleeker and more efficient. Additionally, providers that have refined their technology will position themselves to provide all the insurance needs of each of their customers. To be able to serve one client base with all their insurance coverages would be next level for the consumer as well as the provider/carrier.

If you had to pick one technology trend that will fundamentally transform insurance over the next 5-10 years, what would it be?

I’m not a techie but I would venture to say that blockchain technology, as it continues to develop and become more accessible particularly to regulatory agencies, will transform the entire insurance journey.

The insurance industry faces a recruitment challenge with millennials choosing professions they deem to be more progressive, challenging and fun. What can insurers do to entice new talent?

The insurance industry has to campaign for millennials in the social media platforms where they can be found. For those of us in the industry, we know there exists an array of positions from robotics, data analytics, marketing, risk management, and podcasting in every single industry from the NFL, construction, to Hollywood. The industry has to highlight the stability, lifestyle freedom, and impact to the world that millennials can have in this stable industry.

According to a 2017 study, just 12 percent of insurance companiestop corporate officers are women. Why do you think there are so few women in senior leadership roles in the insurance industry?

Women lack other women as role models in senior positions and therefore don’t have many examples of whom to emulate. Often, they have to be 150% better than any male counterpart – that’s the current reality. By honing in on their niche, they need to become indisputably outstanding – their knowledge will then provide them the confidence to succeed in senior roles. Additionally, they need to be tenacious, unwavering and vocal about their ambitions.

What can insurance companies do to ensure that women not only stay in the profession but advance in their careers?

Paternity leave has to be standard, period. Women need to have partners that split the early months of childcare so that women are not overlooked for positions because companies foresee that a woman will be less available during the years her family is expanding.

What recommendations do you have for young female professionals entering into the insurance on how to find a mentor and develop the relationship?

Young female professionals should define for themselves their ideal position and then seek others in that role whether male or female that will mentor them.

Does your firm have initiatives in place to encourage gender parity and diversity?

No, we do not as 90% of our team is comprised of females. 90% of our management team is led by women. We are a minority owned organization operating out of Central Texas where our population is primarily Caucasian. Our team, though primarily Caucasian, is diversified at every employee level.

What positive changes have you seen since you began in your career?

There are more women and minorities in the industry.

What advice would you give the next generation of women considering a career in insurance?

Be so great that no one questions whether you can do the job!


ARLEENS(HEADSHOT)[1]Arleen Taveras is Co-Founder, President & CEO of Insurance Licensing Services of America, Inc. (ILSA). She has over twenty years’ experience in the financial services industry working in insurance, commercial banking and investment banking. In 1997, she left Aon Corporation in order to bring licensing solutions to agencies across North America through the establishment of ILSA, Inc. In her role as CEO her focus includes long term strategic planning, and new product development. The organization has over 55 employees. She is co-host of the Spot On Insurance podcast.

Arleen is considered a leading authority by her peers in insurance licensing regulations. She is a past member of the National Association of Insurance Brokers' Licensing Task Force, and the Texas Surplus Lines Association Legislative and Recruiting Committees and has been a member of the Society of Insurance Licensing Administrators (SILA) since 1993. Arleen attended Jersey City State University and the College of Insurance in New York City where she obtained her Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation.

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