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What’s going on with the gender gap?

You never know what you might find when you interrogate an extensive liability database. For those of you who don’t know our business, our liability claims run the full gamut of the liability spectrum – we do have the volume stuff, like shopping centres and retail slip and falls, but we also do some pretty hairy claims for insurers, including severity claims in construction, hospitality, products claims and workers comp recoveries.

In trying to find some fresh insights via our data scientist, we limited the data population to the last 10 years, which we also think gives us a better gauge on the cost trends. While we are still refining some of the questions we are asking, some of the data is pretty interesting.

The one that hit me first was the equivalent of the gender pay gap. For the period in question we are talking around 30,000 claims. We aren’t counting incidents in that claim count. In those claim numbers we had almost twice the number of claims from women as from men. Given a large proportion of our claims are trips or slips, is there anything we can take from that?  I certainly don’t think it necessarily means that women are clumsier than men. I think what it may say is that there may be a higher proportion of women in the risk areas – and given a lot of our frequency is in retail, this may make sense.  

Frequency of liability claims by gender

What is more interesting is that men have half the claim numbers but the average cost of a claim by a man is close to double that of a woman.

Cost of liability claims by gender

So is this the gender pay gap at work, or is there something else happening? 

When you look at the frequency and cost by average age, frequency numbers for women  have a much more pronounced bell curve, with a peak in  the 51 to 65 group. The frequency curve for men is pretty even across all adult age groups.

On the other hand, the men average cost graph has way more bumps than the females, which is pretty flat, while the males have pronounced bumps in the 21 to 35 and 46-55 groups. 

So other than showing male claims are far more unpredictable, we do have a lot of retail and licensed premises in the numbers.  Claims in licensed premises and in construction and workers recoveries tend to be a bit more difficult and costly than the average retail style claim.  So while it does sound dangerously stereotypical, we need to ask some more questions – is it possible that claims from men are more often in the more severe cases in  construction and licensed premises, and that women take up a higher proportion of the retail claims?   

We can already see from the data that you wouldn’t want a 21 to 35 year old male assaulted in a pub and having a litigated claim in NSW for a head injury.  We are hoping that these kinds of insights might lead us to a capability to predict reserve ranges and anticipate the severity claims in future.

Please contact us if you are interested in discussing what your data says about your risk. 


Written by Jon Broome



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