Metlife, Progressive among insurance and healthcare companies making new gender pay equity disclosures

Aetna and Baxter Inc will conduct pay disparity analyses for the first time

(New York, NY) — New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the New York City Pension Funds today announced that eight major U.S. insurance and healthcare companies will disclose new information on how they identify and eliminate gender pay disparities among their employees. In its second year, the Comptroller’s pay equity initiative calls on insurance and healthcare companies – which have the largest adjusted pay inequities of major US industries – to publicly commit to ending the gender pay gap and increase transparency on existing disparities.

“Fairness is a fiduciary duty. We cannot idly stand by while hard working women are paid less than their male colleagues. That’s why we’re calling on companies to be clear that pay discrimination and inequality won’t stand,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “To close the gender pay gap, companies have to open their books and publicly report how they ensure fairness. By embracing transparency, these companies are leading their industry – but the disclosures we’re calling for should be the market standard and taking further steps for corporate diversity, transparency, and fairness should be commonplace.”

While Australia, Germany, Iceland, and most recently Great Britain, have required large companies to publicize pay disparity data, the U.S. does not require such disclosures. As such, transparency regarding gender pay disparities at U.S. companies is rare. According to some studies, less than 10 percent of the largest 875 public U.S. companies have conducted pay equity studies, and only 54 have established a policy for diversity and equal opportunity.

At the same time, pay inequity is endemic. Nationwide, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. When broken down by race, industry, and geography, pay disparities are even more stark. A recent analysis by Comptroller Stringer found that in New York City, Black women face a pay gap of 43 cents – more than 20 cents larger than for White women in New York City, and over 5 cents greater than the nationwide average pay gap for Black women.

The healthcare and insurance sectors have some of the largest pay gaps of all U.S. industries. Even when adjusting for age, education, and years of experience, among other factors, the gender pay disparity in the healthcare and insurance industries is roughly 33% higher than the average across the country.

Moreover, corporate leadership at major healthcare and insurance companies lacks female representation:

  • Women make up 78% of the healthcare workforce, but represent just 20% of the executive leadership at Fortune 500 healthcare companies. Nearly two-thirds of those companies have corporate boards that are over 75% male; and
  • Women make up more than 60% of the insurance workforce, but hold just 10% of executive positions at insurance companies. More than 80% of board seats in the insurance industry are held by men.

The eight companies making new, meaningful disclosures and taking significant first-ever steps for transparency on gender pay equity include:

  • The Progressive Corporation: Publicly committed that the company demands its employees are compensated equally for equal work and disclosed that the company takes regular steps to ensure fair compensation. The company also provided detailed information on how they determine if disparities exist.
  • Edwards Life Sciences, Principal Financial Group, Inc., The Travelers Companies, Inc., and Metlife (cofiled with Pax World): Disclosed that regular reviews and reports are conducted internally or by external consultants to analyze pay practices and compensation structures for pay disparities, across race and gender.
    • The companies publicly committed that disparities found during reviews will prompt corrective adjustments, and MetLife disclosed that the company made pay adjustments for a small number of their U.S. employees within the last year.
    • The Travelers Companies made these new disclosures after refusing to respond to the Comptroller’s shareholder proposal last year.
  • Abbott Laboratories: Disclosed for the first-time the procedures and processes in place to ensure consistency in compensation across race and gender, and the resources available to employees with concerns about compensation.
  • Aetna, Inc. and Baxter International, Inc: Will conduct gender pay analyses and report the results to the Comptroller’s Office. Aetna had previously refused to disclose company pay disparity data following last year’s engagement and shareholder proposal.

Express Scripts was the only company engaged by the Comptroller that refused to agree to disclose meaningful gender pay information, prompting a shareholder vote on these suggested measures for the second year.

“With this initiative, we’re changing the landscape of the healthcare and insurance industries – and leveling the playing field for women and all employees. Pay inequity lives in the shadows. Hiding this information lets discrimination go under the radar. That’s why these disclosures are so important. As a long-term shareholder, we‘ll keep shining a light on common-sense ways to end the gender pay gap,” added Comptroller Stringer.

Last year, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the New York City Pension Funds engaged with 10 U.S. insurance and healthcare companies and successfully settled 7 — including AIG, Prudential Financial, Aflac, Allstate, Anthem, and UnitedHealth Group. In total, 15 major insurance and healthcare companies have increased transparency on gender pay equity following engagement from the Comptroller‘s office.

To view an example of the letter Comptroller Stringer sent to these companies, click here.

Comptroller Stringer serves as the investment advisor to, and custodian and a trustee of, the New York City Pension Funds. The New York City Pension Funds are composed of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Pension Fund, and the Board of Education Retirement System.

In addition to Comptroller Stringer, the New York City Pension Funds’ trustees are:

New York City Employees’ Retirement System: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Representative, John Adler (Chair); New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; Borough Presidents: Gale Brewer (Manhattan), Melinda Katz (Queens), Eric Adams (Brooklyn), James Oddo (Staten Island), and Ruben Diaz, Jr. (Bronx); Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME; Tony Utano, President Transport Workers Union Local 100; Gregory Floyd, President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237.

Teachers’ Retirement System: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Appointee, John Adler (Chair); Lindsey Oates, representing the Chairperson of the Panel for Educational Policy and Debra Penny, Thomas Brown and David Kazansky, all of the United Federation of Teachers.

New York City Police Pension Fund: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Representative, John Adler; New York City Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha; New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill (Chair); Patrick Lynch, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association; Michael Palladino, Detectives Endowment Association; Edward D. Mullins, Sergeants Benevolent Association; Louis Turco, Lieutenants Benevolent Association; and, Roy T. Richter, Captains Endowment Association.

New York City Fire Pension Fund: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Representative, John Adler; New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro (Chair); New York City Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha; Gerard Fitzgerald, President, LeRoy McGinnis, Vice President, Edward Brown, Treasurer, and John Kelly, Brooklyn Representative and Chair, Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York; John Farina, Captains’ Rep.; Paul Mannix, Chiefs’ Rep., and Jack Kielty, Lieutenants’ Rep., Uniformed Fire Officers Association; and, Peter Devita, Marine Engineers Association.

Board of Education Retirement System: Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza; Mayoral: Isaac Carmignani, Jose Davila, Vanessa Leung, Gary Linnen, Lori Podvesker, Benjamin Shuldiner, Shannon Waite, Miguelina Zorilla-Aristy; Michael Kraft (Manhattan BP), Debra Dillingham (Queens BP), Geneal Chacon (Bronx BP), April Chapman (Brooklyn BP), and Peter Calandrella (Staten Island BP); and employee members John Maderich of the IUOE Local 891 and Donald Nesbit of District Council 37, Local 372.