Nkenge (Kenge) Blue, Head of Actuarial at Assured Allies, was delighted to chat for a few moments in honor of International Day of the Girl 2023 about why she was drawn to a career in the insurance industry and why she encourages other young women in the field to hone their leadership skills.
How long have you been in the LTC space and what attracted you to pursue this career path?
I’ve been in the LTC space for about two years and the life insurance industry more broadly for about ten years. What attracted me to LTC in recent years was my interest in products that provide living benefits and the direct impact LTC has on policyholders during their later years.
Did you have any female role models? How did they support your career growth?
The role models that most significantly impacted my career took the time to get to know me on a personal level and encouraged me to bring my authentic self to work. This was invaluable for me early in my career because, as a Black woman, I rarely saw myself represented in the industry and admittedly was reticent based on preconceived notions of what an insurance professional looks like or how one should act. These role models instilled confidence in me to be boldly me, despite the lack of representation in the field, which has propelled me to be more influential as a leader.
Have you been a mentor? How have you helped an aspiring female professional pursue a career in long-term care insurance?
I try to help female professionals in a similar way as those who helped me, by empowering them to be vocal and share their opinions – beyond simply developing the knowledge and skill sets required for a career in LTCi. For example, I recently encouraged someone to take more of a leadership role in projects we do as a team rather than the backseat.
Can you share any memorable experiences or instances where your influence has brought about positive change in the industry?
What we’ve done recently at Assured Allies in our collaboration with EquiTrust to bring the Bridge Annuity to market is a great example. We were able to bring an LTC product to market that has a true 100% guaranteed acceptance rate, which expands the market to those that historically can not receive coverage. As the Head of Actuarial, my team was heavily involved in the product development and the digital underwriting experience that make the guaranteed acceptance possible.
How do you envision the future of female representation in the industry, and what steps do you believe should be taken to further promote gender equality and inclusivity?
I envision a future where representation is not simply done to check a box but instead is viewed as a strategic advantage and is a key part of the industry’s value proposition. That mindset will inherently amplify female voices, ensure women have a seat at the table when it comes to decision-making, and encourage more women to join the profession and improve our offerings to the end consumer. As for steps, investing in women will promote equity and inclusion. This investment can be in hiring, mentoring, and increasing awareness of unconscious biases.