The first recorded women’s organization within the insurance industry was the Women Leaders Round Table, founded in 1936 with its membership based solely on production. It served as a recognition program, which met annually.
Several years later, because so many of its members were qualifying for the Million Dollar Round Table, the Women Leaders Round Table was dissolved to become a conference of the National Association of Life Underwriters (NALU), the Women Life Underwriters Conference (WLUC). Formed in 1979, its primary purpose was to broaden the overall perspective of women agents. Within three years local chapters had formed providing training, support, and leadership development opportunities to WLUC members. Most importantly, a network had been formed of women helping each other develop into the best professional insurance agents they could be, regardless of company affiliation.
The Women Life Underwriters Conference became an independent insurance industry organization with the support of its members and corporate sponsors in 1987. A large portion of the existing leadership and chapters were phased into the new Women Life Underwriters Confederation.
In 1988 WLUC refocused its direction. By keeping the WLUC acronym and adding the tag line “Women in Insurance and Financial Services” it encompassed all women in the insurance and financial services industry. New emphasis was directed towards the four initiatives of individual membership, corporate membership, education, and public awareness.
In 2000 the WLUC acronym was replaced by the true acronym and WIFS – Women in Insurance & Financial Services moved forward with a renewed emphasis on the membership, education, and corporate and public initiatives.
In 2010, WIFS reached over 1200 members, and continues to grow by leaps and bounds. To keep up with the growth, WIFS established new headquarters in Albany, NY. At a time when many industry associations saw their numbers fall, WIFS finds itself a path of growing member membership, new programming, innovative regional events, and greater member value.
In 2011 WIFS celebrates its 75th anniversary as an organization. With 30 local chapters and a true presence in the industry, the secret is out: WIFS is an Association on the rise, and the only place for the industry’s successful women to come together. On December 27, 2011, WIFS became the first women’s financial organization to ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange.