Job Title: Assistant Vice President, Claim
Type of Company: I work for a regional property casualty insurance carrier servicing 4 of the 6 New England States.
Education: BA, Political Science JD, Law
Previous Experience: I clerked for a judge in the United States Bankruptcy Court. I started my insurance career as a claims adjuster and worked my way up to supervisor and then claim manager.
Job Tasks: I oversee the claim operation of an insurance company. When someone is in a car accident, for example, or their house catches fire, they place a claim with their insurance company to receive money for the cost to repair the damage and make them whole again. We have a staff of abut 350 people who handle our customers claims. I have 7 managers reporting to me who run this whole operation from Customer Service, Damage Appraisal, Litigation to Collections. I also have a staff who work on technology initiatives so we are always using state-of-the-art technology to make the process for our customers easier and more user-friendly. We have staff who conduct audits to make sure that we are following regulated and internal best practices. They also monitor our customer satisfaction feedback to make sure we are always meeting our customers' needs.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is knowing that we are there to help our customers through what can be a very traumatic event. It is nice to help people in need. I also love my co-workers. I work for a company that believes that people should maintain a balance between their work and their personal lives. My co-workers are dedicated to the company and to each other. We try to have fun while at the same time getting our work done. You spend a lot of time at work. You should make sure you're spending it with people who share your values and whom you enjoy being around.
The worst part of my job can also be the customers. While it feels good to help people, there are some not-so-nice people who have unreasonable expectations and can be very rude and confrontational. Some people lie about their claims to get money they don't deserve. That can be disheartening.
Job Tips: If you want to have a successful career in a professional environment, I would say stay committed to your education. Absolutely complete your college degree and consider graduate studies early on if you can afford them. Take advantage of employers' tuition reimbursement programs. It is the best way to get a very affordable education. As you want to move up the corporate ladder, advanced degrees become more important. So if you consider achieving advanced education, get it done early before you have personal commitments that limit your time.
My second piece of advice would be to not be afraid to try things that you never considered or don't fit into your career plan. You may find that what you thought you wanted to pursue for a career isn't as rewarding for you as something else you never considered but tried on a whim and loved. If you take a job and don't enjoy it, don't linger in it. Don't be afraid to move on. Your early years in your career go quickly. Don't waste them in a dead end career you hate. Explore opportunities until you find what you're best at.
Lastly, if you make a commitment to an employer, keep your commitment. If you accept a job and promise to stay a year, stick out the year and then move on. Future employers don't like to see resumes where someone has jumped around a lot and never gave a job or company at least a year.
Additional Thoughts: Don't rule out a career in insurance because of the public perception of insurance companies. Many people are distrustful of them. You will find that insurance companies can provide a lot of job security because the stable nature of their business. Most people in insurance companies are committed to service and really want to do the right thing for the customer. While insurance has been historically considered to be a conservative environment, companies have come a long way in creating fun, dynamic environments that promote teamwork, development and reward and recognition. The benefit packages tend to be very competitive.
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