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Career Story: Chief Operating Officer For An Insurance Company

Chief Operating Officer For An Insurance Company

Job Title: COO For Insurance Company - Personal Lines Division

Type of Company: My company sells personal and commercial insurance.

Education: BA, Economics, Rutgers University •• MBA, Finance & Accounting, Rutgers University

Previous Experience: I started in finance and accounting, working in investment accounting, budgeting and strategic planning and then moved to service and operations area, all in insurance.

Job Tasks: As COO, I run the personal lines operations area for an insurance company. This includes customer service (call center and general support), risk management -- deciding whether we should provide insurance to certain customers -- and payment collection.

I have a large team (about 500), so people management and development is very important, especially since, in my estimation, having a strong team is critical to success.

My job requires me to spend about half of my time on strategic issues: examining how we can contribute to sales based on our customer service, processes, and people. I spend the balance of my time on more tactical issues such as resolving technology issues, service questions, and expected deliverables. In both cases I spend much of my time mentoring my team and ensuring that projects are on track.

At my company, we often use meetings as a place to make decisions. Therefore my day is comprised of many meetings.

As an executive, there are many presentations and updates I need to provide to senior management and I can easily spend a few days per month preparing for meetings. I also spend a lot of time meeting with my team on key initiatives, helping them deliver and resolving issues. Sometimes this requires me to get very involved in the detail.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is seeing others develop and advance, due in part to my help and guidance. I tend to provide a lot of feedback to help people be their best and excel in their roles.

The worst part of my job is the number of meetings I have to attend. There are days where I attend meetings from 9-5 and have only limited time to spend on projects and work.

Job Tips:
1. Maintain high standards of excellence for your team. Be fair and consistent and have similar rules and expectations for everyone.

2. During conflict, keep focused on the business challenge you are trying to resolve. Don't make it personal. Once you do, you will be arguing the wrong point.

3. Hire great people and nurture them. You can't do it all yourself and are not expected to. Leadership is delivering results, both short-term and long-term, and this requires a well-oiled, committed machine.

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