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Career Story: Workers' Compensation Insurance Company Executive

Workers' Compensation Insurance Company Executive

Job Title: Vice President, Claims

Type of Company: We provide Workers' Compensation coverage to New York state municipalities.

Education: BA, History, Marist College

Previous Experience: I worked as a claims adjuster, a hearing representative and a supervisor.

Job Tasks: I oversee and manage a department of 37 which is responsible for paying about 30 million dollars in claims per year. I also am called upon to meet with clients on a regular basis and provide training to both clients and staff. On a typical day, I come to the office and review e-mails from staff requesting direction on files. I will draft responses to these e-mails, review any claim with a payment above a certain amount, and perhaps prepare a memo to our Board of Directors or senior management regarding a very large claim. In the event of a catastrophic injury, I meet with the staff assigned to the claim and help them devise a strategy to make sure benefits are paid appropriately. I prepare detailed reports for our Board of Directors and meet with them three times per year. I correspond with the Board regularly. The job requires fairly regular travel throughout the state and I sit on several professional boards that address workers's compensation issues. In addition to meeting with clients, staff and colleagues, I regularly exchange information with the company's actuary.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The part of the job I enjoy most is dealing with our clients and devising a solution to a particularly difficult claims situation.

The part of the job I find most frustrating or difficult to deal with is handling a staff member who is not performing his job well. This is particularly difficult if someone has to be let go.

Job Tips: Pursuing a profession in claims is something that people who major in the liberal arts tend to fall into as they leave college. Most of our staff majored in either History or English. In order to succeed in a claims career, an individual needs to be able to communicate clearly, understand complex legal issues, and negotiate with confidence with attorneys.

Additional Thoughts: Once I fell into the claims world, I became very career-focused and eventually achieved the goal that I set for myself when I was breaking into the business. If I would change one thing, I would have given more thought to the future when I was still in school. A bit more focus early would have made success easier and perhaps given me more options at the outset of my career.

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