I am an enthusiastic advocate of the importance of the claims function in a property and casualty (P&C) insurance company. When properly designed and led, it can meaningfully advance the company's strategic goals. When managed poorly, it can create a headwind that the company will have to struggle against. Claims executives know this, but executives in other insurance units sometimes don't. Or if they do, they may not appreciate what goes into crafting a claims strategy to suit their company. I hope to use my experience in the P&C business to help students understand and appreciate what the claims function can do for their company.
My post-undergraduate plan was to go to law school, pass the bar, and open my own law practice in my small Ohio hometown. I did that, but I then discovered that such a law practice was both less remunerative and less fun than I thought it was going to be. When I explored other options, I thought about my encounters with the P&C insurance industry, and I realized that I had been impressed by the professionalism of the folks I had interacted with there, and decided to give it a try. Upon doing so, I discovered that the industry was a challenging place to work; I would be able to fully use my skills and benefit from an interesting and rewarding career. Having a law degree was a huge help. The insurance industry refers to people like me as "law-trained," but I had very little formal education that was insurance-focused, so I had to pick that knowledge up on my own along the way. That was hard but rewarding.
I am an enthusiastic advocate of the importance of the claims function in a property and casualty (P&C) insurance company. When properly designed and led, it can meaningfully advance the company's strategic goals. When managed poorly, it can create a headwind that the company will have to struggle against. Claims executives know this, but executives in other insurance units sometimes don't.”
We all know the (inaccurate) cliché that no one at a dinner party wants to be stuck next to accountants or people in the insurance industry. What do you tell people to help them understand how vital and dynamic today’s insurance business is?
Speaking only on behalf of claims, I’d say that claims people have the best stories. They see how everything breaks, how everyone fails, and what the human consequences of those failures are. It’s compelling stuff.
The key is to broaden your knowledge base. You can do that by how you manage your career, and you can do that with additional formal education. The more you know, the more valuable you are, both to yourself and your company.
Can you provide one key takeaway that you hope students in the 保险管理 master’s program will gain from their interactions with you? What kinds of interactions with industry experts does the program provide?
They’ll understand how claims are a key part of the P&C insurance universe — how much potential leverage there is in the claims function. Every unit of the program will be led by an industry expert, so the program offers a chance at knowledge and insights that would otherwise take decades to acquire.
Is there anything that you’ve done in your career that you didn’t expect to be able to or have the opportunity to do when you entered the insurance industry? Are there any experiences you’ve had that are atypical in the industry?