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Insurance Industry Firestarters

CLM’s internship program ignites excitement in millennials and insurers alike.

August 25, 2015 Photo

The insurance industry is the best-kept secret when it comes to a career choice. Those in the industry know that very well. But are we igniting the imagination of today’s top talent and showing them why insurance—and claims, in particular—is a great career?

In February 2015, the Jacobson Group and Ward Group conducted its “2015 Insurance Labor Market Study” to investigate hiring trends within the insurance industry. They found that, in the next year, 66 percent of companies plan to increase staff, and one third plan to increase employees by two-to-four percent. Clearly the industry needs to be able to identify the best possible candidates to fulfill this growing need.

The CLM Internship Program, designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in claims management, is in its third year and has continued to attract outstanding candidates. It’s part of the Resolution Revolution, a concerted effort to more accurately describe and highlight what we do—we help people by managing the resolution of claims.

On the following pages, we get insights from a few firestarters—those who get the power of the claims industry—on both the intern side and the management side. As you read their stories, ask yourself, “Should our company be involved in the CLM Internship Program, too?” Will you become a firestarter?

Angelica WilliamsAngelica Williams

School: New England Law, Boston

Degree Pursuit: Juris Doctor

Graduation: Class of 2016

Internship Company: Homesite Insurance

“While I was applying for summer internships this past winter, I came across the CLM internship through the University of San Diego’s alumni career services website. Excited for the opportunity to work in an environment that incorporated both business and the practice of law together, I applied immediately. As a student going into my third year of law school, I was interested in expanding my horizons beyond pure legal work into a field that would blend both business and law together. This internship at Homesite Insurance has been an amazing opportunity and allowed me to participate in areas of business where the law intersects.

“My internship at Homesite Insurance has focused on the compliance aspect of insurance, where I’ve had the opportunity to create job aids about the law for liability claims professionals and to help create a strategy and training program for the company’s compliance with a new law. I have found working in compliance to be especially fulfilling, as I developed strategies to help Homesite Insurance deal with the complexities of the law. As a result of the CLM internship, my perspective on potential career trajectories has broadened beyond the typical law firm job to include working in compliance for different businesses.”

Ankit PatelAnkit Patel

School: Ball State University

Major: Accounting and Risk Management

Graduation: Class of 2016

Internship Company: Gallagher Bassett

“I stumbled upon the CLM internship program by chance as I was researching potential internship opportunities. I was attracted to the opportunity because there was the possibility of being placed close to home, reputable companies were involved, and it was paid.

“I did not know what to expect when I accepted the intern position, and I did not know what Gallagher Basset was prior to my interview. However, Arthur J. Gallagher was a familiar name, as I had applied for their sales program. I think the most surprising thing about my internship is how much I love it and how many doors it has opened. The company is very hospitable. There are many networking opportunities, and I enjoy going to work every day.

“My role with Gallagher Bassett primarily has been in the workers’ compensation department. At the start, there was a lot of job shadowing of resolution associates and managers. Now, I am responsible for keeping track of and updating certain files, making contact with the client and hospitals in certain circumstances, and learning about other functions and how the company operates. Being an accounting and risk management major, there are many opportunities this internship has opened the door to. I can fit into many different roles, ranging from resolution manager to account management to analytics and finance. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

Abraham ShapiroAbraham Shapiro

School: Temple University, Fox School of Business

Major: Finance and Management of Information and Systems (MIS)

Graduation: Class of 2016

Internship Company: RiverStone Group

“I first heard about the CLM Internship program through my university’s e-recruiting network and was attracted to it because I wanted a new perspective—I have experience working claims from the insured viewpoint with my family’s business.

“What impressed me most in my internship is the caliber of talent and degree of integrity of all the claims analysts I have met. The unit I’m currently working in is stationed in San Diego and specializes in complex construction defect cases. It is a top-level crew. What strikes me as most curious is that my office has recently been acquired by the RiverStone Group (headquartered in distant New Hampshire). As an MBA student, watching how the two companies transact business together at this early stage has significantly advanced my learning. Technology has been crucial as Lync and Skype are routinely employed to facilitate communication and bring the “family” together. New text recognition software and scanning/coding procedures allow data for the two companies to be organized and synchronized—a process I personally believe will significantly benefit the company when it is ready to take advantage of all the revolutionary analytical tools available and currently being developed.

“Insurance provides a tremendous open door for me as the sheer scale of the RiverStone Group and greater Fairfax family alone offers a suite of functions and roles in which I easily envision myself excelling once I graduate.”

Alyssa SandersAlyssa Sanders

School: University of Georgia

Major: English, Statistics, and Risk Management

Graduation: Class of 2015

Internship Company: Gallagher Bassett

I did not know what to expect when I walked into the towering building that would be my place of employment for the summer. I was anxious because first impressions are important, especially in a business setting. Along with a fellow CLM intern, I entered Gallagher Bassett. The administrative assistant went to get Sarah, who would be our supervisor. As Sarah showed us around, my nerves cooled with the breezy atmosphere of the office—even the dress was casual. It all seemed very Californian to a native-born Georgian who had never been out west.

Sarah introduced us to the resolution associates in training that we would be working with throughout the program. They immediately accepted us into their circle. We quickly assimilated into GB’s office culture, first learning loss contacts and then moving on to more complicated projects. Our tasks became easier with time, and then the fun started. Because so much of business deals with networking, I attended an event almost every week. Our supervisors worked hard arranging events to make sure everyone had fun networking opportunities. Part of me expected a mundane cubicle job, but I am pleased to be mistaken. The job has given me insight into the world of workers’ compensation and opportunities within the company. I plan to stay in California and secure a job within GB, an end I certainly did not expect.

Leadership Profile Dr. Cyndee Garbrecht

Supervisor: Dr. Cyndee Garbrecht, BSB/MKT, MM

Company: Roanoke Claims Services

Position: Vice President, Cargo Claims Administration

“This is our first time being involved with an internship program. We were not sure what to expect, and I am pleased to say that we could not have been more thrilled with the candidate we chose. We love this kid and hope to make him a permanent member of our team.

“In a very short time, he hit the road running. If you did not know he was an intern, you would think he has been here for a long time handling claims. He has even been instrumental in making changes to some of our policy wording due to a claim he was handling. This has been a very positive and enlightening experience not only for him, but also for us. We are very pleased with how this process has gone.

“Soon it will be his last day. He is sad to leave, and we are sad for him to go. I am working hard to make sure that after he graduates next May, he will be right back here at his desk working again with his team. We are having a surprise lunch for him as a send-off and to wish him well back at school. I almost feel like I am sending one of my own back to campus; he has endeared himself to all of us that much.

“We would have never had the chance to recruit this type of candidate if it had not been for the CLM Internship Program. I cannot thank the CLM enough for this opportunity.”   


The CLM Internship Program is an important part of the future of the insurance claims industry. If your company would like to provide an internship for the summer of 2016, please contact susan.wisbey-smith@theclm.org

About The Authors
Bevrlee J. Lips

Bevrlee J. Lips was managing editor of Claims Management magazine (now CLM Magazine) from January 2012 until March 2017.  blips@claimsadvisor.com

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