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Modern-Day Explorers

The CLM Internship Program helps millennials discover why insurance is the best-kept secret in careers.

August 19, 2016 Photo

A recent study by The Hartford took a close look at millennials and leadership. One of the more interesting data points was the millennials’ career-sector wish list. Arts and entertainment held the top position at 40 percent, which is no surprise, followed by education (36 percent), technology (36 percent) and health care (31 percent). Insurance, however, was near the bottom of the list at just four percent. That does not bode well for the insurance industry and its plans for perpetuation.

The good news from the study came in regard to leadership. For those currently in leadership, 77 percent aspire to be a leader tomorrow, as well. The key to attracting this group is to offer a variety of career opportunities, followed by competitive salaries, flexible schedules, competitive benefits, and leadership opportunities.

That’s the beauty of the CLM Internship Program. It seeks to provide not only insight into the variety of opportunities available in claims, but also the chance to be on a fast track to leadership by getting the jump on others seeking to enter the insurance industry.

The CLM Internship Program, designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in claims management, is in its fourth year and continues to attract outstanding candidates. It’s part of the Resolution Revolution, a concerted effort to more accurately describe and highlight what our industry is all about—helping people and managing the resolution of claims. We visited with several of this year’s interns to learn about their experiences in the industry so far.

ADONAI ROGERS

School: Thomas University

Major: Biology

Graduation: Class of 2017

Internship Company: Gallagher Bassett

“I heard about the program from my mother, Paulette Harris-Rogers, who is the director of risk management at HD Supply, a client of Gallagher Bassett Services. What surprised me most about my internship is how warm and welcoming my co-workers are in the office. They made my growth in knowledge of the insurance industry very exciting and easy. They were willing to help me with any questions and actually cared about me as a person and not just the work I was doing for them.

 “This was my first office job, so I was very nervous when I first started. I didn’t want to be in the way of people who were trying to get their work done. If I had questions, I would ask different people so it didn’t seem like I was bothering the same person all the time. But as my time went on, I realized that a lot of the people started out just like me. They came into the insurance industry with no prior knowledge either, so my asking questions was normal.          

“This internship helped open my eyes to a career in the insurance industry. We had meetings that would teach about what different positions do on a daily basis. For example, we learned about the account managers. I sat with different claims professionals who handle different types of clients, and I learned about the investigation bureau and how they detect people who are trying to commit fraud. The investigation bureau seemed pretty interesting, and when I graduate, I plan on looking for a career in that area of insurance.”

SNIGDHA HOSSAIN

School: Temple University

Major: Risk Management and Insurance

Graduation: Class of 2016

Internship Company: CNA

“My professor referred me to the CLM Internship Program, and I was fortunate enough to be selected for this amazing opportunity. What surprised me most about my internship is the diversity that can be found under the banner of insurance. Insurance is a diverse field with a variety of jobs and careers to pursue.

“The most challenging part of my internship was making contact over the phone. When I made my first phone call, I was absolutely terrified. During my phone call, all I could think about was not making a mistake. However, after that call, I felt more confident, and as I made more phone calls, I developed my own style, and my confidence grew.

“As a claims professional, I learned quickly that when I’m on the phone with a claimant or insured, it is important to listen. Car accidents are touchy issues. Insured parties want their vehicles fixed as soon as possible, and although as claims professionals we try our best, it’s not always possible to fulfill all of their wants. I’ve learned that people are more understanding when you listen to what they have to say and then acknowledge their situations. Just saying, “I understand where you are coming from,” will reduce the claimant’s frustration.

“This program gave me a better understanding of what I want to do post-graduation. After interacting with different departments and learning more about the different parts of the insurance business, I know that I would like to pursue a career in underwriting. I’m very thankful that I got this opportunity to learn and develop as a young professional.”

MICHAEL MANNIX

School: Illinois State University

Major: Insurance and Finance

Graduation: Class of 2017

Internship Company: Gallagher Bassett

“The experience in the world of insurance claims that I earned this summer has been immeasurable. I know that participating in the CLM internship program has and will continue to pay off for my business career.

“I heard about the CLM program from my dad, who saw a Facebook post in April, and I decided to investigate further. Now, here I am finishing up my eight weeks of job experience in my field. I am an insurance/finance double major, and from speaking to fellow students in my major, I know that the opportunity I was given is quite rare.

“My grasp of the inner workings of claims management has increased tenfold. The dual force of retentive enforcement of rules coupled with the consistent application of empathy is an equilibrium that keeps the industry running in a fair, yet compassionate, manner. Each claim has to be treated as its own entity. The technology we use allows for this to flow perfectly, and knowing that system gives me an even greater advantage over my colleagues in beginning to work in this industry. New knowledge, skills, and networking opportunities were all made possible through the CLM program.”

IYONNA JACKSON

School: Temple University

Major: Risk Management and Insurance

Graduation: Class of 2017

Internship Company: Crum & Forster

“I wanted an internship that would give me substantial experience in claims, and one of my risk management professors sent me an email linking to the CLM program and the internship application. What surprised me most was the opportunity to relocate to California. I was not aware of the significant difference in California workers’ compensation law compared to the rest of the country. Prior to interning for an insurance company, I interned on the risk management side.

“The role of empathy is extremely important in this position. When communicating with an employee, regardless of the severity of the injury, it is essential that the employee knows that you understand them and are going to do everything you can to support them through their circumstances.

“Currently, I am working on ways to help claims professionals reserve based on information from previous claims, as well as following up with cases that have been open for a long period and working to close them. In workers’ compensation claims, you have to know a good amount about everything. You have to know about the insured company and what its employees’ workloads consist of and understand various medical terminologies to ensure that employees are receiving the proper care.

“This program has helped me enhance my knowledge about the role of a claims professional, as well as gain respect for the day-to-day work that goes into following a claim through to resolution.”

NATHAN SELF

School: Drake University

Major: Marketing and Insurance

Graduation: Class of 2017

Internship Company: Gallagher Bassett

“I first heard about the program through my university’s career website. What surprised me most is how different each claim is and in what great detail every claim is examined. I work as a claims resolution intern. I would have never imagined how much information is gathered before determining compensability and also the amount of risk management that is in play, such as managed care litigation management to lower claim costs.

“Displaying empathy toward our claimants and providing timely payments and service is an essential part of the industry. Injured workers sometimes are experiencing an extremely traumatic event in their lives that could not only affect them, but also their family. Being able to put yourself in the claimant’s shoes while still keeping the client’s financial interest in mind is one of the more difficult aspects of the claims professional position.

“While resolving a claim, I had to make sure my emotions did not overpower and persuade the outcome of the claim. Relying on the facts and staying away from the emotional aspects was one of the challenges. Currently, I am working on my final project, which consists of investigating a questionable claim and producing the first report of injury on a file, as well as coming up with a plan of action on how to resolve the claim in the most efficient way possible.

“I definitely want to pursue a career in the insurance industry after my experience this summer. I feel a sense of purpose with this career and having the ability to really have a positive impact on someone’s life when they are in need.”

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 2017, please contact susan.wisbey-smith@theclm.org.

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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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