Having just celebrated his 18th year as CEO of Sedgwick CMS—not to mention stints running two other major national TPAs—CLM Fellow and Claims College Chancellor Dave North has a rare and unique perspective on the claims profession. Find out what led him to become involved with the CLM’s Claims College and what’s in store for first-year “students” when they go back to school on Sept. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia.
What does being a chancellor mean to you?
Over the course of my career, I’ve come to understand the role and value of claims adjusters in our industry in terms of where we find them, how they get to us, how we develop their skills, and how we retain and educate them. Conversely, I also know where we are not finding them, how we’re not retaining them, and how we’re not educating them on the new challenges that face our industry.
The Claims College, for me, is an opportunity to bridge that gap. The fundamental concept that we have in the college—“by the industry, for the industry”—really establishes the fact that the Claims College is our opportunity to help our industry continue to grow. Those who serve as I do as chancellors, deans, and faculty face the challenge of how to craft this profession into the future, and it’s our responsibility as leaders in the industry to do so.
What are your thoughts on the college’s curriculum?
I think where the curriculum will have the biggest impact is in the recognition that the people who attend Claims College already come in with employment-based and academic experiences from elsewhere. The Claims College will build on those experiences. The way each school is set up—with three levels—allows us to baseline attendees and then help them move forward, understanding that they will be coming from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. We want to build on that, not replace it.
Who should attend the Claims College?
When I think about the industry as a whole, I think about professionals who are faced with some pretty immense challenges. Every day, claims professionals are faced with a unique set of facts because each claim is a unique set of circumstances. To that, they have to apply jurisdictional, legal, cultural, and environmental concepts. With that said, I don’t think there are any “overqualified” professionals out there. I think people who have a lot of experience can come to the Claims College and share their experiences and balance perceptions about how difficult it is to apply a given statute or process to real-world experiences. For those new to our industry, the Claims College is a terrific way for them to further their own career path. They’ll learn things that will make them more employable, promotable, and, therefore, overall better professionals. Everyone can get better, no matter what level you’re at currently.
What are some problems facing the claims profession?
I think all claims professionals face a perception that they are at the bottom of the list. All of the good work that consultants, brokers, and underwriters do in identifying, quantifying, and financing risk at some point becomes reality, and reality is a claim. At that moment, all of the work that they have done in assessing, preventing, and documenting comes down to a human being who got injured, a product that caused damage, or a building that collapsed. How that claim is adjudicated is the culmination of whether or not the work that was done by others before the claim was good. That means the claims professional is an integral part of the entire continuum.
As far as image problems, I feel like claims professionals play an incredibly valuable role—I might argue we play the most valuable role—in the insurance continuum. But our image will not be improved because we declare we’re more important than a consultant or broker; our image will be improved when we employ more people in our particular part of the industry who are trained, successful professionals and more see it as an equally beneficial career path to go down. That’s when image is improved; when people want to do the job.
What are you anticipating most for the first Claims College?
In addition to the students, this one is going to be a learning event for us as chancellors. We think the organization has done an incredibly good job of establishing a vision for what the Claims College can do. If you look at the teams and the staff that have been created in each of the four schools, it’s a pretty phenomenal collection of top employers and industry professionals. That alone gives us a leg up on the likelihood of success. There is going to be a lot of learning that goes on this year for everyone, and I’m excited about that because I think there is really an appetite to make this a really powerful event.
The Four Schools of the Claims College
Registration has already opened online for the Claims College, which begins on Sept. 8, 2013. Here are the four schools that will comprise the college. To register, go to www.TheCLM.org.
School of Claims Management: This school is designed for claims professionals from all industries. Students will benefit from the school’s rigorous curriculum, which is designed to help strengthen current skills and develop new skills and knowledge in order to excel professionally. Those who successfully complete all three levels will receive the Certified Claims Management Professional (CCMP) designation.
School of Professional Lines: The School of Professional Lines will expose students to a variety of professional lines, including medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and design professional malpractice. The school has three levels, which students must complete in order to receive the Certified Professional Lines Professional (CPLP) designation.