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Developing Minds

"What skills should young professionals develop early in their careers?"

January 16, 2021 Photo

Each month, CLM Magazine reaches out to its membership with a question. This month, we asked, "If you were speaking to recent graduates just entering the industry, what would your advice be as far as which skill they should develop early to launch their careers?" Here's how they responded:

“Always check the details. Confirm you have all correct forms in a certified policy; check the given state’s insurance regulations; and confirm details with your insured, witnesses, and others, especially if you are relying on those details to make a coverage determination. And pay attention to the little details that matter to individuals as people—especially those going through a tough time.”

Jillian M. Henderson, Associate, Soha & Lang, P.S. CLM Member since 2013.

“Intellectual curiosity. Whether you aspire to be a claims professional, an attorney, an underwriter, or a broker, our industry relies on making sound decisions with often incomplete information. Asking smart questions, digging into data, and seeking others’ perspectives builds expertise that will distinguish you throughout your career.”

Mike Hessling, Chief Executive Officer, Gallagher Bassett. CLM Fellow since 2017.

“To develop trial skills in a practice where most cases settle, I worked hard at becoming a teacher. Take every opportunity to speak before a room. Write CLE materials. Become a subject-matter expert; and present to audiences, small and large. I got better at it and less nervous over time.” 

Jack Levy, Partner, Gilbert, Levy, Bennett. CLM Member since 2019.

“Keep the faith, and don’t be discouraged, even in this market. You need to enter the legal profession with the understanding that wherever you land initially is likely not your first choice of law or practice. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Look for a job where you can hone your legal writing skills. You’ll take that with you as you advance in your career.” 

Tracy Abatemarco, Partner, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP. CLM Member since 2013.


Average age of claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators.

Source: Data USA


Number of students who graduated from law school in the U.S. in 2019, down from 34,221 in 2018.

Source: Statista


Percent of insurers that planned, before the pandemic hit, to increase their staff sizes in 2020.

Source: Jacobson


Percent insurance carrier unemployment rate for November 2020, down from 4.4 percent in August.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Percent of insurers responding to an April 2020 COVID-19 hiring survey that said they had open jobs.

Source: GreatInsuranceJobs.com

About The Authors
Phil Gusman

Phil Gusman is senior managing editor for CLM Magazine and Construction Claims magazine.  phil.gusman@theclm.org

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