Marriott Vacations Worldwide’s Assistant Vice President, Risk Management-Claims, Vic Marmo was recently announced as this year’s recipient of CLM’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes distinguished industry professionals who have made a lasting impact on the industry, and is presented each year at CLM’s Annual Conference. We chatted with Marmo to get his reactions to winning, what his proudest career moments are, and where he and the industry are headed.
What was your reaction with CLM CEO Ronna Ruppelt told you about winning the award?
Surprise and amazement. “Surprise” because I never envisioned receiving this prestigious award. I know what previous recipients have accomplished in their careers, and I tried my best to follow in their footsteps. “Amazement” because I know there are over 50,000 members and fellows, so for the selection committee to choose me was an honor. CLM has helped me immensely in my career by furthering my education and, most importantly, allowing me exposure to some the greatest minds in my profession.
What moments in your career stand out the most?
For my career, the creation and eventual expansion of the claims function at Marriott Vacations Worldwide. There was no claims oversight program when I arrived, so I was able to build a department that implemented a robust cost-containment program, including onsite nurses and a defined transitional duty program. In addition, we developed a stellar litigation management program, which included premier defense counsel and service provider panels.
As for CLM, I’m most proud of being the first dean of Claims College, which required the development of course materials, enlistment of instructors, and the creation of final exams, which, while revised, are still in use today. Claims College spawned from a vision Laura Cornish and I had to address the lack of educational resources in the claims industry. We pitched the idea, and CLM moved it forward.
What advice would you give to those who are just beginning a career in claims?
View claims as a career, not a job. Claims is an interesting, challenging, and rewarding profession, but it requires continual effort to ensure success. For persons starting out, I recommend they look for ways to enhance their technical skills by either formal education via designations (AIC, ARM, or CPCU) or by volunteering for challenging assignments. If possible, learn multiple lines of coverage, as this will provide more opportunities down the road. I started my career as auto liability adjuster; was promoted to a general liability adjuster, then a workers’ compensation supervisor. When I moved to another company, I volunteered to take on property claims. As my career progressed, I included D&O, EPL, fidelity, fiduciary, and cyber. For those new to the industry, my advice is to never get comfortable; always challenge yourself to learn and do more. If your current employer cannot provide these opportunities, it may be time to look elsewhere.
What does the future of claims look like?
I am an optimist, so I want to say the future is bright, but I am also a realist and I am concerned that there are not enough talented professionals in the pipeline to replace those of us who are aging out. That is why it is so important for the industry to highlight a viable career path for young professionals. My hope is that the path is clear and attainable, but also has tentacles providing opportunities in other insurance careers such as underwriting, finance, sales, and more so we can keep these stars in the industry.
Do you have a favorite CLM-related moment?
While there are so many, what stands out immediately is my first CLM Advisory Board meeting. I was nervous, as I knew no one. The discussion started and it was clear after a few minutes that I was in over my head, as the other members were discussing theories that I was unfamiliar with. As they were going around the table asking for input, a fellow board member I just happened to be sitting next to said, “I don’t know what the heck you’ve been talking about for the last 30 minutes but let me tell you about the real world.” From that point on, I felt at home.
What does your future hold?
I believe I have accomplished all that I set out to do in a corporate environment, so now it is time to apply those learnings elsewhere. Fortunately, I have been exposed to many types of claims involving multiple coverage lines, so I have a broad base of knowledge. Creating or augmenting the claims function in a company is my passion. Consulting on large-loss claims could be another interesting pursuit.