Getting to Know: Jo Lynn Clemens
Previously the manager of the claims department for Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Company (MUSIC), Clemens recently took a sabbatical to handle her father’s estate. Find out what she is up to now.
By Eric Gilkey
On new ventures:
“I’m owner and president of JJC Insurance Services LLC, which provides auditing services by contract for the underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, as well as insurance training and compliance consulting.”
On what makes a good manager:
“Managing effectively requires commitment to a team level strategy, which identifies and nurtures the individual strengths of employees while at the same time directing those skills to accomplish defined organizational goals. In addition to maintaining a team level strategy, it is important to afford opportunities to cross-train and interface with other departments. Through supporting directed communication with departments outside of claims, you allow employees to understand how individual efforts within the department impact overall operations.
“While handling claims often requires being a superior multitasker, management requires you to focus on the quality of individual tasks. Juggling management priorities and being accessible to employees can be challenging. In order to afford the required level of focus, it is critically important to establish a routine that includes setting aside consistent hours within your calendar for weekly tasks and separate hours to address any employee inquiries or counseling. The schedule should be accessible to employees so that they are aware of established hours of availability.
“Lastly, being a good manager means leading by example and understanding operational goals in other departments. By demonstrating an exemplary work ethic, managers reinforce their expectations for their staff and their commitment to organizational goals. Through interface with departments outside of the claims department, a manager strengthens their alliances within the company and gains an in-depth understanding of workflow processes outside the department.”
On exploring international markets:
“In November 2010, I had the honor of being invited as an ambassador to China for the Society of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (CPCU). What I found most interesting about the Chinese insurance market were the sino-foreign joint ventures. Sino-foreign joint ventures take the form of equity joint ventures or cooperative joint ventures, and they are the popular investment vehicle for foreign investors. When we looked at property casualty insurers, there were 35 Chinese-owned and 18 foreign-owned, with only one sino-foreign joint venture. While all foreign shareholders are professional insurers, it was surprising to learn that most of the Chinese partners in these sino-foreign joint ventures are of non-insurance background, an obvious source of management conflicts.”
On her leadership role at CLM:
“As state co-chair and later regional co-chair for CLM, I was able to utilize my affiliation with CPCU to forge a partnership to assist in the mutual growth of each organization. In Arizona, our local CPCU chapter has committed to supporting and attending events held by CLM, and we in turn are invited to attend their functions. We also have committed to providing continuing education lectures with the opportunity to provide exposure and solicit new members for CLM. Finally, I have recommended that chapters in the region select a designated person to handle communications (to include “Around the Nation” updates); Membership (to focus on updating current membership lists and growth); and ClaimVets.”
On the importance of continued learning:
“Continuing education is crucial to stay abreast of the rapid changes within the insurance market and to utilize the knowledge gained to improve organizational effectiveness. It provides an educational basis from which innovative and productive solutions can be applied to improve workflow processes and promote growth within an organization.”