9/25/2015

First-Class Graduates

Claims College pioneers are first-ever recipients of the Certified Claims Professional designation.

By Bevrlee J. Lips

In September 2013, the CLM’s Claims College opened its doors and became a key driver in the insurance industry revolution by launching three schools for claims education: the School of Casualty Claims, the School of Professional Lines, and the School of Workers’ Compensation. Since then, it has grown and added five more schools.

This year, the college celebrates its first graduating class. Not only will graduates have the distinction of being the first class to complete the Claims College curriculum of their respective schools, but also they are part of the first class to receive the insurance claims industry’s newest and soon to be most coveted designation: the Certified Claims Professional (CCP) designation. We spoke with potential graduates from each school to find out about their journey as pioneers in the revolution.

SCHOOL OF CASUALTY CLAIMS

Name: Chris HaffnerChris Haffner

Position/Company: Senior Claims Specialist, Commercial Marine Claims, ACE

Years in Industry: 4

Name: Scott LuscherScott Luscher

Position/Company: Lead Resolution Manager, Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.

Years in Industry: 19

Claims Management: How did you first hear about Claims College, and how did you decide to attend?

Haffner: “I heard about Claims College from a senior leader at ACE who served on the college’s faculty. It was great to have four days of dedicated onsite learning, as the Claims College allows students to fully dedicate themselves without any outside distractions. The Claims College also allows newer claims professionals to interact and learn from senior management in an environment that is not always possible in a fast-paced, results-driven industry.”

CM: Describe Level One in your school. What did you like/dislike? What did you find most helpful or useful about this year?

Luscher: “Level One definitely hit on the most significant aspects of claims management regardless of experience level. Topics included various levels of coverage discussions, investigation, evaluation, and disposition strategies. There also was significant discussion on litigation management, which emphasized the importance of controlling litigation with your defense counsel and not just letting your defense counsel run with the file. I found the section on coverage most useful and definitely liked it the most because many resolution managers have shown an ability to investigate and evaluate a loss, but mastering coverage is a talent that takes repetition and constant honing of skills, so you can never get too much instruction on reading and identifying coverage.”

CM: How did Level Two differ from Level One? Was the teaching style different?

Haffner: “Level Two provided more day-to-day casualty claims information and tips. Topics included managing experts, partnering with defense counsel, managing legal spend, how to manage the litigation process, and negotiations. Level Two also provided very specific tips and knowledge that can be used on a daily basis for individuals handling casualty claims.”

CM: What are you most anticipating about Level Three this year? Are you interested in attending other schools?

Luscher: “I am anticipating the course entitled, ‘Principles of Management.’ Based on my experience with Levels One and Two, I am certain that I will be taught skills that will prove invaluable to my position within the Gallagher Bassett organization, and I would definitely consider attending other schools within the Claims College curriculum.”

CM: What would you say to other claims professionals who are contemplating attending Claims College?

Haffner: “I would highly recommend Claims College to others in my field. The information provided was tested by professionals who have been recognized and rewarded for their performances. The best way to succeed is to learn from the best and then to put into practice the techniques and information gleaned from successful individuals.

SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL LINES

Name: Patrick Van Fleet

Position/Company: Senior Resolution Manager, GallaPatrick Van Fleetgher Bassett Services Inc.

Years in Industry: 10

Name: Cleyvis Natera TuckerCleyvis Natera Tucker

Position/Company: Assistant Vice President of Business Process Management, CNA Insurance

Years in Industry: 15

CM: How did you first hear about Claims College, and how did you decide to attend?

Van Fleet: “I was approached by my manager to see if I would be interested in attending, and after taking a look to see what Claims College was all about, I wanted to be a part of it. The main attraction was the interactive nature of the training, as opposed to your standard insurance industry lecture. Also, the CE credits were a draw; the ability to get most of my CE for the year completed in a few days is a big plus.”

CM: Describe Level One in your school. What did you like/dislike? What did you find most helpful or useful about this year?

Tucker: “During the first year at Claims College, I gained a tremendous amount of industry knowledge while also taking on new challenges. This experience gave me a deeper appreciation for the critical pillars of knowledge that insurance industry professionals should have. The Level One final exam was particularly daunting, but I passed it and returned to Philadelphia the following year to complete Level Two.”

CM: How did Level Two differ from Level One? Was the teaching style different?

Tucker: “Level Two training covered many of the same topics, but in greater depth. The faculty consisted of top executives and industry professionals whose insights and practical advice were invaluable. Learning from defense attorneys, brokers, agents, and top claims officers gave me insights that would otherwise have taken decades to build. It also was refreshing to hear and learn from professionals with such varying styles and sophisticated communication skills. At the completion of Level Two, I was well prepared to take the test!” 

CM: What are you most anticipating about Level Three this year? Are you interested in attending other schools?

Van Fleet: “I’m looking forward to the advanced coverage portion of the training. Recognizing coverage issues is a key part of any resolution manager’s job, and I think that training is very important. In the future, I am definitely interested in attending the School of Mediation. Based on what I’ve learned from my current school, I think it could be very helpful.”

CM: How does it feel to be a pioneer and one of the first resolution managers to earn the Certified Claims Professional designation?

Tucker: “As I enter Level Three of the program, I’m excited to be one step closer to gaining the CCP designation. This distinction is meaningful and demonstrates that I have obtained a strong foundation and higher-level skills, both in claims and the industry as a whole. I have been so impressed with the program for the past two years that I’ve asked two of my colleagues to join me at Claims College this year. We look forward to a fantastic opportunity to learn, expand our networks, and gain invaluable industry insights.”

CM: What would you say to other claims professionals who are contemplating attending Claims College?

Van Fleet: “I would highly recommend attending. I’ve learned and have been able to apply more from the past two years of Claims College than I would have thought. There are a number of companies represented, and you have the chance to interact with industry colleagues with whom you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

SCHOOL OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Name: Natasha SumterNatasha Sumter

Position/Company: Claims Manager, BerkleyNet

Years in Industry: 4

Name: Shannon GallagherShannon Gallagher

Position/Company: Senior Resolution Manager, Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.

Years in Industry: 9

CM: How did you first hear about Claims College, and how did you decide to attend?

Sumter: “I had been in the industry for a year and loved what I knew about the organization when I received notice of CLM starting Claims College. I noticed that there was a scholarship being offered, so I applied. I received the scholarship and attended to see what it was all about. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and chose to follow through with the program.”

CM: Describe Level One in your school. What did you like/dislike? What did you find most helpful or useful about this year?

Gallagher: “On the face of it, Level One appeared to be sort of rudimentary in terms of what was being taught and discussed. I consider myself to be quite seasoned and knowledgeable in terms of the ‘Intro to Workers’ Compensation’ coursework. However, it was taught in a way that was actually refreshing and kind of exciting because more than once I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I’d never thought of it that way.’ It provided opportunities to look at ‘old’ knowledge in a different and new way. I did not expect that with an entry-level experience.”

CM: How did Level Two differ from Level One? Was the teaching style different?

Gallagher: “The most helpful part for me was the discussion about Medicare Set-Asides (MSAs). Ann Schnure, Macy’s vice president for risk management – workers’ compensation and systems, taught this unit. She was really smart, funny, and engaging in what can be a very confusing and boring subject. She spoke about compliance and penalties in the context of our daily dealings with obtaining MSAs and our obligation to protect Medicare. The unit on occupational diseases also was very helpful, as it spoke specifically to one of the accounts that I handle. But it was taught in a way that didn’t require previous knowledge.”

Sumter: “Level Two was definitely more challenging. The teaching style was more advanced with topics that tend to be problematic across the industry. The classes were tailored to more specific topics and involved more discussion. This better revealed the uniqueness of everyone’s background. We all walked away with a new perspective.”

CM: What are you most anticipating about Level Three this year? Are you interested in attending other schools?

Gallagher: “I am looking forward to the ‘Principles of Management’ unit. I would very much like to attend the School of Insurance Fraud. I would be very interested in talking with people who make that their business and learning how to improve my own skills regarding the detection and pursuit of fraud.”

CM: What would you say to other claims professionals who are contemplating attending Claims College?

Sumter: “Do it! You won’t regret it. This is a program that everyone in the industry will find beneficial: technicians, management staff, corporate leaders, and attorneys.”

For more information about the Claims College and its curriculum, go to www.theclm.org/claimscollege.  

 



Bevrlee J. Lips was managing editor of Claims Management magazine (now CLM Magazine) from January 2012 until March 2017.

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