CLM Voices: Getting to Know Charlie Wendland
Learn more about Branch Insurance's head of claims.
By Eric Gilkey
With 16 years of experience, this claims veteran recently made the jump from traditional carrier to insurance start-up. Learn more about his career path and his views on the industry.
Growing up in Cleveland, Wendland says Progressive’s large footprint in the city was hard to miss, so when he saw a video about claims adjusting during his senior year at Cleveland State University, he applied. Eight months later—and after a brief stint selling copy machines that Wendland describes as the most difficult job he’s ever had—Progressive called, and he jumped at the chance to work a more meaningful job in claims.
Best Advice from Grandpa
“Ignore your strengths to reduce your weaknesses.”
A New Branch
Wendland says he enjoyed his work at carriers like Progressive, Travelers, and National Interstate, but when the opportunity to build a claims organization from the ground up at Branch Insurance came to him, it was too exciting to pass up. He hopes the new processes he’s implementing will have a meaningful impact and solve some of the problems that have plagued customers, while also making a positive impact in the community with the company’s nonprofit SafetyNest.
A Gen X Perspective
“I’m impressed with the new talent we have entering the industry. The young professionals I’ve met and worked with have been thoughtful, hardworking, and coachable.”
Wendland says when it comes to litigation partners, they have to be resolution-focused first and foremost to get his business. He says the best partners understand that most claims are not getting better with age, only more expensive. On the flip side, he says they must also be credible trial threats while ensuring that cases are properly defended through resolution.
“Our children, now 11 and 13, have taken after my wife and me in their involvement in sports. We love watching them compete, and I even coach my son in basketball, which is fun.”