Getting to Know: Jeffrey Koonankeil
Learn more about Euclid Specialty Managers' chief claims officer
By Eric Gilkey
A Connecticut first-gen immigrant in King Arthur’s Court(room), Koonankeil explains his impressive rise to chief claims officer of Euclid Specialty Managers (ESM), which provides fiduciary liability insurance, cyber, and crime coverage for employee benefit plans.
Hailing from the insurance capital of the world, Koonankeil has been in insurance his entire professional career. After graduating college, he handled claims for a large insurer while attending law school at night. A few career moves later, a former colleague recommended him for a job leading the management lines claims team for a specialty insurance start-up, where he stayed until he was recruited to be the chief claims officer for ESM in July 2019.
Advice for Aspiring Managers
“Management requires more than technical expertise; it involves being a leader and a person who people respect and like working for.”
Squaring the Roundtable
Koonankeil says claims file reviews are a helpful way to see how proactive adjusters are with their files, but they are also a great way to see how the adjuster interacts with defense counsel. Are they passive and just blindly accepting every recommendation put forth by counsel? Or are they working together with counsel and the insured to figure out the best way to deal with the next steps in the claim?
MPL and Fiduciary Claims Trends
“There has been an increase in Department of Labor investigations under the Trump administration, and we have also been seeing a focus on compliance with the Mental Health Parity Act.”
Practice Makes Perfect
When it comes to litigation partners, Koonankeil says he knows what he wants: a good negotiator who evaluates a case up front and gives it to him straight. Counsel who can read how good or bad a case is without conducting discovery or depositions and then help him figure out the best course of action are the ones who get his attention.
“I recently started an Indian food spice business, which I sell at Farmers’ Markets. I enjoy talking about Indian food, and it has been a great teaching tool for my kids, both in terms of finances and human interaction.”