I am a Claims Supervisor at EMC Insurance Companies. As a Claims Supervisor I supervise five claims adjusters of all levels nationwide, from mid-level adjusters to senior adjusters. My team handles general liability, construction defect and business auto claims for commercial businesses. I conduct monthly audits on my team’s claim files and regularly review all my team’s assigned claims at different intervals. I also review and critique disclaimer letters and reservation of rights letters. One of the most important and most enjoyable parts of my job is training, developing, and mentoring my team in all aspects of litigation, negotiating, evaluating, and settling a claim. In my position, I work closely with the executive leadership team, underwriting, actuarial, and the agent. Every day is different, and each claim has different facts, people, location, and circumstances which keeps it interesting and challenging.
I love to learn and have been able to achieve several designations which have helped me move up the corporate ladder in my insurance claims career. I would suggest the AIC (Association in Claims) designation to start off for anyone thinking about getting into a claims career. It gives a great overview of all aspects of the Claims Department.
I joined IAIP almost four years ago and it was the best decision I have ever made. I have learned so much and been able to be a part of several committees, task forces and groups. I have taken many classes including CWC, CLP and CLP-A. They have been valuable in helping make me a better leader and speaker. I am grateful to IAIP for different scholarships and awards and for having many volunteer opportunities to choose from.
Some things I wish I would have known before starting the insurance industry 20 years ago would be:
- Make sure that you look at all areas of insurance: agency, underwriting, actuarial, claims, marketing, etc.
- Don’t take it personally – in claims you are dealing with people on their worst day, and they may vent and take it out on you. Just remember it is not personal. Don’t take your work home with you. Let it go and move on to the next claim. Make the experience the best it can be by setting expectations early on.
- If you decide to make insurance your career – work on designations early. Most employers support designations and will reimburse or pay for them. Some even give bonuses upon completion.
- Talk to other insurance professionals about their experiences from all different departments. Culture in a company is everything.
- Obtain a mentor, either formally or informally. This will give you perspective and help you get to where you want to be.
- It is never too late to start over. I have been with several companies where there were layoffs or acquisitions. Nothing is permanent. Keep networking and know your strengths. You will end up where you are supposed to be.
Melissa Rageth started in the insurance industry over 20 years ago in the call center at State Farm. She has worked her way up the corporate ladder at various companies as a Claims Trainee, Claims Adjuster, Senior Claims Adjuster, Senior Litigation Specialist, Teams Lead and now Claims Supervisor. She enjoys learning all that she can about all lines of coverage and anything to do with leadership, mentoring, and coaching direct reports. In her free time, she likes to travel, do agility classes with her 75-pound Goldendoodle, sing, dance, and spend time with her nephews. She is involved heavily at the IAIP regional and international levels.