The insurance industry offers numerous rewarding career paths. In honor of Insurance Careers Month, we’re featuring three different generations of Alper Team Members to explore what they do and why they love coming to work every day.
Meet Glenda Gonzalez, Senior Claims Administrator and Baby Boomer.
What brought you to a career in the insurance industry and what roles have you had outside of Claims?
I was working for Underwriters Laboratory and wanted to change up my career path. I went to an employment agency (yes they had this kind of thing back in the 70’s) where I landed my first insurance job in 1977 at Home & Auto Insurance company. My supervisor was my mentor, but I also enrolled in my first insurance class (General Insurance) at the Insurance School of Chicago where I learned the basics: Property & Casualty, Life, and Health. This is when I realized that I had found my calling through my love of the industry and also the enjoyment I got from helping people.
Next, I transitioned to a small insurance agency as a claims advocate where I handled smaller claims. After that, I moved to a large insurance carrier in their Life & Casualty department. At that time, you went through a six month training program which I believe is a great tool for people starting out in the industry. I spent five years there handling commercial and personal lines. I learned quite a bit and was ready to expand my horizons.
I moved to what was USF&G insurance carrier (closed in 1998) where I started as an inside claim adjuster and was soon promoted to an outside adjuster, then supervisor, claim consultant, transportation specialist and finally unit claim manager. At this time I also began speaking at seminars, safety meetings, and working with loss control. I spent 17 years with this company until I was offered a position at C.N.A.
At this time in 1988, I was recommended to the Insurance School of Chicago, and they offered me a part time job as an instructor. I taught General Insurance as well as Associates in Claim classes. When I began there, class size was around 20 students. By 2011 the School closed its physical classrooms in favor of an internet-based curriculum. I enjoyed teaching students the knowledge I had gained from my years of experience and diverse roles, and found joy in seeing new students understand the complex world of insurance.
What do you like about claims handling?
Handling claims is a field I enjoy because it gives me the chance to work with different Clients. I love being presented with situations that are a challenge to resolve. Plus, my experience in underwriting gives me a great advantage.
Handling claims is a field I enjoy because it gives me the chance to work with different Clients. I love being presented with situations that are a challenge to resolve.
How has claims servicing changed over the years?
Social media and attorneys have changed the way people think about making claims. Everyone feels they are owed something.
As a senior claims administrator, I’m an advocate for our Clients. I work to protect Clients from claims that that they should not have to pay. At times we have situations where the other party is claiming more than what is due to them. Often I need to walk the adjuster through a case to show them that a claim doesn’t need to be paid out by our Client when the claim is false or extremely exaggerated.
One example is when our Client’s driver was reading a map and swerved into the opposite lane. This caused an oncoming vehicle to drive off the road in order to avoid hitting him. The other vehicle and our vehicle had no physical contact; however, the driver still tried to claim damage to three car seats The insurance company was going to pay the other driver for the new seats. We disagreed and advised if this was their policy then they should pay for them and not have our Client be accountable. The result was the insurance carrier paying for the seats but not charging our Client.
How would you advise someone to break into the insurance industry if they’re looking to start a career path or switch from their current career?
If someone wants to start a career in the insurance industry, I believe that taking classes is a great way to learn all you can about the different policies and the general basics.