March is Women’s History Month, and this month I’m meeting the women here at Hastings Mutual who work with your local independent insurance agent. Though it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other in person, I got to know them a little better when putting this blog post together. Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed hearing from them too.
Stephanie K., Senior Commercial Lines Underwriter
As a commercial underwriter, Stephanie examines small and mid-size businesses to see if they’re an appropriate risk for Hastings Mutual to offer coverage.
Julie K., Casualty General Adjuster
An adjuster determines a fair settlement amount when there’s a claim on an insurance policy.
Julie said, “I am responsible for direct handling of specified complex litigated matters and for the development and training of casualty adjusters.”
Cindy F., Inside Territory Manager
A territory manager works with agencies to help them earn and keep successful business. Cindy is based in our home office in Hastings, Michigan, but works with agencies throughout Indiana and Ohio.
Cindy said, “I am part of the marketing response team which responds to calls and emails from agents in my assigned region for any need they may have. I am also active in several corporate projects.”
I met with a guidance counselor (at Olivet College) to discuss a major and found that the insurance and risk management program had 99% job placement after graduation. Not only was I interested in the idea that I would not have a hard time finding a job post-college, but I have also come to find that I thoroughly enjoy working within the insurance industry.
A neighbor of mine, who was a VP at a large insurance agency, talked highly of the insurance industry and was instrumental in helping me land my first job in the Claim world.
While still in high school, I accepted a co-op job through the (school’s) skill center. It was just supposed to be a summer job at an insurance agency answering phones and taking payments. I worked part-time through my senior year in high school and when I graduated, they hired me full time. I am now in my 38th year in the insurance industry.
Working as an underwriter can be challenging yet rewarding. It is always a great feeling when working with an agency on the quoting process and being able to eventually bind the business (make the sale). It is a win-win situation for the agency, policyholder and Hastings Mutual in many ways. I have very much enjoyed working with agency partners and being able to assist them with quoting, writing new business, and providing any other assistance when needed.
As I have worked in Claim for over 40 years, there have been many great experiences with both policyholders and agents; however, the most gratifying experiences have been in being there for those in need and realizing just how impactful we are in Claim. Putting the customer at ease by explaining the claim process and being readily accessible to answer questions as they navigate through the process brings a sense of pride, knowing that we play such a pivotal role in helping to resolve the issue at hand. Also, in my role of training and development, it is wonderful to see adjusters learn, grow, and succeed in both their current roles and often times into roles of greater responsibility.
Currently, I am the liaison to our partnership with the National Farmers Union. I have a booth at their annual convention each year. While manning the booth, there is always a possibility of meeting some of our policyholders who may also be Farmers Union members. At one convention in particular, I was having a casual conversation with a farmer and his wife, and throughout the course of our conversation, it was revealed that this man knew my father, who also farmed long ago. I will never forget that interaction. I look for that couple at every convention now.
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Hastings Mutual Insurance Company
404 E. Woodlawn Ave.
Hastings, MI 49058
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EST)