“…we need to work with professionals who are able to evaluate complex situations and develop creative solutions utilizing the vast tools and resources available within our industry.”
We recently spoke with Irina Simpson, MBA, CPDM, VP Field Operations at PMA Management Corp. and PMA Management Corp. of New England about her priorities and perspectives on an industry undergoing tremendous change.
Chronovo: Tell us about your current position and background in the insurance industry.
Simpson: I’m responsible for managing PMA Management Corp.’s large accounts and overseeing strategic partnerships. I also lead business support, compliance, client transitions, data analytics teams and product development. Over my career, I have served in positions of increased responsibility in the fields of claims, managed care and operations.
Chronovo: What are the most important qualities you aspire to emulate as a claims professional?
Simpson: Customer service and thinking outside the box. Our claims professionals touch hundreds of thousands of people at very difficult times in their lives. People are hurt, scared and concerned about providing for their families. We need to show empathy and build rapport with our clients. The only way to achieve that is through exceptional customer service. However, outstanding customer service alone is not sufficient to impact our clients’ total cost of risk. To do that, we need to work with professionals who are able to evaluate complex situations and develop creative solutions utilizing the vast tools and resources available within our industry.
Chronovo: Has a structure ever led to a success in claims that you or your company may not have had otherwise?
Simpson: Yes, absolutely. We’ve successfully resolved many cases via structures. We deal with very sophisticated risk managers who are tasked with protecting the assets of their companies, including some of their most important assets—their human resources and their customers. Employees or customers and their families are often afraid to make a switch from the comfort of receiving a weekly disability payment to a lump sum settlement, especially on difficult lifetime cases. These are the cases where a creative structure can provide significant peace of mind to the entire family. When handled right, a structure can provide a combination of a lump sum for any immediate family needs and ongoing weekly payments that offer security and stability for the injured employee.
Chronovo: How has the claims industry changed in the past 10 years?
Simpson: The industry focus has made a strong shift from being driven by cost reduction and aggressive claims handling to employee advocacy, patient-centric managed care and emphasis on customer service across all platforms. This change impacts how we hire, train and grow our adjusting personnel and how we evaluate and build product offerings for our clients, their employees, and their customers, not to mention how we develop the total cost of risk reduction strategies.
Chronovo: If you could change one thing about how the property and casualty industry functions, what would it be?
Simpson: Our industry is undergoing a generational transformation. We are witnessing a large retirement wave, with experienced adjusting workforce exiting the industry at a faster pace than we can attract younger generation to our jobs. I would love to see us create more appeal and interest in insurance and claims industries with the younger generations.
Chronovo: What is your proudest moment in claims or claims leadership?
Simpson: I’m most proud to see the growth and success of my teams. Over my career I’ve had the honor to work with individuals with immense potential. Many of them started in our industry as claims or clerical trainees and have been elevated to manager and director positions across various organizations. Being able to contribute to their success and to support them in their undertakings is a privilege and a point of great pride for me.