CHRONOVO CONVO #3: Kelly Webb, National Director of Claims, Albertsons Companies
Industry leaders are a wonderful source of perspective on the opportunities and challenges that claims professionals face every day. Kelly Webb, National Director of Claims, Albertsons Companies, shared her thoughts about new technology and the continued importance of soft skills.
Chronovo: What’s your background and current position?
Webb: I started in the insurance industry in 1980 as a workers’ compensation claim examiner. Since that time, I’ve worked in underwriting and multi-line claims, as well as workers’ compensation. Currently I’m the National Director of Claims at Albertsons, one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. I manage all lines of insurance claims.
Chronovo: What are the most important qualities you aspire to as a claims professional?
Webb: Customer service and claims advocacy are extremely important for claims handling, both for customer claims and when dealing with our injured employees. This also extends to our relationships with our vendor partners and other external customers. When we are empathetic and learn to communicate clearly and honestly, we get better results. Claims professionals who combine these so-called soft skills with technical knowledge add real value—and build relationships along the way.
Chronovo: Has a structure ever led to a success in claims that you or your company may not have had otherwise?
Webb: Our claims philosophy at Albertsons has always been to settle our cases fully and finally when we can. Using structured settlements allows us to negotiate those tough claims for guaranteed settlements. This leaves money for the claimant and family going forward. It has provided the difference in settling difficult and complex cases.
Chronovo: What is your proudest moment in claims or claims leadership?
Webb: Being part of several mergers and acquisitions in my prior job at Chevron and the merger of Albertsons/Safeway have brought many very exciting challenges. Identifying synergies and implementing a plan for all the parts and processes that go into merging companies’ claims systems are hugely satisfying experiences.
Chronovo: How has the claims industry changed in the past ten years?
Webb: Technology has come such a long way since I first started in claims. From simple mainframe claim systems with huge paper files to our current paperless claims files and data driven systems, we now have so much more capability for analyzing our claims programs. We also have predictive modeling and benchmarking capabilities. Big Data and other analytics pinpoint opportunities for process improvement and cost savings. There are so many new technologies: digitization, drones, machine learning, etc. I’m excited to see where all of this will bring us in the future.
Chronovo: If you could change one thing about how the property and casualty industry functions, what would it be?
Webb: We could do a better job recruiting and retaining our personnel. With all the technical advancements, we need to bring in highly skilled individuals to fill the void of the folks who are retiring. It’s no secret that our current workforce is aging. We also need to prioritize the development of our current staff in order to promote from within.