Tell us about yourself as a professional. Do you have a special interest or area of expertise,
unusual background or experience, or a topic or skill you’re working to get better at?
I'm surprised that I ended up in insurance and risk management, but maybe I shouldn't be. My father is a retired independent insurance adjuster, so I grew up learning about the industry. While in law school at the University of North Carolina, I took insurance law because I heard the professor was the best on campus. My first job was a at small insurance defense firm where I got immediate experience working with carriers, meeting policyholders, and litigating claims. For the last decade I've worked at United Educators (UE), the premier provider of liability insurance and risk management services for educational institutions.
My entire career has been dedicated to risk and insurance and I've built an area of expertise in the education sector. UE advises over 1600 schools, colleges, universities, theaters, and museums across the country. These insureds encounter the same risks as other insureds (slip and fall claims, employment discrimination lawsuits), but they also encounter distinct harms like reputational risk, falling enrollment, and culture war issues.
Why are you passionate about working in insurance and/or risk management?
Insurance and risk management is a rewarding career path for three reasons.
First, every day is different. Insurance companies insure many types of people, businesses, and places. Each insured has a unique set of problems to solve and risks to tackle. My work is endlessly varied; one day I'm helping one of our members with a federal compliance issue, and the next I'm advising them on study abroad risks. You'll never be bored with what's on your desk.
Second, we have the opportunity to make the world a safer and better place. Our industry is sitting on a mountain of data. By taking that information, we can give our insureds the information to make choices that improve the health and safety of their communities. Furthermore, when things go wrong, insurance is a tool that helps people put their lives back together.
Third, the industry is becoming more diverse. I've seen incredible changes over the last decade. Insurance companies recognize that fostering increased diversity, equity, and inclusion is the right thing to do, good for business, and key to retaining and attracting top talent. At UE we recently formed an Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA). IDEA is helping our company set up employee resource groups, and I'm excited to join our brand new LGBTQ+ group. I'm a gay man with a disability, and it's nice to know I can bring those identities to work.
Tell us about something you enjoy outside of work, a cause you support, a hobby, family activity, or anything else that is important to you.
My great passions in life are reading and travel.
I'm in a book club in Washington, DC. We've been meeting for 7 years and we've read almost 50 books together. I'm also lucky to have a lot of coworkers who are bookworms - they're very generous with their reading recommendations and book loans!
Last summer I achieved a goal of visiting all 50 states. My final state was Alaska. I hiked in national parks, flew in a seaplane around Denali, took a glacier cruise, and visited a sled dog kennel. Travel is the greatest experience; you meet new people, try new food, and ultimately learn about yourself. Nothing puts your life in perspective like feeling small in front of a giant, ancient glacier. Someday I'd like to visit all 7 continents.
In your opinion, what’s the best thing about being a CPCU Society member?
The people. I had a rewarding experience at In2Risk 2019 when I officially joined the Society. My local chapter is made up of dedicated and friendly folks who are very generous with their time. I hope we continue to find ways to make those connections.
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