This week was an exciting social week at AO. On Tuesday, the claims and legal department had their 3rd annual cornhole tournament at lunch. I participated in the tourney and they randomly paired us up with each other in order to meet new people. There was 2 divisions and 126 players. We also had hired the cafeteria to cook hot dogs and hamburgers and salads for lunch. Even though we didn’t win it was still a fun time. I got to get some fresh air and have some fun while meeting new people. It was nice to be able to put faces to the names of people that I email and communicate with.
On Thursday, we had our intern networking day. It ran from 9:30-1:30 including different networking activities for the interns as well as a free, paid lunch. We had three different groups for about 50 minutes each. We did speed networking (like speed dating) to get to know people and their background a little bit. Networking Pictionary was another activity. It was Pictionary with networking terms and was challenging but fun. Lastly, we had round table discussions with former interns who stayed on full-time with AO. It was interesting to see how things have changed in the past few years and their experiences in the different departments. I’m glad I was able to meet some more interns and find out more about their departments in case I wanted to try and switch departments next year. The HR team was really interactive and did a great job putting on the event. Plus the free, paid lunch from the cafeteria was a bonus (I had sushi).
The next intern event is in a month where we have a meet and greet and lunch with the senior officers. This will be a great experience to get to know some of the officers personally while continuing to meet other interns. It is always nice when you ask other people where they go and they say MSU, which is 90% of the interns. I am getting more claims now, 12 at the moment. Next week I will update everyone how my demands are going. Have a great weekend!
This week at Auto-Owners was a shortened one due to being on vacation Monday and Tuesday. There was still a lot going on in the world of subrogation. I have been continuing to work on reviewing claims and going over monthly reports. One of our team members had her baby on Tuesday afternoon so I will be taking over some of her duties while she is on maternity leave. As of this moment I am not exactly sure what those duties will be but I will find out on Monday.
I have finished most of my projects quicker than my boss and supervisor expected so I have had a decent amount of busy work some days. Sometimes this is good, but it can get very boring and tedious. I am one of the people that has access to the system to run asset checks for the reps. When they have a case where an insured’s limits are lower than the claim or someone is uninsured they ask us to run an asset check. The asset check gives almost all the information you need. It will give their name, birthdate, social security number, current and previous addresses and vehicles owned. Obviously, I can’t just look up anybody’s information. I need to have a request and a claim reference number otherwise I could face legal charges if I just started looking up people. These asset checks let our reps know if we should pursue the at-fault party and the chances that we will get our money back from them. The more assets, the better the chance of receiving money from them. We do not want to involve the legal team if they don’t have any way to pay us back the money from the claim.
Also, I had my 30 day review this week. I sat down with my manager to discuss how I am doing, what I like/dislike, etc. I received a lot of positive feedback and they are impressed with my progress and are going to give more difficult tasks to complete. I enjoy working for Auto-Owners and in the subrogation department. For my discussion post interview I learned a lot from her about her experiences and things that will help me in the future. We talked for about 45 minutes, and I’m sure I will be picking her brain with questions a couple times before the summer is over.
The numbers are in! We came in ahead of what we expected and finished the month around $6 million. This put our year to date total at $34.3 million and up $4 million from last year. Spirits were high when we found out. After talking to Scott, I understood that sometimes you have great months and sometimes you don’t. For him, he is currently just waiting on responses to his demands and the checks to come in. He is anxiously awaiting a $1.9 million check for one claim. It still blows my mind that one claim could accumulate that much money. He mainly deals with the property claims. When you send demands for subrogation, you might not see a check for a month of two. In a sense, you are always working for two months down the road. Scott has hit the $1 million club already for this year. To stay on pace for our goal, each team member must hit $1 million. Some of the people handle smaller claims or arbitration claims so don’t have a chance to bring in as much money as others. That makes it key for people like Scott to not slow down and try to get as much money as possible to help the team. I do not count as an intern for the $1 million “rule”, but my numbers do count towards our total. Currently, I am aiming for $10,000 by the end of summer if I can get some more claims to work on. I am eager to start dealing with more claims. I went through a list of tow bill claims this week (about 300) and have a few demands to write up and send out in the next few days.
Lately, I have been trying to ask a lot of questions and pick people’s brains to learn more. Everyone is very helpful and willing to answer my questions. It amazes me at the amount of technology we have that some people don’t utilize. I have done some things in excel and our claims system that people have asked me how to do. I find these basic skills but they are fascinated by them and ask me to show them how to do it. On Monday, Chris was showing me how he sends demands, and for the letter to email them he had to print it on letterhead, scan it and then email it. We were both talking about how it would simplify the process with electronic letterheads. The next day in our meeting, Alexa mentioned she created one and emailed it to us (what a coincidence). This will save a ton on paper use and eliminate the amount of paper we have to recycle. Today, I went into our subrogation letters folder and made a copy of the fillable letters to carriers and put the letterhead on them so they were saved. This way each person doesn’t have to copy and paste them for each letter. Some weeks people send out 15-20 demands. I am enjoying being a part of the team and adding value to the subrogation department.
While this week was a shortened week due to Memorial Day, there was still a lot going on in the subrogation department. As month’s end was growing near the team was eagerly awaiting this month’s subrogation numbers. These numbers are the amount of money that we are bringing back to Auto-Owners from pursuing other companies when their insured’s are at fault. Through April, the team has brought in over $26 million. It was mind blowing to me to think if that much money is coming back in, how much are we paying for claims. Being a Fortune-500 company and being located in 26 states means a lot of money flow.
We won’t know the actual numbers until Monday, but the talk around the office is that we are still on pace for beating last year. I say we because this week I was given my first claim to work on. This claim will only bring in about $800. Compared to the $26 million this year it seems minimal but I have to start somewhere. The claim representative handling this claim has done the work so far. They reviewed the claim and talked with the other insurance company to dispute liability. They settled on 50% liability. That means we can only ask for 50% of the money we paid for damages. They can also subrogate us for 50% of their client’s damages. I had to call the other company’s adjuster and get their email or fax to send our demand. We have pre-written documents for these demands. I then filled in the information and attached the pictures and payments as proof and sent it out. Now I wait for the check to come in.
Another exciting event for this week was the intern lunch today. All of the interns from the area, about 100, gathered in the Home Office for lunch. They provided us a lunch ticket to get food at the cafeteria. We got to meet other interns from the different departments. We had to stand up and introduce ourselves and tell our department, school and year. Not surprisingly, a majority of the interns go to MSU. After we ate, we had the opportunity to mingle with each other. I enjoy the fact that there is a sense of being a part of a team in such a big company in both Auto-Owners and our specific department.
This is my third week at Auto-Owners. I am located in the Home Office branch in Lansing. I am working in the subrogation department. A simple definition of subrogation is going after the at-fault party in accidents. For example, if you are insured with AO (Auto-Owners) and get into an accident caused by someone else, we will pay you for the claim and then go after the other person’s insurance company to get money back. Everyone in the subrogation department is very friendly and welcoming. I have gone out to lunch with some of the guys and gotten to know them outside of work. The transition has been easy because everyone is willing to help.
The Home Office is located on the west side of Lansing off of 496. A fun fact is that there is more employees in the Home Office (about 1,200) than there is residents of my hometown (Ubly-about 900). The building is equipped with its own cafeteria for employees to purchase meals for breakfast and lunch. They have about 4-5 options for lunch. They modeled the cafeteria design after Brody Cafeteria on campus. They also have a coffee bar open all day if you need an afternoon pick-me-up. There is a walking trail around a pond outside of the building that numerous employees take advantage of during their lunch hour.
During the first couple weeks I sat with everyone in the department (12 people) and they discussed the different parts of the job and computer system. After that, I started working on my own. I had to take four Kaplan courses on claims and investigation. These were long and tedious but I learned a lot. So far I have been reviewing files and invoices checking if there is a chance we can get more money back and that we paid all of our bills to the third-party vendors. I highly enjoy the freedom with this job. There are two supervisors I report to. They give me a project to work on and usually only check in once a day to see if I need help. If not, I work on the project and when I am done I go find them for the next one. I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer and learning more and gaining more responsibilities.