Auto-Owners week 10

An exciting week at AO yet again. One of our remote co-workers was up from Florida and we had a team lunch on Wednesday. We had our last intern event of the summer on Thursday. Along with all of the other everyday subrogation tasks. The week was extremely busy as well since I was packing and cleaning my apartment all week to move out.

Blake works on our subrogation team out of Florida. The three remote employees come to Home-Office once a year. When they come up, the team goes to lunch. We went to Red Robin on Wednesday. I had the guacamole burger. It was delicious. Wednesday was also the first day back for Stacy, who has been on maternity leave for the last 6 weeks.

Handling claims this week was alright. I didn’t have as many to work on as the past couple weeks. I received a small recovery and processed it. I also received my first denial letter saying they wouldn’t pay my demand because the statute bans recovery on the claim so that was disappointing. I have been helping Nicole get caught up on a couple of her reports. One of them is the statute of limitations report. We have to review the claim and make sure we get the recovery or the other carrier is put on notice to protect the statute and our right to subrogate.

Our last intern event was a fun one. It was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel next to Home-Office. Auto-Owners actually owns the hotel as well. We had some generic ice breakers to start the event. After, we were given scenarios and had to figure out which generation relates to them the most. While I am on the border of being a millennial/generation z, I found out I relate most to the baby boomer generation after a short personality test. Next, we had lunch with a senior officer to get to know them better and interact. We had salad, meatballs, chicken, pasta and green beans for lunch. It was nice to talk to some of the company’s highest ranking employees and get their perspective. Finally, we had a Q & A with Auto-Owners CEO Jeff Harrold. He is a funny guy. The questions were mixed between business and comical ones. It was neat that he was interacting and getting to know the interns on a personal level. Not many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies do that. We also received a very nice Auto-Owners portfolio binder as a gift for our internship. This company has been great to work for this summer, and I look forward to continuing to grow while working for them.



AO Week 9

Another week down at Auto-Owners. Looking back and realizing that it doesn’t feel like I’ve had this internship for almost 3 months already. It has gone by so fast, but I have learned so much. I received some good news yesterday from my boss. Last month, I expressed my interest to her about staying on and working part-time during the school year. She informed me yesterday that it has been approved for me to continue working after the internship is technically over. There is a few HR things to deal with since I’ll be switching from an intern to a part-time employee, but other than that nothing will change. It will be nice because if, by chance, I come back next summer and after I graduate, this year will count towards my years of service and bonuses. I am excited to continue working for AO and the subrogation department. This will allow me to continue learning and giving me real world experience.

Also, my manager wants to set up days for me to shadow other departments and get a broader view of the company. This will be very beneficial for me in case I choose to come back next year. I will have a better understanding of what each department does and will be able to choose which department I would enjoy working with. I am working on setting up an interview with the SIU (Special Investigations Unit) manager to use as a source for my resource paper. This will give me a chance to talk to someone who deals with insurance fraud on a daily basis.

Today we get ice cream at work. AO is having a first year in the new century celebration. It is Auto-Owners 101st year doing business. They are having a celebration for the employees to thank them for all of the hard work they do. Little things like this boosts morale around the office. We have a time slot by our last name after lunch to go enjoy for a few minutes. There is a variety of specialty popcorn along with a sundae bar. That will be a tasty afternoon snack!


Auto-Owners week 8

This week at AO seemed like it took forever. Partially because it was my first full week in 3 weeks due to a vacation and the 4th of July. The other reason it was slow was because I didn’t have much to do towards the end of the week. I was trying to do little odd jobs and things like that.

One observation I have made over the last few jobs I have had is that coffee makes the business world run. Almost everyone in my department has at least one cup a day. We even have our own barista bar downstairs so we can purchase decent coffee and smoothies, and every break room has a Keurig to use. I try to not rely on coffee or other caffeine much, but this week it was necessary. I didn’t get much sleep on Tuesday night due to a Jimmy Buffet concert at DTE. It was awesome besides getting down poured on after the encore and having to drive back to Lansing in wet clothes. The storms also put a damper on my week due to multiple power outages and not being able to cook any food. This allowed me to get to know some of the guys at work better because I joined them out to eat for lunch every day.

Chris left on vacation for 2 weeks to Europe so hopefully I will be getting some of the claims that he would be getting. They have been giving me easier, straight forward claims to handle which I am happy about. I still don’t know enough about claims to handle some of the trickier ones and don’t want to cost the company money by messing up. I did have a couple slight mishaps this week with my claims. The one I added incorrectly and had wrong numbers on the demand so the other carrier asked for clarification. We also must put proof and documentation about what we pay and why. I don’t feel as bad because it took my supervisor a while to figure what the actual number should be, and she had to ask for help too. The other claim I handled made me mad. I was assigned the claim, reviewed it and sent out a demand two weeks ago. This week I received the check for $1,300.00 and processed the recovery. Today, I got an email saying it was our third-party vendor’s recovery. They sent their demand 3 days before I did, and something on our computer system messed up when they sent it back to us to handle. At least we got the recovery, but it would’ve been nice to add to my numbers and not have to pay their recovery fee. You win some and lose some, I guess. I hope everyone had a great week!

Auto-Owners week 7

It was another short week here at AO due to the 4th of July. It is a weird feeling getting paid for holidays, but I’m not complaining. The office seems empty this week because most people took three vacation days to make it a whole week. Our department only has half of the workers right now.

I was given a few tasks before my supervisor left for the week and ended up finishing them this morning. I asked some of my co-workers if they had anything they needed help with to occupy my time. I reviewed a quarterly arson report to verify if there was or wasn’t subrogation and if we recovered money. I also felt like the old version, stereotypical intern who does mindless jobs for about an hour today. The girl who processes our checks is out this week so I did some of them for her. I had to open the envelopes and go scan them into our system. It was an easy but tedious job. After I scanned them in, she will sort through them and put them in the right files and handle the rest of it.

During the time I was scanning and processing checks I found another few recoveries that I made. The one was for $1,300.00 and another couple were small tow bills for under $100. My total money recovered is now a couple hundred short of $3,000.00. I sent out more demands this week, and I am anxiously waiting for them to come in and see how much I get.

If anyone is wondering what $1 million looks like, look at the photo attached. One of my co-workers had a fire property claim worth just under $2 million. After legal fees and inspections were paid he brought in $1,256,666.64. It is still crazy to me to think about that big of numbers going in and out of the company each day. Our June numbers haven’t come out yet, but we are all curious to see if we are still above pace from last year as we are now done with the 2nd quarter. Tune in next week to find out our June subrogation numbers. Have a good weekend!


Auto-Owners Week 6

Every week at AO so far has been an exciting one. This week was shortened for me as I was up north for Monday and Tuesday on a family vacation. My boss has been really good about me taking a day or two off. She understands that it is summer and I’m in college. I am thankful for this because some jobs could not let me take time as easily as they have been.

Wednesday was National Subrogation Professionals Day. Of course, we had a pot luck. Our theme was money since we bring money into the company. I made cha-ching buffalo chicken dip. It was fun, our department had lunch together and it was sort of a team building day. We got shirts made and had cake to celebrate the hard work that goes on every day.

I was very excited Wednesday as well because I was told that some of my recoveries came in from claims I worked on. I received an $854.09 check along with a few other small ones. One of my co-workers showed me how to process the check in both of our systems. All members of the team must keep a running total for how much money we bring in and with the 5 checks I received I am at $1,253.54. I was very happy because I didn’t know if I’d even be able to work on claims this summer. Now, I am bringing in over $1,000 without even working two months yet. Currently, I have about 12 claims I am working on along with some reports. I have sent out 4 demands and I’m working on sending the rest out. I am learning what I can and can’t subrogate for in terms of different coverages and states. It is interesting learning things you can and can’t send out in your demands. Some things need the insured’s approval and signed release, such as medical bills and pay stubs. I am looking forward to bringing in even more money for the company. I also must keep a monthly report and send to my boss. This is very helpful for me reflecting back on how much work I did as well as a good start to my portfolio I need to make at the end of the summer for this class.

Auto-Owners Week 5

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!


Week 4 Auto-Owners

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.

Auto-Owners Week 3

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.

Auto-Owners Week 2

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.

Auto-Owners week 1

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.