Leveraging a legal education in insurance

The insurance industry is growing and has a high need for talented professionals with a variety of training and skills. Recruiters are asking job seekers “where do you fit in?” In this series, Cincinnati Insurance associates describe their own career journeys.


 

Where I fit in_16x9_GarnerAs a young girl, I think I always knew I would go to law school. After all, my dad earned his Juris Doctor degree when I was just a tot. My sweet 16 birthday cake included a buttercream icing inscribed with a happy birthday wish to the future lawyer, ballerina…and a few other vocations. It was a big cake!

When I entered law school many years later, however, I thought, “Uh oh…this may have been a mistake!” Learning many of the legal concepts and principles was an exercise in mental gymnastics. Then, there was that Legislation course we were required to take. An entire course dedicated to studying the rules of legislative analysis, construction, and interpretation was, to say the least, not thrilling. (I would learn to appreciate that class later.) Nonetheless, I persevered, graduated and passed the Ohio Bar exam that fall.

Following graduation, I worked at a law firm. It was clear after a few months that a career in a firm was not for me. Now what?

One day I ran into my neighbor while we were checking our mail. He worked at Cincinnati Insurance at the time and suggested I apply for a job. I did and spent the first several months training to become a commercial lines underwriter. But once I learned about the Staff Underwriting department, I began inquiring about opportunities there. Staff Underwriting is responsible for developing our rules and forms, and working with pricing analysts in the development of our rates. We then file everything with the various state departments of insurance. The compliance component  ̶  preparing filings that complied with state insurance laws and regulations  ̶  piqued my interest.

I transferred the next year. Although I started as a filings analyst responsible for five or six states, I regularly fielded questions from my team related to statutory and regulatory interpretation and frequently researched issues involving multiple states or multiple types of insurance. Eventually, my manager and department head suggested we establish, and I head up, a unit responsible for researching and reviewing legislation, statutes and regulations that impact property and casualty insurers (for example, filing requirements, rates, underwriting rules, claims procedures and notice requirements) and communicating effective compliance. Aha! Taking that Legislation course paid off.

More than 10 years later, the Regulatory Affairs unit continues to serve the company. The unit also apprises various business units of legislative changes and industry developments; assists in drafting language in revised insurance endorsements; drafts and reviews summaries of insurance statutory changes; and monitors insurance-related and state legislature websites.

I have worked at the company since 1996. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to leverage my legal education, although I am not practicing law. And I am certainly glad I ran into my neighbor at my mailbox those many years ago.

For more information about a variety of insurance careers, please visit the Insurancecareers.org website or Facebook page sponsored by Ohio’s insurance industry. Cincinnati Insurance posts open positions on our website.


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