The insurance industry is a sector that can truly make a difference to the lives of the individuals, communities and businesses it serves. Whether providing much-needed support to families following a house fire or enabling swathes of businesses to recover after a major hurricane, the industry regularly stands tall.
In its latest roster, Insurance Business Magazine’s ‘Insurance Business Global 100’ recognizes some of those who have stood out from the insurance crowd over the last 12 months, honoring leaders in all sectors who “are actually making a difference in today’s market”.
This year that list includes Heather Mathews, senior vice president of the National Claims Management Centre (NCMC) at Crawford. Now celebrating her 28th year with the company, we asked Heather what it means to be an adjuster today.
“For me, it is fundamentally about helping people – that’s what we truly do,” she explains. “When I was a frontline loss adjuster, I made sure to keep that fact in front of mind at all times. There is no doubt that what we do on a day-to-day basis is tough and we can encounter a degree of negativity on occasion – no person wants to be in a situation that requires them to make a claim. But we have to remember that we are there to help them through that tough time.”
Since joining Crawford, Heather has worked her way up through the organization and has a career history that touches almost every part of the company.
“I started as a field adjuster handling all lines of claims for what would now be called Crawford Claims Solutions (CCS),” she says. “During my time at Crawford, I have worked in sales, operations, CCS and Broadspire, and even had a secondment to the HR department at one point.”
That depth of expertise is vital given the nature of her present position. An expansive role, as SVP in the NCMC Heather, is responsible for budgeting, forecasting, interacting with existing and prospective clients, managing resources and overseeing continuous improvement in regard to workflows and processes.
Appointed to the post in 2012, she also played an instrumental part in the development and execution of the NCMC. The business units within the division include personal, commercial, human risk and special lines claims, along with appraisal management services, their 24/7 contact center CLAIMSALERT, and administrative support services.
Given the trajectory of her career, it is not surprising that Heather highlights both the people within the company and the opportunities it offers as key reasons for working at Crawford.
“Crawford is a very large company that encompasses a wide range of expertise,” she says. “We offer our clients a very diverse set of services delivered by some exceptionally talented people. That makes for an environment in which there are multiple opportunities to advance and diversify your career.”
When asked what instances stand out over the last 27 years having worked across so many different areas, Heather is quick to highlight one project which demonstrated just how far Crawford employees will go to help restore and enhance lives, businesses and communities.
“2013 when Toronto flooded really stands out for me,” she explains. “It was such a major event that we had 150 CAT adjusters from the US come to Canada to provide support. I was part of the ‘bunker’ in our office in the suburbs of Toronto and worked long hours every day for about six months as part of the management of the teams, working with clients and adjusters to ensure we managed all of the claims and everyone’s expectations. It was tough but extremely rewarding.”
And when Heather does get an opportunity to put her feet up, that’s the last thing she does. “I love anything that involves being in the outdoors,” she states. “That covers everything from camping and hiking to snowmobiling and downhill skiing.”
For Heather it’s not just about standing out, it’s also about never standing still whether that’s in the workplace or in the great outdoors.