I’ve been on my new job as a property claims desk adjuster for a few months now and I am close to getting a fraction of a clue. This is a job where I take phone calls, document them and try to move the claim forward if it is in my realm of authority. On any given day I will take dozens of calls ranging from dropped laptops and lost engagement rings to trees falling on fences and houseguests pooping in carpeted non-bathroom areas. I have also fielded such questions as “Does my homeowners policy cover the giant icicle that broke through my window?” and “Is my Fit Bit considered Valuable Personal Property?” I must say, I do enjoy the ever-changing nature of each day’s calls and the opportunity to help people. Even the cranky ones.
One of my fellow trainees asks me on occasion when we get particularly inundated with callers in distress if I am ready to return to the classroom yet. She knows I have a background in Early Childhood Education. She comes from law enforcement so I sweetly reply, “Don’t taze me bro.” No, actually I usually just ask her if she still gets free Dunkin Donuts.
I am finding there are some skills that I learned as a teacher that are helping me in my new insurance career.
1) Conflict Resolution – The same words and phrases that helped me manage when Sarah’s long ponytail kept encroaching on Brandon’s naptime mat return to me when explaining to a water mitigation company that the homeowner “needs her space.”
2) Multitasking – All teachers must master the art of firing off an email while giving a spelling test and simultaneously preparing for 3 parent-teacher conferences. Now I find myself counseling a crying tornado victim while documenting legal affidavits and also replying to a manager’s Instant Message about an upcoming training.
3) Respect – Every person, big or small benefits from being listened to, empathized with, and assured that someone is going to help them with their current problem, be it a bully, a burst pipe, a bad test grade or a baffling roofer’s estimate with recoverable depreciation. An understanding, sympathetic ear and patient explanation goes a long way in any profession.
Although I have traded the lunch bell for the beep of my phone headset and the teacher’s lounge for the conference room, I find it encouraging that my days in the classroom continue to train me in helping others.