Leading a Claims Department in a Time of Occupational Distancing: Meet Glenn Frankel, Manager of P&C Claims, North America
Ridge: On May 1 Glenn Frankel took the helm of the Gen Re P&C Claims Department for North America Treaty and Facultative business. Glenn has prior direct insurance and reinsurance experience from senior claims positions at three national insurance carriers and a major law firm in the Northeast. In “normal” times, he would be on the road meeting clients in person at visits and conferences. As Glenn is assuming his new role in virtual times, a blog interview is one of many ways for clients to get to know him.
Virtual onboarding is a topic on many of our minds these days, so let’s start there. Glenn, how did it go?
Glenn: I was actually the first employee to join the company after the COVID-19 pandemic and our shift to work from home. I am 6 weeks into the role and have only gotten to meet three Gen Re employees in person. But given the current circumstances, the onboarding went quite well.
Folks have uniformly gone above and beyond to welcome me, and it is easy to see that everyone is banding together during these challenging times to support one another and our clients. I picked up my new computer in an empty Stamford home office and joined the rest of the company in the virtual meeting world. Thanks to Microsoft Teams and Webex (as well as the unwavering support from our IT and Ops Departments), I hit the ground running with daily video meetings with the Gen Re claims team, underwriters, actuaries, managers and clients. Naturally I prefer chatting with co-workers in the office and sharing ideas with clients face-to-face, but we are definitely making this work.
Ridge: As a direct reinsurer, claims expertise is a core tenet of our promise. How does your claims experience have particular value for Gen Re clients?
Glenn: I’ve been fortunate to have had responsibilities over my career for not only many lines of coverage, but also for what I refer to as the “trifecta” of the claims world - direct, assumed and ceded insurance/reinsurance groups. It’s really the full circle of the business. It has provided valuable experience, insight and perspective on all the disciplines, and enabled me to form important relationships with critical industry resources, such as law firms, arbitrators and umpires, and senior insurance/reinsurance executives.
Additionally, I have spent a good portion of my career focused on developing GL losses/mass torts. Starting with asbestos and environmental claims, my work grew over time to encompass construction defect, life sciences, sexual molestation, opioid and concussion claims, for example. I am used to rolling up my sleeves, looking at new, complex issues, and working to develop and implement strategies and solutions. And I very much look forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge with Gen Re’s clients.
Ridge: How do you envision maintaining and growing relationships with client claims departments in a time of social distancing?
Glenn: Communication is key. And as I referenced earlier, the use of video technology helps bridge the gap. The little verbal cues and messages dramatically improve the quality of the conversation. We are embracing videoconferencing internally, and that practice is translating into better communications with our clients.
We conducted a property webinar on June 2 for over 100 clients featuring experts located around the country, and another is planned for the summer. We’re working with our Operations and IT departments to efficiently (and painlessly) conduct claims reviews remotely. Claims executives are already participating in large loss roundtables on Zoom with some clients, and we’re looking to incorporate video technology into future online seminars/conferences as well as more informal sessions.
Ridge: What are your top priorities for your first year at Gen Re?
Glenn: I think that is a fair question, but my honest answer is I am not yet sure. I am using my “first 100 days” to learn and absorb as much as I can and as quickly as I am able. What are we doing well and where can we improve? One of my go-tos is “If we’re not getting better, we’re getting worse,” and the one thing I do know is that we will diligently work to best employ and utilize our resources and processes to provide first class service to Gen Re’s clients. Ask me again in a few months!
Ridge: What will your first steps be when Gen Re and client offices open up?
Glenn: Once everyone is comfortable with it, priority number one will be to meet people in person. I want to see our clients in their environments, and get to know the individuals and their books of business. It may be a while before companies are allowing visitors, but at least we know that the technology is working well to keep us connected. I have a feeling that the world, and our workplace, is going to be forever changed by COVID-19. The upside is that we are learning technology and developing skills that we’re going to need going forward. Let’s embrace it, and continue to work together to deliver outstanding results!