Brad Keeling, a Health and Kinesiology graduate, never imagined he would land a role in the insurance industry. He saw the insurance industry as a stepping stone to gain some valuable experience using his health industry skills. That was 6 years ago. Learn how Brad leveraged his health knowledge to hatch a rewarding and meaningful career in the insurance industry.
From Kinesiology to Claims
Brad Keeling took the scenic route into his career, working many different jobs, and trying new things before he enrolled in a post-secondary degree. Brad worked as a personal trainer while completing a double honours degree in Health and Society, and Kinesiology and Health Science, from York University. After graduation, he was eager and ready to start his career in the health industry. However, his search became more difficult after regulatory changes were instituted. While browsing the Ontario Kinesiology Association (OKA) website, Brad stumbled upon a posting for a bodily injury adjuster. He realized the opportunity was a great way to break into the health industry. Drawn to the stability of the insurance industry and that the position was officially recognized by OKA, he decided to apply. Initially, he expected the role to be temporary, but after 6 years in the insurance industry nothing could be further from the case and Brad couldn’t be happier.
Change in Mindset
Before entering the insurance industry, Brad saw insurers as big cold corporations — the “bad guys” — believing the negative myths and stereotypes he heard. He had the mistaken impression that the insurance industry wasn’t helping people and providing them care the way other health services did. He realized he was wrong almost immediately after entering the insurance industry. “The industry is all about doing the right thing and helping people out”, Brad explains. When Brad realized how wrong he’d been, he became more interested in exploring what insurance had to offer and how he could utilize his education to help people within his role in the industry.
In Brad’s current role he works as a Technical Specialist and is primarily responsible for assisting on auto bodily injury and property liability claims. Brad gets a lot of satisfaction from his job. He especially loves it when, “I am able to help someone that really needs help. If they have been in a bad accident and I can do my part to help them get on with their life and do the things they want to.” Brad is able to put his medical knowledge to use and help make a difference in someone’s life every day.
Every day Is Different
No day is ever the same for Brad, because every accident involves unique circumstances. On an average day Brad reviews his case load of files, which involves reading over incident reports, policies and contracts, and medical claims. He then assesses the situation to make sure all the facts line up and that it’s in accordance with the policy. Each situation is handled with care for the person, the financials, and the reputation of the company. It requires a lot of empathy and business knowledge to decide on the best solution for all parties. Brad says, “[we] take it all in and do what we can that’s best for everybody…at the end of the day you are providing a service and peace of mind to the client.”
Constant Learning and Growth
Through his 6 years in the industry Brad has grown and developed personally and professionally. The supportive culture and people in the insurance industry have helped contribute to this continuous learning. “Each person brings different experience and perspective,” Brad says about his coworkers. By learning from coworkers’ experiences, Brad is able to gain new perspectives to better assess and assist with claims. He is also focused on continually learning about his role and the insurance industry in general. Since starting in insurance 6 years ago, Brad has completed his Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) designation, Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designation, and the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation among many others. His passion for learning makes him successful in his role.
“The industry is more diverse than a lot of people realize.” Brad says. The more commonly known roles like sales, claims, underwriting, and actuarial roles do all exist, but the insurance industry also includes some exciting roles you would not expect to find. For insurance to respond to a more technologically advanced world than ever, it’s increasingly necessary to create, implement, and adapt policy around new changes in technology. This fast paced change creates exciting opportunities for people with more diverse backgrounds to join the insurance industry. The insurance industry is so large and multifaceted; there is a place for people of all educational and skills backgrounds to fit in.
Skills to Succeed
To succeed in the insurance industry Brad says it comes down to 3 main skills: adaptability, willingness to learn, and communication. You need to be able to adapt to the changing environment. With continual regulatory and policy changes, a successful professional in insurance needs to be creative, flexible, and adaptable in order to flourish in these situations and react accordingly. With the complex nature of the industry and the rapid changes that happen, you need to have the drive and willingness to constantly learn to succeed. There are many certifications, and courses available to help you increase your knowledge of the insurance industry and advance your career. Finally, you need to have strong communication and listening skills. In many insurance cases, the information you are dealing with is personal and sensitive, so you need to be able to show empathy and communicate solutions clearly to clients. With these skills and an open mind that embraces change with a desire to help others, anyone can succeed in the insurance industry.
Advice to Graduates Looking to Hatch an Insurance Career
1. Be open to the opportunity itself – take time to really understand what the role entails and be open to it.
2. Challenge yourself and what a career in insurance could be. You have the opportunity to develop and grow as the industry changes, embrace that.
3. Ask questions to those around you who have more experience. There’s a lot of value to gain from people who have experience in the industry, learn from them and pass that knowledge on.