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2017 Risk All Star: Tim Liberty

Creating Positive Vibrations in the Claims Department

Experiencing a period of rapid growth, Tampa’s Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners recognized that it needed a dedicated claims department, and wanted someone with workers’ comp experience to lead it. Tim Liberty, then a senior claim specialist for Liberty Mutual and a former Marine, fit the bill perfectly.

Tim Liberty, senior claims consultant, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Liberty came on board in 2015, and began building the new department’s processes and procedures from the ground up. BKS clients appreciated the changes right away.

“Our clients generally don’t have a risk manager, and they definitely don’t have [an internal] claims person, so I’ve been their go-to,” said Liberty, “which has relieved a lot of stress on the CFOs and the HR managers that we deal with.”

But Liberty had a bigger vision in mind for the department. Having worked on the other side of claims, Liberty understood how important it is to have positive working relationships with adjusters. So he took the time to say thank you, beginning with an adjuster who’d helped him lower a client’s loss ratio from 120 to 39 percent, lowering their experience mod and saving the client a significant amount of money.

Liberty sent the adjuster a framed certificate of appreciation, signed by founding partner Lowry Baldwin. It might seem like a small thing, but it meant a lot to the adjuster. Liberty said it’s still hanging on her wall.

“I’ve been in the trenches,” said Liberty.

“I know most people don’t like adjusters because they work for the ‘nasty insurance company’ and they deny claims and all of that. But I understand the role and I wanted to appreciate my adjusters as much as possible.”

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Liberty will routinely send small thoughtful gifts and thank-you notes to adjusters who go the extra mile, and he makes sure their supervisors hear about it as well. He sent the chief claims officer of a major carrier an email complimenting the work of an adjuster who’d done an excellent job handing a claim.

“She was kind of taken aback,” he said, “because the chief claims officer normally only gets the angry emails.”

“I’ve been in the trenches. I know most people don’t like adjusters because they work for the ‘nasty insurance company’ and they deny claims and all of that.” — Tim Liberty, senior claims consultant, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Carriers appreciate how Liberty and BKS treat their adjusters, and the positive vibe extends to the larger relationship that BKS has with its carriers. BKS has been able to ask for — and get — dedicated adjusters on certain accounts, and acceptance of special claims handling instructions that might go beyond what a carrier will normally agree to.
Because of the bonds that Liberty has forged with adjusters and carriers, he knows he can ask them to go above and beyond in terms of customer service.

“I’m able to get that done because they see what I do with their adjusters and that I recognize them,” said Liberty, and it’s also because BKS — and its clients — are growing at a healthy pace.

“They like BKS. They like doing business with us — I think we do business the right way. They want to keep us happy and grow with us as well. Everybody [is] on the same page and they want to grow together, so it hasn’t been too hard of a sell.” &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2017 Risk All Stars.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Black Swans

Black Swans: Yes, It Can Happen Here

In this year's Black Swan coverage, we focus on two events: An Atlantic mega-tsunami which would wipe out the East Coast and a killer global pandemic.
By: | July 30, 2018 • 2 min read

One of the most difficult phrases to digest without becoming frustrated or judgmental is the oft-repeated, “I never thought that could happen here.”

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Most painfully, we hear it time and time again in the aftermath of the mass school shootings that terrorize this country. Shocked parents and neighbors, viewing the carnage, voice that they can’t believe this happened in their neighborhood.

Not to be mean, but why couldn’t it happen in your neighborhood?

So it is with Black Swans, a phrase describing unforeseen events, made famous by the former trader and acerbic critic of academia Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

We at Risk & Insurance® define these events in insurance terms by saying that they are highly infrequent, yet could cause massive damages. This year, for our annual Black Swan issue, we present two very different scenarios, both of which would leave mass devastation in their wake.

A Mega-Tsunami Is Coming; Can the East Coast Even Prepare?, written by staff writer Autumn Heisler, profiles an Atlantic mega-tsunami, which would wipe out lives and commerce along the East Coast.

On the topic of whether the volcanic island of La Palma, the most northwestern of the Canary Islands, could erupt, split and trigger an Atlantic mega-tsunami, scientists are divided.

Researchers Steven Ward, a geophysicist at UC Santa Cruz, and Simon Day of University College London, say such a thing could happen. Other scientists say Day and Ward are dead wrong; it’s an impossibility.

One of the counter-arguments is backed up by the statement that there has never been an Atlantic mega-tsunami. It’s never happened before and thus, could never happen here. See exhibit “A” above, re: mass school shootings.

Viral Fear: How a Global Pandemic Kills an Economy, written by associate editor Katie Dwyer, depicts a killer global pandemic the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a century.

Tens of millions of people died during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.

Why it could happen again includes the fact that it’s happened before. The science on influenzas, which are constantly mutating, also supports just how dangerous a threat they pose to millions of people beyond the reach of antibiotics.

Should a mutating avian flu, for example, spread widely, we could see a 10 percent drop in GDP, mostly from non-physical business interruption.

As always here, the purpose is to do exactly what insurance modelers and underwriters do; no matter how massive the event, we create scenarios, quantify possible losses and discuss risk mitigation strategies. &

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]