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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

Risk Management

The Profession: Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

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A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]