The 2022 Executives to Watch: United Educators’ Kenneth June
Kenneth June’s foray into the insurance industry was serendipitous. He was a practicing lawyer representing the Board of Education of Prince George’s County in Maryland, which gave him a wealth of experience in litigation and education law. A colleague alerted June to an open claims counsel position at United Educators (UE), and curiosity led him to apply.
“Within a few weeks UE made me an offer. I accepted for two main reasons. First, UE’s mission to serve and defend education – which was personally meaningful since my father was a career educator: teacher, guidance counselor, and principal; and also the opportunity to use my law degree and experience outside of traditional law practice,” June said.
June has worn several hats within UE’s claims department, which they call Resolutions. Currently he leads the operations group, which is closely modeled after the legal operations discipline.
“Our team is responsible for developing and maintaining business applications and processes, financial management, and project management,” June said.
At the start of 2021, he also began leading UE’s strategic litigation management efforts, which entails developing cohesive policies and procedures to control claims costs and achieve better claims outcomes for members.
“UE, like most other carriers, is actively engaged in combating social inflation. Figuring out what we can and should do feels a bit daunting at times, because some of the drivers of social inflation are out of our control, such as societal mistrust of institutions including the schools, colleges and universities that make up our insured members, jurors who are swayed by emotions over facts, and the increasing occurrence of ‘nuclear verdicts,'” June said.
Leading through the unprecedented business disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging. While June’s teams have continued to be very productive, they have had to be more mindful to encourage staff to take greater care of their emotional wellbeing and mental health.
“My people leaders and I had to learn how to recruit talent in a more competitive 100%- virtual job market,” June said. “We also had to rethink our onboarding and training procedures.”
With respect to litigation management, June is working with multiple teams to examine UE’s claims handling processes, procedures, and recent results to reduce inefficiencies and identify opportunities to better leverage technology.
“I’ve also played a role in updating our business intelligence application and reporting tool to enhance our staff’s ability to access our wealth of claims data,” June said.
Looking ahead, June plans to continue advocating for the expansion of DEI within the industry.
“Even though we’ve seen and heard indications that our industry wants to be more inclusive, we are still in the early stages,” June said.
“It is still extremely rare for me to encounter other African-American insurance executives or coverage attorneys. I hope to inspire other people of color, who like me, take the leap into insurance.”
“My advice is to set high goals, develop relationships with multiple mentors and sponsors, volunteer to try new things within your companies particularly outside of your departments, and to courageously be true to yourself no matter how you identify. I’ve learned that each of our life experiences and unique perspectives have value and can have a powerful impact.” &