Among the many new schools premiering at this year’s Claims College is the School of Insurance Fraud. Dean Cathy Gicker, special investigation unit (SIU) litigation specialist for Allstate, discusses her role in the school, its curriculum, and the knowledge she hopes first-year students come away with after finishing up their freshman year.
What is your role with the School of Insurance Fraud?
My involvement began in the fall of 2013, and it included putting together our executive council. I’m coordinating with our school’s executive council to develop and fine-tune the education curriculum. We started with Joanne Dagostino, vice president of corporate claims for Selective Insurance Company of America; John Hubert, SIU major case manager for Nationwide Insurance; Matt Berry, manager, special investigations for American National P&C; and Dwight Geddes, Metro Claims Management NYC. I then reached out to Brett Kelley, SIU manager with Personable Insurance; Bill Findle, claims manager with Liberty Insurance Agency; and Mike Skiba, senior investigator with Interboro/AutoOne Insurance to round out our team.
Our executive council is outstanding, and they deserve a lot of kudos. They are working hard to establish great content, good reference materials, and engaging presentations.
Who’s attending? Who should attend?
I think the design of the Claims College is geared towards newer SIU employees who have three-to-eight years of experience in the business. We also hope to attract claims professionals who have the career goal of getting into an SIU. We would love to see some managers who take care of a myriad of insurance lines and have dedicated people within their units who do SIU. Certainly we are looking for newer SIU employees who have a lesser experience level or a previous background in law enforcement, which is common in SIU departments.
What topics compose the curriculum?
We think insurance fraud has a lot of interesting angles to it—there’s a lot of drama and criminal activity associated with it. The executive council is developing the School of Insurance Fraud’s program to match that level of excitement.
We’re going to kick things off with an overview of the schemes and scams that are showing up in different lines of insurance today. We thought this broad overview of what’s happening in all of the lines would be a great way to start. After that, we will dive deeper into specific lines like auto, workers’ comp, property, first-party provider/medical fraud. Finally, we’ll finish with a session that will explain how to use today’s information technology in investigating a claim. This class, in particular, is taking a different approach; it’s not about finding the data—we all know to look at social media and Google for information. Instead, this class will explain how to actually use the material you find to further your investigation to an appropriate conclusion.
Part of the program also includes pre-work. Two executive council members are providing case studies and case law for the students to review. We also are requiring the students to read three Fraud Squad columns that we select, and three others that they choose on their own. We will be supplying all Fraud Squad columns that have appeared in Claims Management because they cover a lot of territory and a wide range of topics.
On Monday evening, we’re going to have two guest speakers from the Philadelphia district attorney’s office who were featured on an episode CNBC’s television show American Greed, which involved a staged accident ring in Philadelphia that included police, tow trucks, body shops, doctors, and a lawyer. They will show an edited version of the program and discuss their lengthy investigation and outcomes.
What are some things you want first-year students to take away?
The most important thing that our students need to understand is that fraud is a crime that affects the innocent citizen. We want to make sure that students understand that when someone commits insurance fraud, the financial impact is to all of us in the insurance buying community. It’s not just to one particular carrier; it affects all of us. We want to make sure our role is clear: to protect the rating system in every state. Fraud is not a victimless crime.
The second thing I want our students to learn is that there is an enormous network of fraud investigators that they can tap into if they run into problems.
Lastly, I hope students learn that by doing a good job and denying fraudulent claims or taking claims to litigation and winning them spreads goodwill to the insurance industry at large.
2014 Claims College
CLM’s Claims College is one of the most powerful educational opportunities available in the insurance industry today. Students in the program complete pre-course readings, attend classroom instruction, participate in group projects, and take comprehensive exams. Now in its second year, the 2014 session will take place from Sept. 7-10, 2014, at the Downtown Philadelphia Marriott.
Each school in the Claims College is focused on a specific discipline and provides a three-year program that is designed to enable students not only to improve in their current jobs, but also to advance in their careers. This year, four new schools have been added for a total of seven. Claims College schools include:
- School of Casualty Claims
- School of Construction - NEW!
- School of Insurance Fraud - NEW!
- School of Professional Lines
- School of Property - NEW!
- School of Transportation - NEW!
- School of Workers’ Compensation
Approximately 17 CE/CLE credits will be provided each year. Successful completion of all three levels of a school leads to a respected claims designation, which will become the industry standard for identifying the best and brightest claims professionals.
Seats are limited to 300 for the School of Casualty Claims and 100 for all other schools. Outside defense counsel registrations are limited to 25 students per school. Registration is open and space is filling up quickly, so register today at theclm.org/claimscollege.