CLM Voices: Getting to Know Michael Baumel

Not many claims professionals find their way to the industry by way of the criminal prosecution courtroom.

December 28, 2017 Photo

Not many claims professionals find their way to the industry by way of the criminal prosecution courtroom, but that’s exactly how Baumel did it. Take a walk down his career path to see how he became such a fan of claims.

A Taxing Decision

Baumel began college as a business major with finance and accounting credentials, so his father suggested a career as a tax attorney. A criminal procedure class his first year of law school changed his mind, though, and the decision was cemented when he began clerking at a prosecutor’s office in Chicago.

On How His Extended Work as a Criminal Prosecutor Affected Him

“Absolutely, there are many similarities. Taking more than 50 felony jury verdicts helped me become a successful claims professional since I had deep experience thinking from the perspective of a juror. Much of the experience I gained as a trial lawyer ultimately helped shape me into the claims leader that I am today.”

Parallel Tracks

Baumel says there are several key similarities between being a prosecutor and a claims professional. First, both careers require excellent listening skills. Next, both require a clear understanding of the facts and the ability to obtain relevant information necessary for a particular claim. Third, you have to effectively understand the other side’s perspective. and anticipate counters. Lastly, both professions require the ability to make well-reasoned decisions in a short amount of time.

What He Loves About His Work

“Without exception, a claims professional learns something new every single day. There are really no two claims that are absolutely identical.”

Data Mining Strategy

“Claims departments can position their companies for success by generating meaningful data and working to position claims as a value-added service within their companies. Our ability to provide real-time information to our underwriting partners is critical, as is the service we bring to our customers.”

Brain Games

Baumel says that to be the best in this profession, you need to understand and be responsive to the needs of your customers. In that way, claims professionals have the chance to learn something new every day while helping people and companies in their times of need. Baumel also enjoys the problem-solving aspects of the profession, which he suspects is a quality he shares with many other claims professionals.

On Giving Back

“During my early years as a prosecutor, I helped a domestic violence victim and her family find shelter in a Chicago-based program for battered women/children. I was so taken with their work that I began volunteering there the following week. I involved my family and served as president of the shelter’s board for many of my 22 years of volunteering there.”


About The Authors
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith is president of Suite 200 Solutions.

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