Finseca: Thank you for joining us today Victoria. To start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What has your journey into a case manager role looked like?
VS: My background was in banking so I didn’t have any experience in insurance and had never heard of a BGA before; I started with Underwriters Brokerage Service 8 years ago as a case manager – over this time working with different carriers allowed me to learn so much. I received my state life & health insurance license a few years ago and currently am the manager of our new business team.
Finseca: Let’s talk about your experience with the NCCM program. What do you think was your top takeaway given that you already had substantial experience when you completed it?
VS: I found the NCCM program to be quite comprehensive and captures how critical the case manager role is, from receiving the application all the way through placement – there is so much detail that goes into our job at different stages with many different departments and we have to anticipate or get in front of issues/problems that may arise and I think this program provided that.
Finseca: So do you think, as somebody who already had experience in the role prior to completing the program, it gave you more of a framework for what you already knew?
VS: I think that’s a good way to put it – yes. I remember thinking how beneficial this program would have for me when I first started, especially for someone that may not have insurance background or experience.
Finseca: What from the program has been most useful for your day-to-day work life?
VS: A goal is to always make the process easy and seamless for our advisors, so I think being aware of the type of submission methods is very helpful – what would work best for their client, electronic submissions may not, being aware of the lab-free processes, how that may impact how we submit the case, etc
Finseca: If you were talking to a new case manager who’s been in the role for six months or less and they were about to begin the program, what advice would you give them?
VS: That this program gives a clear picture of everything you are going to need to do. It may seem like an easy job to explain, but it’s different going through it because there is so much detail involved, at the same time it also gives a high-level explanation which is also important to hear or reinforce.
Finseca: What about an experienced case manager about to go through the program? What would you say to them?
VB: This program is a great refresher. It can be easy to do a job for a long time and be on autopilot and I think this program reinforces the importance of the case managers role.
Finseca: Let’s move away from the NCCM Program and talk more about the world of case management. What do you think is important for professionals in your role to be paying attention to right now?
VB: There are constant changes, so education is key. Being aware of changes, how that may impact paperwork, trainings, compliance – it’s important to make sure we can help advisors when they meet with their clients to have them prepared and set expectations.
Finseca: Where do you go to stay current? Where are you getting your education?
VB: The LIBRA website provides tremendous resources for our team so I use that often, as well as the carrier websites. When there are big changes, the carriers do a great job of keeping us updated from paperwork to regulation changes.
Finseca: What continuing education topics do you want to see as part of the NCCM program?
VB: I think the “Available Submission Methods” would be great to be a continuing education topic since there can be changes or updates to that often. I’d also like to learn more about electronic health records and how they are currently affecting the underwriting process at different carriers.
Finseca: Thank you for your time today Victoria. To wrap up, what would be your biggest piece of advice to a new case manager?
VB: Two things I feel that are needed to be successful as a case manager are attention to detail and the ability to get ahead of an issue or problem and over time that becomes easier. Repetition helps. Mistakes help too. When in doubt about a process, form, etc, call the carrier and get the answer direct. Prioritizing, that gets an honorable third mention – it’s so important and will help you tremendously.