How does a large company tackle complex business challenges in imaginative ways? One effective method is to tap into the creativity data-driven employees bring to the table, providing them development opportunities and generating outcomes to create the products that best serve our customers.
Bring on the friendly competition.
During the 2020 Virtual Predictive Modeling Competition, 75 companywide data scientists, data engineers and technology-oriented employees formed into 21 teams with one challenge: to develop a new model that helps our Claim organization more swiftly predict the severity of an accident at faster rates and improve payout predictions.
The eight-week competition gave participants the chance to work with new technologies and frameworks that deepened their skillsets and provided opportunities to collaborate across departments. The event was sponsored by Travelers Claim Business Intelligence and Analytics (CBIA) and Enterprise Data and Analytics (ED&A).
Teams relied on their knowledge of AWS cloud technology, graphics processing units, unstructured data sources and machine learning to analyze a range of information to develop and build their models.
According to the competition winners, reviewing data from customer interaction with claim handlers was paramount. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel, but our model predictions were sensible and could predict high severity claims with a high level of confidence,” said Murat Yasar, Analytics & Research, Business Insurance.
“I saw the competition as a great challenge. It was also a great way to network and share knowledge – which is really a precious opportunity, especially during the pandemic,” said Susan Ye, Data & Research, CBIA.
Travelers began these modeling competitions in 2016 with the goal of providing training opportunities around deep learning and image analytics. But the impact of the work goes far beyond training.
“The winning solution from the 2018 competition is still being used at Travelers – it’s like a Swiss army knife for data scientists,” said George Lee, who leads the Data Science team in ED&A’s AI Accelerator. “That’s our hope for this year’s winning solution.”
A career pause for family obligations, military commitments, or relocation can be challenging to overcome, even for the most qualified and experienced professional.
When faced with this very issue after two career breaks, Ginny Brzezinski found herself ready to reboot her career but was unsure how to do so, especially at the age of 52. Ginny reached out to her sister-in-law, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, founder of the women’s empowerment community, Know Your Value. The two dug deep into the topic and, in January 2020, published “Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success – At 40, 50, and Beyond.”
Crafting Your Comeback: An Interview with Ginny Brzezinski, moderated by Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute, was featured on the Wednesdays With Woodward Travelers Institute Webinar Series.
Joined by Comeback Careers co-author Mika Brzezinski and Ashley Wilson, creator of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Women Taking the Lead,” the team shared insights from their research and job market trends for professionals thinking about revaluating, reinventing, or relaunching their careers.
The three women shared a wealth of career advice to empower the job-seeker, even amidst a pandemic. Key points focused on personal assessments, updating social media accounts, reaching out to former colleagues to up your network game and adapting to the new norm – video meetings and interviews.
Watch the full webinar to learn more about Ginny and how her career and life experiences encouraged her to educate and inspire women and men looking to relaunch their careers.
Wednesdays With Woodward Travelers Institute Webinar Series interviews thought leaders about topics that impact us both personally and professionally. Travelers created the Travelers Institute to engage in public policy dialogue on issues relevant to the insurance market.
2020 CIO 100 Award
From a field of more than 400 nominations, Travelers made the 2020 CIO 100 Award honorees list for an innovation that is especially relevant today, the Wildfire Loss Detector (WLD), which uses high-resolution geospatial imagery and a deep-learning model to quickly identify properties that are total losses.
As a result of this tool, this year alone, Travelers has helped many of our customers in California and Oregon begin the recovery process before returning home following wildfire events.
Mojgan Lefebvre, EVP, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, was interviewed about WLD during a breakout session at the CIO 100 Virtual Symposium, Conference & Awards entitled “How Travelers Uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Accelerate Wildfire Damage Assessment and Claims.” She spoke about the positive business outcomes that AI-driven technologies can deliver directly to customers.
“By using AI – along with existing and emerging technologies – we can accelerate the transformation of our data into actionable insights that enhance the experience for our customers while allowing us to better manage risk,” Mojgan said. “And while advanced analytics have always been utilized in the insurance and financial services industry, the use of AI is amplifying that usage and giving it greater momentum.”
In addition to securing the CIO 100 Award for WLD, the solution also earned a Gartner Eye on Innovation Award in 2019.
2020 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award
For the second consecutive year, Travelers made the list of finalists for the Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Financial Services – this time, for the AI Roof Shape Model.
This Personal Insurance (PI) innovation was named one of the top nine finalists out of more than 220 global nominations for the award, which recognizes innovative use of digital technology-enabled capabilities, products or services for financial services in the Americas.
The model can identify a roof’s shape with high accuracy using aerial imagery and machine learning. This provides rating consistency and pricing accuracy and improves the customer experience.
Mano Mannoochahr, SVP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, says, “The AI roof shape work has led to several other imagery-based automations, including solar panel identification and roof condition assessment. It’s also helping us reduce friction from the underwriting process while improving risk segmentation and pricing.”
Read more about our 2019 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award.
For the past ten years, more than 200 Travelers employees have upheld the Travelers Promise to take care of our customers, our community and each other by mentoring veterans through American Corporate Partners (ACP).
ACP is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping transitioning veterans and active-duty spouses find civilian careers by matching them with mentors from a broad range of industries. Travelers Community Relations signed on with ACP as its thirteenth corporate partner in 2010 as a way to expand leaders’ and managers’ mentoring options.
Since 2010, more than 200 Travelers employees have engaged in about 600 mentoring relationships with veterans, transitioning military members and active duty military spouses through ACP. To celebrate the partnership’s 10-year milestone, read the first-hand experiences of seven Travelers employees who accepted the mentoring challenge.
Hina, Senior Director, B.I. Technology Analytics, St. Paul, MN
“I’m working with my fifth protégé. One of those protégés served 20 years in the U.S. Army and already had an MBA. During his transition, I helped him gain knowledge about skills he could acquire for the current job market in his field. He was very driven and rapidly was Certified as a Scrum Master and received his Scaled Agile (SAFe) certification. Within six months, he was offered a program management position at a Fortune 500 technology company in Seattle. I get immense satisfaction from sharing my knowledge and experience with others. I help my mentees translate and map their skills from their military background – organizing and executing, dealing with conflicts, evaluating risks, etc. – to the corporate world. I take them through the journey of writing effective resumes and preparing them for interviews. I’ve become a big advocate of hiring veterans. They’re resilient, strong, rigorous and in some ways, I learn from them as much as they learn from me. It’s a truly rewarding experience.”
Daniel, Field Director, BI Construction Risk Control, Chicago, IL
“Having 13 U.S. Marines in my family – including my younger brother – compels me to help veterans. I’ve completed five mentoring relationships through ACP. What all my protégés have had in common is a feeling of uncertainty that their transition to civilian life is really happening. I put myself in their shoes and do a lot of listening. The greatest barrier they learn to work through is adapting to a civilian world that can be ambiguous and full of uncertainty. Their military careers were more ‘black and white’ and involved receiving and following orders. Once they figure that part out, the rest is easier.
I focus on building trust and a personal connection before progressing to giving advice or developing action plans. There’s no better opportunity to give back to the military. It’s very meaningful and provides
opportunities for me to learn something from them.”
Al, Associate Group General Counsel, Hartford CT
“I never served, so this provides me an opportunity to give back to the military. I’ve mentored three protégés so far. I bring them plenty of luck, with two out of the three securing jobs within months. The ACP pairs me with veterans who are interested in attending law school or seeking legal careers. I help with their resumes, letters of intent, how to study in law school, career options and preparing for the bar exam.
I’ve learned it’s helpful to research before meeting with my protégés to understand what they’ve done in the military that can contribute to a successful transition. Helping a military member transition is very satisfying; you’re doing a good deed for someone who has sacrificed so much for our country. Given veterans’ discipline and attributes, you know they’re likely to succeed in whatever career they choose.”
Rob, CAT Team Unit Manager, Denver, CO; U.S. Army & Army National Guard Veteran
“When I got out of the military, I had to assimilate how I acted and how I led others and I also needed to learn a whole new vernacular. It took me a while to adjust to civilian work, so I understand how to help vets, which allows me to continue my contribution to the military.
One of my protégés was a Command Sergeant Major. He had multiple Bronze Stars, but he was fearful about getting out of the military. I helped him build confidence and understand how his resourcefulness, knowledge and experience would serve him. He ended up getting a job in his hometown as the head of recreational tourism.
I invite each of my protégés to be a part of the process, which helps them gain a broader perspective about their own development while transitioning. ACP has been a great way for me to help veterans and to be a part of something bigger.”
Chris, BI Middle Market Business Architect, Hartford, CT; U.S. Air Force Veteran
“ACP’s ‘secret sauce’ is their hands-on engagement; they stay engaged, so that
mentors get as much, or more, out of the experience than protégés do. I’ve mentored at least ten protégés, who have had a wide range of skills and needs. One protégé was an Air Force Academy graduate who was attending the University of Chicago School of Business. I helped him evaluate several offers for summer internships, including one at a large retail chain. I helped him to think about the company behind the scenes, that any large corporation is about data and analytics. It opened his eyes to how many possibilities exist behind the company and job title.
Mentoring has also helped me grow in my career. As I’ve learned more about how large organizations work, I’ve become more confident in understanding what other companies might be looking for in candidates.”
Lisa, Senior Paralegal, Law Office of William J. Ferren & Assoc., Blue Bell, PA
“I’ve mentored eight ACP protégés since 2013. My most memorable was in the military for eight years. She had ‘Ivy League intelligence,’ but still needed encouragement to learn not to settle, to stop doubting herself and to understand her first job didn’t have to be her last. She took that advice and has succeeded in many ways. She earned a scholarship and went on to work on her doctorate. Another protégé had 20 years in the Navy but had never experienced civilian work. She was used to being given and acting on orders. Through mentoring, she learned an enormous amount about herself and how to find a setting that fit her mindset and task-orientation. As a mentor, I listen first and speak second. I try to understand where they are coming from, then guide them into the civilian world in a way that makes sense to them.”
Eric, PI Cloud Architect, Hartford, CT; U.S. Navy Veteran
“I wish ACP had been available when I got out of the military in 1998. I’m currently engaged in my fourth mentorship. My first protégé was a fascinating guy. He came out of the Army and was working on a Ph.D. in computer science. I was able to help him out personally and professionally.
My second protégé needed more help when he got out of the Navy. We did a lot of mock interviews, and I threw him curveball questions. He moved along to a position in computer science support. As a mentor, I’ve also learned things, like the importance of setting ground rules during the initial meeting. ACP is a fantastic program and lets me give back. It’s a good feeling. I’d advise anyone interested in mentoring to go for it.”
“Tell me about yourself.”
“What is your biggest strength? Biggest weakness?”
“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
At one point or another, we have all prepared ourselves to answer the cliché interview questions. However, with company cultures shifting and technologies evolving, the interview process is changing every day.
As hiring efforts continue at Travelers, we sat down with some of our senior recruiters to ask what advice they would give to jobseekers looking for opportunities under the umbrella.
Read below to learn their tips for: virtual interviewing, knowing yourself, resume best practices and remembering the basics.
With most companies interviewing candidates virtually, Erik suggests that preparation and follow up are key. Communication with the interviewer, before and after the interview, is especially important in a remote work environment. He also reminds jobseekers to not only mentally prepare for their interview, but to make sure their physical space is set up, too.
“Treat these interviews as if they were in person interviews making sure that you dress professionally and that you have a quiet place to be able to interview from,” Erik explains. For more tips, read our article on Preparing For a Video Interview
In order for our interviewers to get to know you, you have to get to know yourself. “The interviewers want to know who you are,” Lynn says.
Lynn advises candidates to know their skillset and make sure to ask questions during the interview to learn if they are a good fit for the job. Be authentic!
When applying for a job, your resume is the hiring team’s first impression of you. Rather than listing your previous work experience and respective duties, Nathan suggests building your resume using your experiences and accomplishments.
“That sets you apart before you even get started on your job hunt,” Nathan says. “As a side benefit, it may provide a nice little roadmap during your interview as well.”
In all the hustle and bustle of new interviewing methods, don’t forget the basics. Ruth reminds our jobseekers to be prepared for technical and behavioral questions, and to make sure to show up with questions of their own. For more tips, check out our infographic on Behavioral Interviewing.
Whether it be working on team projects with bottom-line impact, networking with senior leadership, or experiencing professional development workshops and events, there are many opportunities to take advantage of as a Travelers intern. We sat down with three interns who are spending their summer with us. Read on to hear about their first-hand experience under the umbrella.
Myron Adamson of Boston, Mass. is participating in a Bond & Specialty Insurance internship at Travelers this summer.
Adamson is currently studying Mathematics at Bunker Hill Community College. When it came to an internship at Travelers, Adamson says it was, “the perfect timing of the perfect opportunity.”
“I was ready to take the next step in my insurance career—earn an internship for growth and development at a prospective employer in the P&C sector, get a feel for their work culture, and develop relationships there,” Adamson says.
Adamson came across Travelers while networking at the 2019 CPCU annual conference, where he met a representative from the company who mentioned opportunities for the Underwriting Professional Development Program (UPDP) internship program. He kept an eye out for the position opening, applied, and is now working on the Commercial Surety team.
Although his role involves learning the insurance products offered, familiarizing himself with the enterprise, and delivering on individual and team projects throughout the summer, Adamson says his personal goal is to use these experiences to better himself as an underwriter.
“To this end, I deem this internship a professional evaluation experience that continues to make me more aware of who I am now while also indicating who I need to become, and how I may make those changes,” Adamson says.
A few years after moving from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Manchester, Conn. in 2014, Rubaiya Sultana attended Eastern Connecticut State University where she is currently studying Labor Relations and Human Resource Management.
This summer, Sultana is working with Travelers’ Talent Acquisition team, learning about the full cycle recruitment process. She came across the internship opportunity after attending an information session hosted by a member of the University Relations team.
“I always heard great things about Travelers from its current employees and former interns, but when I did my own research about the company, I just fell in love with their corporate ethics, employee benefits and the Travelers Promise – the commitment to take care of our customers, communities and employees.”
Sultana says her goal this summer is not only to learn about the recruitment process, but also to network with individuals from the company to, “add knowledge and value to the work that I do and enhance my growth as an aspiring HR professional.”
Travelers Risk Control intern Bach Tran grew up in Vietnam, attended Virginia Tech to earn a BS in Civil Engineering, and now currently attends Roger Williams University studying Construction Management.
While searching for a summer internship, Tran connected with a Travelers representative online to learn more about the company. After applying, he landed a spot as an intern in the Risk Control organization.
Tran says the opportunity to explore the insurance industry was exciting. “I had no experience in that field and was very curious,” Tran says, “The opportunity to learn more about construction risk exposures and how contractors can improve their safety plan really interested me to apply.”
This summer, Tran’s goal is to gain a better understanding of the different types of construction insurance coverages, learn how Travelers Risk Control consultants communicate with construction contractors, and understand the various risk exposures and ways to improve site management.
“One of my projects is assisting consultants in categorizing on-site observations into different types of risk exposures,” Tran says, “I am learning a lot by having conversations with other Risk Control consultants, Claim professionals, and members of the Underwriting organization.”
Our claim professionals are continuing to deliver on the Travelers Promise, to take care of our customers, communities and each other, which has become increasingly important during the upheaval and uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
Just before daybreak on a Monday in mid-April, a severe windstorm swept through Charlotte, North Carolina, damaging properties across the region. After the storm passed, Erin Karaffa packed up her drone and her personal protective gear, ready to start conducting property inspections and helping our customers recover.
Within a few hours, Erin, a Property Claim professional in our Virginia-Carolina Claim Center, had spoken to a customer whose home was damaged by a large falling tree. Because of the extent of damage to the attic, Erin couldn’t conduct a virtual inspection, so she set up an in-person inspection for the following day and arrived on site in protective gear, following social distancing guidelines.
“I like to give customers a heads-up and call from the driveway to say, ‘I’m here. Are you comfortable with me coming in? I have a mask and gloves on,’” Erin explained. “I want to make sure they’re prepared. Even though you see a lot of people wearing masks, it can still be intimidating.”
In addition to inspecting the interior damage, Erin used a drone to assess the damage to the roof and then issued the customer’s claim payment via ePay, Travelers’ secure electronic payment system. “The tree impacted a pipe that came out of her roof,” Erin stated, “and it shattered all the way into the attic and down into the crawlspace, so she needed to get a plumber in there right away. ePay helped her do that.”
The customer was so pleased with Erin’s prompt, professional response despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 that she sent a heartfelt letter of thanks. “You had a caring demeanor and were very thorough, professional, diligent and knowledgeable about what to do,” the customer wrote to Erin. “Travelers is fortunate to have an employee like you, especially during this pandemic that our world is dealing with.”
For more than 165 years, Travelers’ innovative employees continually ask themselves and their colleagues, “what’s next?” And throughout the years, their curiosity has led to the development of creative solutions recognized by the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office.
Check out what creativity looks like at Travelers in the following six U.S. patents received this year by members of the Travelers Technology team.
Through Travelers’ Innovation Jam Hackathons and day-to-day innovative thinking, our multi-disciplinary teams will continue to put their creative minds together to produce solutions that make a difference in the lives of our customers and each other.
As we look forward and wonder what’s next for our business, are you wondering what’s next for your career in technology?
Many of the duties you performed in the service have a civilian counterpart in business and industry, including here at Travelers. Still, the job search process can be challenging. That’s why we want to help you along the way, with practical resume and interview advice that can make your transition from the military easier and more successful.
The goal of your resume is to obtain an interview. It should give potential employers an overview of your background, while highlighting your accomplishments. You want to stand out among your peers. At a minimum, your resume should include your professional experience in a themed or chronological order, as well as your education, achievements and volunteer interests.
Your resume is your chance to make a good first impression. But, the interview is where the job is won!
This is your chance to set the tone with a sort, interesting introduction.
“I grew up in ___. I decided to join the [military branch] because____. I had a great experience including___, and learned ___, ___ and ____. That brings me here today to learn more about [company] and your opportunity for [position].”
“Based on my visit and discussions today, I am very interested in joining [company]. I believe my ___, ___, and ___ skills position me well to both learn from and contribute to the success of the organization. Is there anything more that I can tell you about my experience, or are there areas where you feel I am lacking?”
Chances are, interviews and boards that you have participated in throughout your military care have adequately prepared you to take on an interview in the civilian corporate world. Still, it’s always helpful to have a toolkit for reference. For additional interview tips, read our post about Behavioral Interviewing.