How long have you been with Travelers?
I’ve been fortunate to celebrate 35 years with the company. I started at Travelers as a Medical Case Manager, acting as liaison between our claim representatives, doctors, employers, and injured employees to ensure the proper medical care was in place to get them back to work.
What is your career background? How did you discover Travelers?
I have degrees in nursing and started my career in insurance. To be honest, I never knew that insurance companies hired nurses. It was 10 years after graduating that I was looking in the newspaper to see what was available for nurses if I moved back to the city I grew up in. I saw a Travelers job ad in the Sunday paper. It sounded interesting and I was one of four nurses hired for the claim department to pilot a new team to handle medical malpractice and Workers’ Compensation cases. The rest is history – 35 years later.
What has kept you with Travelers?
I found over the years there have been 2 key factors that have kept me here.
First, the opportunities. You truly own your own destiny. After my first role as a Medical Case Manager, I went on to serve as a Workers’ Compensation Claim Professional, an HR Manager, an Underwriting Development Program Director, a Talent Acquisition Manager, and more. In total, I’ve held 12 different positions across Underwriting, Claim, and Human Resources during my 35 years at the company.
Second, the people. Travelers encourages a diverse workforce of people who bring many ideas, skills and experiences to the table. This collaborative environment allows each of us to contribute to the success of Travelers while we grow and develop. It’s this and the leadership balance that helps drive the innovation which sets us apart.
Can you tell us about any stand-out moments you have had?
While I have had many unique and challenging opportunities over the years, one that I think about often is being given the once in a lifetime opportunity to create, develop and run the Underwriting Development Program for 7 years. It afforded me the career satisfaction of bringing the next generation of underwriters into the insurance industry. It was deeply gratifying to see how Travelers’ leadership took a vested interest in the programs and kept in contact with many who completed the programs.
What would you tell someone who was thinking about exploring a career at Travelers?
The opportunities are endless. Remember, it won’t be easy, but you must start somewhere. This is just the first step on the stairwell, so don’t give up, and know that the best is yet to come!
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.”
I am a trans woman, and I am transitioning while working at Travelers. I can’t say enough about how pivotal Travelers has been in my ability to transition safely and how supported I’ve felt by all levels of our organization.
As a child, my sexual and gender identity was dangerous; like too many others, I was beaten up, called names and ostracized unless I hid who I was and conformed to the binary norms of the time and place.
Today, I’m an executive at a company that makes me feel supported with standard guidelines and practices for transitioning employees, access to full health benefits and the full-throated backing for LGBTQ communities from senior leadership.
The moment I reached out to a few leaders at Travelers about my intentions, I felt validated and empowered. At 8:30 a.m. on a Monday, I had a meeting with my manager and HR representative, who had already ordered new nameplates for my office and were ready to get things moving for me.
I share all of this because “visibility” and “acceptance” are only the first steps to true inclusion. Travelers continues to work with LGBTQ employees to foster an inclusive environment in myriad ways, like adding “legal” and “preferred” name fields in employee records and supporting robust Diversity Networks to help employees find community and advocacy, being thoughtful and tuned in to the real-world needs of LGBTQ employees every step of the way.
I’m happy to say I’m doing the best work of my life! As VP of Software Engineering, I’m helping a community of thousands of engineers do their best work. As a leader, I’m also paying my privilege forward by joining in the effort to fulfill the Travelers Promise to “take care of our customers, our communities and our employees.” I hope you will join us.
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?
Through its partnership with American Forests, the oldest nonprofit conservation group in the nation, Travelers will soon reach its goal of planting one million new trees.
In celebration of the 50th Earth Day, and in keeping with the company’s dedication to environmentalism, Travelers is also continuing its partnership with American Forests through April 2021. Through this partnership, Travelers has planted one tree for every Personal Insurance customer who opted in to paperless billing in 2019. The company will continue these efforts and expects to plant up to a half-million more new trees.
“We are proud to have reached this important milestone and to continue our successful partnership with American Forests,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “We are committed to operating our business efficiently and sustainably. This program achieves both, by creating a convenient experience for our customers and meaningfully reducing our paper usage and carbon footprint.”
“With Travelers’ support, we planted 1 million trees in some of America’s most endangered forests – taking 1 million steps for safe, healthy communities and a vibrant natural environment,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “We are very grateful to Travelers, one of our largest corporate partners, and excited to continue working together to make a positive impact on our planet.”
Additionally, Travelers regularly implements cost-effective ways to positively impact the eco-efficiency of its business. Other measures include:
Company Release – 2/24/2020 9:00 AM ET
Named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation
HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) today announced that it has attained a perfect score on the 2020 Corporate Equality Index administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, maintaining its distinction as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
“We’re focused on creating a workplace that brings together people with different backgrounds and ensuring that our employees feel valued, respected, supported and empowered,” said Fred Colon, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Travelers. “From our hiring efforts to our training and development programs, we’re fostering an inclusive culture where all employees have the opportunity to thrive.”
Travelers supports several initiatives designed to maintain an environment that embraces diverse perspectives, including:
For more information about diversity and inclusion at Travelers, visit travelers.com/diversity.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $32 billion in 2019. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200224005543/en/
Courtney Garro, 860.277.8719
Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.
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Effective and successful workplace ergonomics involves the application of basic workplace principles to help address a worker’s discomfort, chronic pain or injury. A large part of good ergonomics involves workstation arrangement, equipment orientation and employee work habits. Proper placement of workstation equipment helps, but good ergonomics starts with the selection of furniture that can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of varied employees.
Having an effective ergonomics process can help you identify those job tasks and workplace factors that can put employees at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These types of conditions can result in additional expenses and lost productivity for your company. Addressing the risks should be a business imperative. Establishing a good ergonomics process can help reduce the frequency of MSDs, address ergonomic risk factors and concerns, and control workers compensation costs.
Some areas to consider in minimizing the risk of MSDs include:
Good work habits are essential to avoiding injuries from computer use. Even with the best workstation and properly positioned equipment, employees could end up with discomfort or MSDs. Your employees may develop bad habits over time that can lead to the development of MSDs.
Good habits to promote include, but are not limited to:
Changing work habits takes time and dedication. Even a slight keyboard height change can initially feel awkward. If a change feels awkward, work using the modified arrangement for at least a week to give it a chance to become natural.
Armed with this information, you can increase employee safety and comfort through education and workstation modifications, rather than making costly furniture or equipment purchases.
Long associated with meditation and relaxation, the practice of mindfulness has become more mainstream in recent years. And, with studies showing that humans aren’t as good at multi-tasking as we think we are, practicing mindfulness or meditation may actually help us be more productive at work.
Ever felt scattered while having 12 browser tabs open on your laptop, while keeping up with a group text on your smartphone and answering emails as they come in? In an age of multi-tasking, mindfulness can help us be in a state of moment-to-moment awareness of our experience. So, can practicing mindfulness help your small business become more productive?
Here are five potential benefits:
1. Mindfulness may help you and your team prioritize better. Multi-tasking is really task-switching, because it’s not possible for the brain to handle two tasks simultaneously. A research study at Stanford University found that multi-tasking actually made participants less able to switch tasks effectively, likely because they were less able to filter out irrelevant distractions.1 Since not every task has the same level of importance to your small business, being able to discern what’s most important can be a critically important skill.
2. Mindfulness can help boost your working memory. Research has shown an increase in working memory among participants in an eight-week mindfulness training.2 That working memory can translate to productivity if employees are able to better recall training and other information useful for their work – and may even help them avoid accidents and injuries at work if they are better able to remember safety practices.
3. Mindfulness can help reduce stress. According to an American Psychological Association survey, 60 percent of respondents reported that work is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, second only to money matters.3 Serious health issues can arise from stress, from hypertension to cardiovascular disease. Mindfulness training, especially when practiced as a team, can help reduce anxiety and teach emotion regulation strategies to better handle difficult situations.
4. Mindfulness can help improve focus. Distractions abound in the modern office. Open office concepts can mean employees need to filter out foosball matches to focus, frequent meetings may disrupt workflow, and notifications from email, texts and other social media can make it hard to concentrate. A study that looked at how participants were able to focus found that experienced mindful meditators performed better on all measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness than those with no meditation experience.4
5. Mindfulness can be a good team-building activity. Practicing mindfulness can be a great way to bring a team together, by providing a team-building activity and by teaching how to better relate to one another. Whether you invite an instructor in to lead a yoga, tai chi or qigong class, or you offer a more structured meditation training program, the team can apply what they learn to handling challenges at work, being more focused and taking time to be present.
Thinking of how to get started? Of course, any mindfulness program should be voluntary for employees. Thirty-minute sessions once or twice a week can create a space where your team can practice guided meditation and discuss how to apply it to their experiences at work. Creating a more mindful culture can have benefits for you and your team, both inside and outside of the office.
4 Moore, A. & Malinowski, P. (2009). Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility. Consciousness & Cognition, 18(1), 176-186