Insurance Sector Interviews
1. What services do you provide?
Ralph Wilson (S) Ralph Wilson Agency is a cross between an insurance broker, an agent, and a
consultant. The broker represents the clients, and the agent represents the Ralph
Amerisure (M/L) They provide insurance-property casual to business.
Wasau (L) They are a business insurer. They have 7,000 corporate customers.
2. What are your departments? (List format)
Ralph Wilson (S) There are three major divisions. The Commercial division (50%) deals with
anything for the company, including property and workers compensation. The
Employee Benefits division (30%) works with benefits for common companies,
such as medical, dental, 401K pension plans, etc. The Personal Lines division
(20%) deals with serving the consumers, with life planning, etc. Individuals
working for Ralph Wilson specialize in one of these major divisions, but there is
no official departments par say.
Amerisure (M/L) Human Resources Premium Audit
Financial Services-Credit Loss Control
Information Services Administration (mail)
Underwriting Claims (one of the biggest depts.)
Marketing Internal Audits
Wasau (L) Employee Benefits Communications
Underwriting (largest dept.) Graphic Arts
Credit (billings and collections) Public Affairs
HR Government Affairs
Information Systems Lobbying
Corporate Law Claims
Property Claims Legal Claims
- To what extent do the departments interact with each other
Ralph Wilson (S) The departments interact quite a bit because a client’s need may fall into all
Amerisure (M/L) They interact very much.
Wasau (L) Other than Underwriting and Claims, the Human Resource Department deals
with all departments.
- How many employees total
Ralph Wilson (S) 30.
Amerisure (M/L) 753
Wasau (L) 5,600
- Relative size of each department
Ralph Wilson (S) Commercial-15
Remaining are involved in Administration and Sales.
There is one full-time claims employee.
Amerisure (M/L) The department sizes vary greatly. Some, such as Internal Audits, are as small
as 2. Others can be as large as 250.
Wasau (L) Claims-2,100
Remaining departments-1,400 (total)
3. Do you have any busy seasons? (When and why) How do you handle the increased workload during
those busy seasons?
Ralph Wilson (S) January and July because of renewal dates. Underwriters are backed up and
busy, and have less time to spend with clients at these times.
Amerisure (M/L) The busy seasons are January and July because of policy renewal dates. They
must work much harder during those months. They handle more claims and
have no independent adjusters.
Wasau (L) There are no peaks.
4. How are your operations involved internationally?
Ralph Wilson (S) They use national insurance companies, such as Chubb Groups, St. Paul, and
AIG, to service the needs of their international clients (5%). This is the
brokerage end of the company. They find the company that will best fit the
needs of their client by having national companies come in and sell their various
programs to Ralph Wilson.
Amerisure (M/L) They do not write claims internationally, but they do buy insurance
Wasau (L) They deal with other partner insurance companies to take care of customers
overseas. They have partners in Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin
Islands, to name a few.
- Do you have international clients?
Ralph Wilson (S) Yes.
Amerisure (M/L) No, but their company is a client to international businesses.
Wasau (L) 30% of their clients are international (about 2,100), for example Steel Case,
Ford, and GM.
- Do you have offices in other countries? If Yes: do people go on international assignments?
Ralph Wilson (S) No.
Amerisure (M/L) No.
Wasau (L) No
- Are you looking to expand internationally? Why or why not?
Ralph Wilson (S) No.
Amerisure (M/L) No.
Wasau (L) Yes
If Yes, What are you planning to do?
Wasau (L) Yes, because they would like to follow their customers.
If No, Do you see it in your near future?
Ralph Wilson (S) No, the national companies that they work with service Wilson’s need
Amerisure (M/L) No, not at all.
- Do people work with or research in international markets
Ralph Wilson (S) No.
Amerisure (M/L) No.
Wasau (L) Yes.
Human Resources Information
1. How does your recruiting process work?
Ralph Wilson (S) Much of it is networking. They use recommendations from other employees,
people who know the company, and friends.
Amerisure (M/L) They have a recruiting unit. Managers contact the HR department to hire. They
hire through referrals from other employees, use the Internet, newspaper, radio,
and occasionally post advertisements in newspapers and other publications.
They do little recruiting from colleges.
Wasau (L) They recruit on college campuses in Wisconsin, use external recruiting agencies,
walk-ins, and appointments.
- How much are the departments involved in recruiting?
Ralph Wilson (S) Department managers handle the hiring.
Amerisure (M/L) This differs by department. Some managers like to handle their own hiring,
while others let the HR department handle the entire process.
Wasau (L) Only the HR department is involved in the recruiting.
- Do you have an on-going recruiting or is the recruitment in batches? Is there a certain
time of the year where you need people the most?
Ralph Wilson (S) Recruitment is on-going. In January and July, they occasionally hire part-time
employees, and have also hired part-time summer help.
Amerisure (M/L) They have on-going recruiting. There is not a certain time of year when they
need people the most. It stays pretty level.
Wasau (L) They recruit at times when they are most likely to attract students from colleges.
- What department requires the most recruits?
Ralph Wilson (S) Commercial
Amerisure (M/L) Larger ones, such as Claims and Marketing.
Wasau (L) Information Services.
- What role do the departments play in recruitment? To what extent is it a combined
effort with actual recruitment, interviews, and selection?
Ralph Wilson (S) Departments completely handle recruitment.
Amerisure (M/L) This depends entirely on the managers. Sometimes the manager does
everything. With others, the HR department will refer the top three candidates
to the department manager. In this case, the HR department will run
background checks on the candidates and handle all paperwork.
Wasau (L) The HR department narrows down the list of candidates, and the departments do
the final interviews.
- How many new hires do you have in a year?
Ralph Wilson (S) 5or 6 in sales and independent contractors.
Amerisure (M/L) Approximately 50-60. They are in the process of down-sizing.
Wasau (L) 500
- How long do they stay? (Turnover rate)
Ralph Wilson (S) Turnover rate is 15%.
Amerisure (M/L) They have a very high turnover rate, 20%, due to the down-sizing.
Wasau (L) The turnover rate is just under 5%. For information services, employees stay
- Range of salaries of new hires:
Ralph Wilson (S) This depends on the position. Personal Lines is on the lower end. Most
positions start out around 20,000. A customer services representative may earn
30-40,000. Salaries are negotiable.
Amerisure (M/L) Entry level salaries can begin as low as $16,000 for an entry level clerk or as
much as $26,000 for an accountant.
Wasau (L) Those with college degrees may start out at 38,000. Information Systems starts
out at 48,000. Others range from 22,000-48,000.
2. What are their credentials?
- Type of academic background and degree level:
Ralph Wilson (S) Most have an insurance license, college degree, experience in the field, and
Amerisure (M/L) This varies by position. Maintenance and clerical positions require no degree,
but higher positions, such as Accounting, require at least a college degree.
Wasau (L) This varies greatly. In Accounting, they have both insurance and business
majors. Information Systems has chemical, civil, and industrial engineers. It all
depends on the type of work.
- Level of computer skills:
Ralph Wilson (S) Microsoft
Amerisure (M/L) Everyone must have minimal computer skills. Some in higher departments must
have high technical skills.
Wasau (L) Microsoft excel, etc.
- Level of experience
Ralph Wilson (S) Many customer service representatives have come from other competitors and
have ten years of experience, in addition to having already established client
contacts. Some independent contractors.
Amerisure (M/L) This differs by position.
Wasau (L) 25% have spent time with computer systems.
- Commission or salary based
Ralph Wilson (S) Salary based.
Amerisure (M/L) All positions are salary based. There is also the opportunity for performance
Wasau (L) 250 employees are paid on commission. The rest are salary based.
3. What do the new hires do? Do they have a training program? Describe?
Ralph Wilson (S) There is no training program. They are immediately integrated into their
Amerisure (M/L) There is no formal training program. New hires in the marketing department,
for example, start on policy processing systems and determine premium. This
department offers classes to become an underwriter, and eventually a manager.
Wasau (L) There is a six-month program. Six weeks are spent on understanding the
company. The rest of the time is spent working with individual departments.
4. Do you have contract employees (Temp Services)? If Yes:
- How many employees do you have working for a Temp Service
Ralph Wilson (S) They only work with temp services in the case of an emergency-for clerical or
summer help. Most employees come to them as referrals.
Amerisure (M/L) They do hire about six contract employees in Information Services Department.
Wasau (L) 150
- What type of work do they do?
Ralph Wilson (S) Clerical or summer.
Amerisure (M/L) Information Services.
Wasau (L) They do short-term fill-ins for vacations and also special consulting short-term
- What type of skills do they have?
Ralph Wilson (S) Their skills are not very high or specific. They perform internal duties, and do
not work with clients.
Amerisure (M/L) They have very high level technical skills in computers, and software programs.
Wasau (L) High level consulting experience- 20 years.
- Range of salaries?
Ralph Wilson (S) About $10/hour for part-time work.
Amerisure (M/L) Contract employees are paid outside of the salary system, and paid on a contract
basis. Roughly, about 50,000-100,000.
Wasau (L) More than $100,000
- How long do they stay?
Ralph Wilson (S) They usually stay a couple of months or for the summer.
Amerisure (M/L) This depends on the project. It can range anywhere from 2 months to one year.
They are not usually full time.
Wasau(L) 1-2 months.
- What are your reasons for working with a Temp Service? Are you doing to save money on salary, to
avoid hassle of finding people, to save on health benefits, or because of a labor/talent shortage?
Ralph Wilson (S) For temporary solutions.
Amerisure (M/L) They work with them because of a labor/talent shortage. Their level of skills is
extremely high, but they are not needed on a full time basis.
Wasau(L) They hire for short-term reasons, such as medical leaves and absences.