By: Austin Tucker, Sr. Underwriting Product Manager – Verisk

Do you remember learning multiplication in grade school?  It was probably a challenging experience, and it may have taken you a while to figure out that dreaded multiplication table.  Yet, you didn’t fret because the teachers gave tools to help you learn this new skill.  While some teachers taught skip counting or to find patterns in the numbers, we were all given flashcards. 

Even the words flashcards can send chills up the spine of some adults to this day. 

We sat there for an eternity flipping through these cards with a multiplication problem on the front and the answer on the back.  Guess, look at the back, see if you were right, and divide into a pile of “got right” and “got wrong” and then go back through the wrong stack till it joined its brethren in a single mini tower of frustration. 

For machine learning (ML), labeled examples are their version of flashcards.  The standard technique teaches a machine to accurately recognize an object, picture, video, words, or any other sort of information you must provide labeled data to the machine until it can make better predictions.  The more data feed into the machine, the better the prediction. 

While this method works and has proven itself, it takes a significant toll on resources of computational time, staff cost, funding, and other resources that have made it impracticable on a large scale.  A company can deploy a method called few-shot (FSL) learning can be used to reduce the burden on resources as well as create more robust predictions.

What makes FSL so important to ML is that it not only reduces the effort of data collection, data labeling, and computational costs but it also allows the computer to learn about rare cases (the computer can classify, i.e., a rare animal species that is rarely photographed with only a handful of prior information).  The best (and most frightening) way to describe FSL’s capabilities is to say that it can learn like a human.    Humans can spot differences in a data set (i.e., handwriting, pictures of dogs) with only a few examples, whereas the traditional ML approach required large amounts of data to spot any differences; with FSL, this learning time is reduced drastically, and a machine can learn from only a few examples to spot discrepancies.

FSL is considered a meta-learning model, which means the model learns how to learn to solve a given problem or “learning the learner.”  This method improves a model’s results by changing the learning algorithm via experimental results.  This meta-learning model helps researchers know which algorithms make the best predictions in a dataset. 

FSL can be found in several applications that solve problems:

  • Computer vision- image classification, character recognition, object tracking, and others
  • Natural Language Processing- sentence completion (Gmail and Outlook email), text classification, and translations
  • Audio Processing- voice cloning (Siri, Alexa, GPS voices, etc.), voice conversions across different languages
  • Robotics- movement learning, visual navigation, etc.
  • Healthcare- drug discovery, disease diagnosis
  • IOT analytics and mathematical reasoning

This may seem a bit out of scope for insurance but consider the rise in smartphone apps that have taken over a role that was once a job for someone in the insurance space.  We can now use our phones to take photos of the damage to our homes, cars, places of business and upload them to our insurance carrier’s claim app to start the claims process or even settle some claims in seconds.  Trying to teach these ML models to spot all kinds of damages, verify the integrity of the photos, and make essential decisions would be an IT lift that would stagger most companies. 

The advent of FSL has helped shorten the time to market for these capabilities and will continue to do so newer models such as one-shot and no-shot learning comes more common.  While the increasing complexity of the insurance world becomes more and more digitized, the applications for these and other ML and artificial intelligence-based assistants will continue to grow to previously unimaginable heights in insurance and our lives. 

Megan Nelson

Analytics Consultant, Gallagher Bassett 

I am passionate about innovation because it is something anyone can do and it can improve your life and the lives of others. Many have the perception that innovation is coming up with the “next big thing” but there are so many ways be innovative on a smaller scale, like simply finding better ways to do your current role. 

Whether innovation is central to what you do or you are looking for ways to be more innovative, the RISE Innovation Committee is a fun way to explore innovations in the insurance industry while building relationships with some incredible people.

My vision for the committee is to really engage our committee members through our initiatives this year. Our committee is a diverse and talented group of insurance professionals and we have only scratched the surface of what our committee can accomplish by bringing all of these skillsets together.  

-Megan Nelson, 2022 Innovation Committee Chair

Megan is an Analytics Consultant at Gallagher Bassett where her team generates innovative solutions to improve claim outcomes for claimants and clients. She is passionate about building up the skills of others and increasing awareness of opportunities within insurance. Megan lives in Chicago and is a world traveler, a math nerd, a singer, a golfer, a golden retriever lover and a board game enthusiast.

At our last Engagement Committee Meeting we asked, “What’s your favorite thing about or that you’ve done with RISE?” Here’s the top 10:

  1. Conference Scholarships – I loved being able to go to a conference and meet people and learn. It was one of my favorite experiences. My company wouldn’t have sent me otherwise. I can’t wait for in person events to be fully back.
  2. Mentorship Program – I met an amazing mentor and so much came out of that. My friend is also in the mentorship program and she loves it. She even made an important career decision and got out of a job she hated, but was convinced to stay in insurance. She probably would have left the industry otherwise. (Check out Mentorship Program)
  3. Virtual Halloween Party – The virtual costume party last year was my favorite thing. It was so much fun! (View upcoming events)
  4. Elite 50 – I love that we are highlighting internships. That’s so important for our industry! (More about Elite 50 Internships)
  5. RISE Awards – Of course, I’m so grateful for being recognized as a RISE Award winner. (2021 RISE Awards)
  6. Nationwide Networking – A lot of other groups are local or specialized. I love that with RISE you meet so many people I wouldn’t normally have the chance to interact with.
  7. It’s FREE – I really love how RISE is free. Every other group I’m a part of charges a membership fee and my company doesn’t always cover it. RISE is very inclusive this way and I get all my CE covered. (Join RISE free)
  8. Committees – I love the committees and being able to work on cool projects while meeting other members. I hear a lot of different perspectives from other companies and areas of insurance. (Sign up for committees)
  9. College Connections – I’m helping with college reach outs and I love that I’m able to represent RISE to the school where I graduated and tell students about Insurance.
  10. Sense of Community – Above all, my favorite thing is all the great people I’ve met through RISE and the sense of community everyone has. (Follow us on LinkedIn)

If you’re new to RISE, we hope this list helps you find something to get involved with. Come join us at our next meeting!

InsureTech Connect did not disappoint with the energy and buzz of everything new and exciting in insurance.  From insurtechs to technology companies, from AI to traditional insurers.  Everyone who is anyone in insurtech gathered in Las Vegas this week.

In Wednesday morning’s interview with Chubb CEO, Evan Greenberg, we covered a broad range of topics. Here are my top takeaways:

  1. Technology: Our best growth years are yet to come. Digitization of insurance isn’t the hard part. We’re challenged with the need for new skillsets, reworking organizational structure, and a shift in culture.
  2. Fundamental Culture Shift:  “We used to consider ourselves an underwriting company. Now we are an underwriting and engineering company. It sounds simple, but it means so much more.”
  3. Cyber Risk: Having the right people who understand the security and vulnerabilities of systems are key to underwriting cyber risks properly. What we lack (and need to create) is a governing body, which sets standards to which systems and software can be measured against.
  4. Modeling: Models are just predictions – not truth. They are the basis for risk taking, but things are changing constantly.
  5. Global stage: Like with competition in business, we (the US) need to focus on running a better race.  Completely untangling from China is unrealistic, and there have been benefits on both sides.  If we were to focus on our strengths and bettering ourselves, we will do a better job protecting our own interests.

We’d like to hear from you!

What skillsets do you think we need to source or train more of as we progress in our digital journey?

From a carrier perspective, what do you think it means to now be an underwriting AND engineering company?

Do you agree with Mr. Greenberg on global trade?

It’s 2020 and I think the word innovation comes up at least once per meeting in the work place. Is this just a trend or are we all on to something here? Let’s look at the meaning of innovation. Webster dictionary defines innovation as, a new idea, method, or device : [a] novelty. With this definition, it seems that innovation is nothing new at all. Since the beginning of time humans have contributed “new” things to the world.

So why are we all so obsessed with innovation? 2020 has stimulated some serious setbacks to many industries and organizations. The cause of this as we all know has been the deadly virus, COVID 19. Many companies had to shut their doors or layoff thousands of people. Revenue has declined for many companies that had a business model requiring people to be near others. However,  many companies were able to thrive during this time. These were the companies that required little to no human touch or companies who were able to quickly INNOVATE!

A former boss of mine always said, “evolve or die”. He is a Biologist so his motto suits him well, but he applied that phrase to everything. I chose to adopt that motto and 2020 has proven to me that if you can provide a new idea or a new method of doing things that solve a problem, you can excel.

The insurance and legal space had to quickly evolve and adapt to keep operating this year. From virtual home inspections to remote videoconferencing depositions, the organizations willing to adopt new technologies quickly, suffered less. The insurance space saw the reward in new approaches and the once slow to technology industry, is now leading in innovative products and processes.

Innovation isn’t limited to a cool tech product or solution; innovation can be the simple change from work from the office to work from home. Simply doing things differently, that provide a solution to a problem is innovation. We are hearing more about innovation because it works! Legal groups are building teams dedicated to ideating and insurance carriers have announced leaders to manage innovation for their companies. These groups are solving problems, creating efficiency and working on forward thinking initiatives.

If your organization isn’t built with the bandwidth to have a Chief of Innovation, this doesn’t mean that your company is doomed. Small to mid-size organizations are implementing directives to empower individuals to innovate daily. Everyone should have the opportunity to identify challenges and provide a possible solution. Collaborating with multiple solutions can create results that increase sustainability.

If you want to learn more about innovation check out RISE’s Innovation Committee.  

Katerina Garavito, President of RISE and Director of Enterprise Accounts at Esquire Deposition Solutions

Join RISE at the ACE conference as we interview David Vanalek, Chief Operating Officer of Claims at Markel. We learn about his scariest interview question, advice for those looking to move up the ladder, what skills he’s hiring for, and some innovative initiatives he’s involved in.

RISE interview with Brian Pozzi, Vice President, Office of General Counsel & Corporate Claims Officer for AAA-The Auto Club Group at the 2019 ACE Conference in Las Vegas, NV. From court room to board room, Pozzi shares his take on the industry and advice on advancing your career.

Deborah Saunders

Senior Director, Claims Management Comcast NBCUniversal.

Deborah Saunders is Senior Director, Claims Management for Comcast NBCUniversal. She is responsible for managing all lines of Comcast and NBCU’s claims programs, including Workers’ Compensation, Auto Liability, General Liability, Employment Practices, Property and Media Professional E&O. Prior to joining Comcast in 1998, Deborah was the Workers’ Compensation Claims Specialist for Campbell Soup Company. She started her career in claims as a representative for Travelers Insurance, where she handled both workers’ compensation and commercial liability claims. Deborah earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts. She also holds Associate in Risk Management (ARM,) Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional (CWCP) and Certified Claims Professional (CCP) designations and is a certified paralegal.

“I think when people either look at risk management programs in schools or look for a career path when they get out a lot of focus is on underwriting, but I’ve found that claims provides endless opportunities to do good in the world and to satisfy curiosity and the desire to grow.” Deborah states in an interview with RISE founder, Amy Cooper. Deborah discussed more about what her typical work day is like along with some encouraging advice for young career seeking professionals.

What do your mornings look like?

My alarm is set for 5:25 but I get up between then and 6 am, depending on the day. I actually have an evening regimen, so I don’t need a morning one. I lay out clothes, look at my calendar for the next day, and have my bags packed. That’s a trick I learned from my mom.

What is your commute like?

I go to the office almost every day that I’m not traveling. I cross a bridge from New Jersey to Pennsylvania during my commute, which takes 20-30 minutes. I purposely add one mile to my route in order to pass by the fountain at Logan Circle. It’s one of the many things in the city that makes me happy so I make sure to enjoy it.

What is the first thing you do when you start your work day?

A: I pick up coffee on the way in. The first thing I do when I get to the office is break out the lint roller! I have pets. I update my to do list for the day and carry over any leftover tasks from the prior day.

Who do you work most closely with?

I am responsible for a claims team within the Global Risk Management team for Comcast NBC Universal. There are eight  of us in claims, and with our colleagues in program placement, we make up the risk department. I consider our TPA, brokers, and insurers partners to be an extension of our team. Not everyone can say that, but these partnerships are very collaborative.

How do you balance meetings, email, solving problems, and your own tasks?

I’m not a practitioner of a formal time management technique. I’ve been here for more than 20 years and I have a lot of practice pivoting when needed. It’s second nature for me. I have non-traditional work hours while traveling, which is great catch up time. I travel 2-3 times a month but usually they are short trips.


Usually I eat lunch at my desk. When I was starting out, it was Snickers and Diet Coke. I’m doing a lot better with my food choices now, so I typically get soup or sushi. I try to avoid lunch meetings because I find them to be inefficient.

You never get through a day without ______.

On the downside, I never get through the day without falling into an internet news rabbit hole. I’m extremely interested in current events.  On the positive side, I never get through the day without stopping to be grateful. I have a wonderful family and fun career. I try to think about it every day.

Who is home waiting for you at the end of your day? What is your biggest motivation in getting up every morning to do it again?

My husband, who is now retired, two cats and a dog. Motivation isn’t an issue because I don’t need to motivate myself since I love what I do. I thought it would be hard to leave the house once my husband retired, but it’s not.

What changes in the role of technology have you noticed in your department? Does this change the skills you hire for?

I began my career with paper files – I’ve been at Comcast for more than 20 years. Yes, it does change at least some of the skills that you’re looking for. We need people who are effective and accurate at a much faster pace, with the efficiencies that come with technology. I appreciate people who are detail-oriented and methodical but need them to be thoughtful about how they spend their time.

What is the most rewarding/favorite part of your job?

I work with great people inside my organization – everyone is smart, creative and looking for solutions that improve people’s lives.  I love the diversity of the business in both within Comcast and in the claims profession. I’ve had the same role since joining Comcast, but endless opportunities to learn. Almost every day, there’s something new.

Can you name an innovative solution that made a huge impact for your area of responsibility?

We use data analytics, as a lot of people do, but we tried to figure out a way to use it not just for goal setting, but also to eliminate bottlenecks that stood in the way of  resolution and closure. We used data analytics to set discretionary settlement authority limits with our TPA – we figured out how much authority we could give them so they don’t have to wait for our response, while still controlling the dollars. We were able to eliminate 80% of the instances they had to contact us but still keep control over the vast majority of the spend. It worked exceptionally well.  We’re also looked at how closely we monitor ALAE.  We trust our TPA team as professionals as long as spend is line with industry benchmarks.

When you were 18, did you envision your life to be like this? What advice would you give to your 18-year old self?

I absolutely did not envision it. I have this great career because the path I had in mind didn’t play out the way I thought. Follow your dreams, but if through circumstance you’re diverted, be open and curious. Wherever you can, set yourself up for job satisfaction – there’s always something you can turn into a positive. Find it, build it, focus on it, and you’d be surprised where it can take you. I could not be happier.

What advice would you give to other women who might be considering a career in insurance?

This is so important to me. My advice is to consider claims. I think when people either look at risk management programs in schools or look for a career path when they get out a lot of focus is on underwriting, but I’ve found that claims provides endless opportunities to do good in the world and to satisfy curiosity and the desire to grow. It’s perfect for people who think of themselves as lifelong learners. The number one thing I would say if you’re considering claims – call me! I’ll be delighted to tell you why  I think it can exceptionally rewarding career.

Stacey Jurado

Claims Casualty Manager
Atlas Financial Holdings, Inc.

Stacey spent time with RISE founder, Amy to discuss her daily routine along with some advice for the new insurance professionals entering this space.

What is your morning regimen?

I get up at a quarter to 5 am, and my regimen is: coffee, shower, and play with my dog for a while to clear my mind to get ready for the day.

What is your commute like?

I’m very fortunate, I live less than 5 miles from the office so drive in.

What is the first thing you do when you start your work day?

The first thing I do is get some administrative tasks done. I get in before everyone, so I am able to get all my end of day reporting from the previous day done. This way I’m ready to field whatever people need when they get in.

Who do you work most closely with?

I’m in the casualty department within claims. I have one supervisor and a total staff of 11. Currently I’m looking to fill 2 open positions. I work most closely with my team, legal staff, and outside counsel. I also have one property damage adjuster as well.

How do you balance meetings, email, solving problems, and your own tasks?

 I try to schedule my day, and I allow certain times for different activities. Each person has a specific time, so if they need attention, we can address it at their time. I live by my calendar, both personally and professionally.


 Lunch is usually at my desk. It includes a coffee run which takes about 15-20 minutes to reset and refocus, gets me outside for fresh air, and allows me to step away, because that is important.

You never get through a day without ______.

Having plans change. You must always be ready to roll with it!

Can you name an innovative solution that made a huge impact for your area of responsibility?

We’re using an outside vendor to manage our legal billing, and we moved to flat fee scheduling, which gives better control over spending. I used this before at a prior company and it works very well. I’m also working on putting in place an early settlement bonus. I’m going to tighten up the plan because it will benefit both us and our outside counsel, and it will cost less in the long run.

What changes in the role of technology have you noticed in your department? Does this change the skills you hire for?

We’re now paperless so that gives people the opportunity to work pretty much from wherever. Everything is more advanced so we look for people who can be more independent. We do have several people who work from home remotely several days a week.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the results and seeing people succeed professionally. I enjoy winning cases. I also enjoy building rapport with others in other departments. Watching peers receive promotions is amazing. Seeing my team expand their roles is the best, because that’s how I got to where I am today.

What is your biggest motivation in getting up every morning to do it again?

My family is my motivation. I just want to make them proud. My mother owns her own successful business so I’ve always wanted to make her proud.

When you were 18, did you envision this to become your career?

 This is definitely not what I thought I was going to be doing. I don’t think I had a clear vision at 18. I would encourage others to find something they are passionate about. Just be open to try things because that’s the only way to figure out what you love. I happened to fall into it, but I love it. Insurance is much more interesting than it sounds! People have a preconceived notion that insurance is boring. No two claims are the same, and you constantly have to think outside the box to come up with innovate ways to achieve the results, whether it’s utilizing resources that have served you in the past or finding an outside vendor. Insurance is anything but cookie cutter.

What advice would you give to other women who might be considering a career in insurance?

Work hard! Try to get as much exposure as you can, whether that’s working in different departments or forging relationships with other departments. Become well rounded so you become a resource. Surround yourself with the people you want to emulate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Communication, Culture and Consciousness: Redefining Claims Careers for Today’s Talent

By: Rob Howard, Chief Claims Officer, Farmers Insurance®

Claims is the greatest arena of differentiation among modern insurers. A claims experience is likely the primary touchpoint our customers have to consider when it comes time to decide whether or not to remain a customer. How well we serve them in their moment of need is often the make or break moment of the relationship.

In recent years, I’ve watched as technology adoption has transformed nearly every facet of the life of a claims representative. From process to culture to customer service, our every function has become more dynamic and talent-friendly.

Embracing Innovation

The insurance industry has always offered tremendous career opportunity — I should know, I started as a claims representative straight out of college and now serve as chief claims officer. But the fact that our culture at Farmers® has evolved and come to celebrate technology has allowed us to pair the traditional benefits of a career in claims with values that matter most to younger generations: innovation, flexibility and balance.

This new paradigm benefits employees and customers alike. Whether it’s working remotely or having the option to communicate via an alternative channel, we’ve implemented technologies that improve both sides of the claims experience.

It’s No Longer Business As Usual – It’s Business As You Like It

In this business, you’re unlikely to have two days in a row that are similar, and increasingly, there is more than one way to get the job done. We have an entire toolbox of technologies that streamline the way we work even as they expand the service and support we offer our customers.

Today’s customers can “Ask Alexa” for claims updates. They can send a text to file a claim. They can connect to the chat team for simple inquiries and get rapid answers and solutions. Our teams have drones to help them assess damages in the field. Employees can work from almost anywhere with an internet connection. The list goes on, but it all adds up to this: We’re doing good work with great people in smarter ways. That’s an outcome we want to repeat again and again, because it helps us attract, retain and develop the best talent to serve our policyholders.

 Communication Is Still Key

And speaking of talent, I think it’s important to note that technology hasn’t eliminated the core traits of a good claims representative. Rather, it’s made it easier for those with the right skill set to thrive.

Claims has always been the domain of self-starters and great communicators. That’s as true now as ever, though the tools used to get the job done are certainly different from those used when I got my start in this discipline. Yet dependability, willingness to learn, and interpersonal skills are still keys to success in claims and, for that matter, in the larger insurance industry.

Claims is where the connection we have with our customers comes to life. Our success or failure there comes down to the talent we have on our side. Fortunately, there’s never been a better or more exciting time to be a claims representative. No matter their ultimate career goals, this field is the perfect proving ground for upcoming talent to refine their skills and master their trade. Innovation is all around us, transforming the work we do for our customers and, critically, enhancing the work of all those who are creating the claims experience of tomorrow.

For more information on careers at Farmers Insurance visit