Client case studies

Our clients share their problem, the solution and the results

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  • A note from Sharon
    A note from Sharon
  • Cook, Maran & Associates
    Cook, Maran & Associates
  • The Wilhelm Agency
    The Wilhelm Agency
  • Pathfinder/LL&D
    Pathfinder/LL&D
  • Western World
    Western World
  • W.R. Berkley
    W.R. Berkley

Why WAHVE?

Companies that need and value talent will continue to have access to the brainpower of retired workers.

Why WAHVE? I’m asked that all the time by people who are just getting to know WAHVE. My answer is always the same – because we are passionate about helping insurance firms find experienced talent they can count on and keeping our industry’s retiring professionals stay productive by extending their careers working from home.

Our goal is to provide insurance firms with a cost-effective talent solution. Our wahves bring years of experience with a breadth and depth of knowledge to every client. This means we can provide our clients with the best “work at home vintage expert” (a wahve) to fill a specific need, whether process, support or customer service work, front-office or back-office – on a part-time, full-time, long-term or project basis.

Our wahves have twenty-five years of professional experience with a minimum of the most current fifteen years in the insurance industry. And no matter your needs or your geographic location, WAHVE can provide the talent saving clients the time and expense of the traditional hiring process.

We think our service and our “vintage” workers are second to none. But why should we be the ones to tell you? We think the best advertisement for WAHVE comes from our customers. So we asked them: “Why WAHVE?”

Their answers make up these case studies. We thank them for their honesty and candor. Each company had its own specific need, and they tell how WAHVE is helping them meet that need. As you read through each one, think about how your business could benefit from a wahve worker who is uniquely matched to your company and needs.

If you have questions, call me. I’m always happy to help you locate the right talent that fits your company.

Best,

sharon-sign

Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC
President & CEO

Beth Gardner, Cook, Maran & Associates

I had high expectations. They were met.

The problem: a backlog of work

Cook, Maran & Associates was having a processing issue; audits, endorsements, and policy reviews were starting to multiply and there weren’t enough people with the necessary skills to help get the workload tamed. “They’re not the simplest tasks,” said Beth Gardner, COO of the full‐service insurance agency with headquarters in Southampton, NY. The agency’s 60 staff members were quickly becoming bogged down.

The company had hired two assistants, but they were still new to the business and weren’t up to the level needed to understand and complete the processes. Also, the account managers had just taken on more duties. “We needed to give them some relief,” said Beth.

The solution: timing is everything

A chance email from the Big I held the answer for Beth. In it, an article talked about a company called WAHVE and how it was helping firms find skilled workers that suited their needs. Beth decided to call WAHVE.

A few phone calls later, Cook Maran hired WAHVE to provide a remote worker – a "wahve"— to work on processing tasks. In her phone interview with the candidate, Beth said she was impressed with the wahve's background and history of effectively handling complex situations and processing issues. "She had done even more [in her career] than we were asking her to do," says Beth.

More impressive, Beth says, was the way her wahve transitioned easily into the job and with a limited amount of training, eliminating the need for an account manager to act as the middleman. "The mail that used to go to the account manager, first now gets sent straight to our wahve, and then she'll call us if she has questions."

The experience was so positive that Cook Maran hired its second wahve to handle certificates of insurance and more basic work, freeing up an assistant to cover for a maternity leave. One wahve is now working 37 hours a week, while the other wahve fills in where and when needed.

The result: redirected energies

It's been a positive experience for Cook Maran, says Beth. Employees are less stressed thanks to the absence of a backlog, she adds. An added bonus – the account managers are able to redirect their energies toward remarketing efforts.

The specialization in the insurance business is why WAHVE works for Cook Maran, and why Beth believes WAHVE is a great solution and one that came as no surprise. “I had high expectations, and they were met.”

Avi Wilhelm, The Wilhelm Agency

I found top quality experience in places like Seattle and Tennessee.

The problem: lack of qualified workers

Avi Wilhelm is no stranger to remote workers. His insurance agency, The Wilhelm Agency, Inc. in Lakewood, N.J., an agency of 10 people, has used local remote workers in the past to get the back-office work done. So when a change in phone systems occurred, Avi wanted to use the new technology as a catalyst for making workflow changes and adding staff.

Yet New Jersey’s high cost of living makes hiring expensive, and the candidate pool near his agency does not lend itself to the insurance industry. That’s when Avi turned to WAHVE – something he’d done in 2010 when a key employee moved out of the area, and Avi couldn’t find a qualified replacement nearby.

The solution: customers first

Avi hired his first wahve to fill the role of a commercial lines assistant for his small business accounts. His wahve delivered – so much so that Avi moved her into a full CSR position.

And because his experience with his wahve was so successful, he hired two more wahves. One wahve is now the head account executive for his large clients. She manages his book of business and has her own assistant, in-house bookkeeper, and claims person. The other wahve manages his personal lines business.

All of Wilhelm Agency's wahves deal directly with the agency's clients. Avi says the location of his wahves – all in the US – is something he believes clients appreciate. "People get turned off by outsourced workers in foreign countries. I get turned off by it."

Plus, he says his clients either don't realize or don't have concerns with the Wilhelm Agency's workers being located in in other parts of the country. One wahve lives in Seattle, the other in Tennessee.

The result: better experience, greater efficiency

For Avi, his WAHVE experience has been "phenomenal. We've got really good people." He's impressed by the quality of the work, the way the workers handle customers and interact with staff, and the level of experience – 30 years of insurance knowledge and skills – he was able to afford through WAHVE. "The wahves are much more cost-effective for us."

About hiring remote workers, Avi says: "If these three people had walked into my office and lived around the corner, it would have been the same thing. I would have hired them on the spot. The difference is they (experienced insurance professionals) are a dying breed in my area, and if I did find them, I would probably not be able to afford them because of where we're located."

Jonathan Marshall, Pathfinder/LL&D

I needed an experienced insurance professional who would work part time. WAHVE delivered.

The problem: Finding industry knowledge for a part-time position

Pathfinder/LL&D, a Texas firm with over fifty employees, needed someone who understood the insurance world. Yet the firm had only part-time hours to offer, making it difficult to locate experienced staff. “At the time, we knew we didn’t need a full-time person—but we needed someone who knew what they were doing,” said Marshall. “Oftentimes, people who have been in the industry want a full-time job. That means full salary with benefits, which can get quite expensive, especially if you don’t need 40 hours a week from that person.”

The solution: A part-time professional with full-time skills

While his company could have hired someone part time and trained them in the industry, Marshall said, “There’s no substitute for somebody who knows insurance and knows what to look for.  They’re going to spot things that can be invaluable – the kind of things they might find can save you from an E&O expense.”

Through WAHVE, Pathfinder/LL&D hired a wahve who needed just a few days’ training on the office systems before going home and starting work. “It was pretty clear within a couple of months that it was really was going to work well,” said Marshall. His wahve’s primary job is to take on technical-assistant type work—checking policies, ordering loss runs and setting up premium loss history summaries. Marshall said that his wahve has also handled other projects, including certificates of insurance and evidence of property insurance. “The great thing about her is she has so much experience and knowledge because of her years in the industry,” said Marshall. “She’s very thorough. She’s really good at identifying issues and letting us know what we need to do to correct things. It’s perfect.”

The result:  Higher productivity with greater accuracy

You could pay somebody less money,” explained Marshall, “but offset against the experience that our wahve brings, it’s really an incredible value that we get. She can do it in less time, but with more thoroughness.”

The experience has been such a positive, that Pathfinder/LL&D now has four wahves, two full-time and two part-time.

Tom Mulligan, Western World

I found a new option: reliable, ready access to skilled underwriters.

The problem: short term hiring needs hindered by shortages in talent

The surplus lines industry can move in sudden updrafts and downdrafts. “There is a volatility in our business as an excess and surplus lines carrier,” says Thomas Mulligan, president and CEO of Western World Insurance Group, a carrier with $261 million in revenue. “Depending on where you are in the cycle with a particular line or program, you have to be adaptable.”

While Western World had successfully relied on outsourcing for processing, it continued to face backlogs in underwriting. The company needed specialized help. Yet finding skilled underwriters locally was a challenge.

The solution: finding skilled underwriters via WAHVE

With WAHVE, Western World found a new option: ready access to skilled underwriters who possess the kind of highly technically underwriting talent the carrier needed to feel confident. "l would characterize it as audit work involving rate checking and underwriting checking. In commercial auto, for instance – which is highly technical – for someone to work here, they need a strong commercial auto background.

And that's what we've gotten," says Mulligan. "We were looking for certain types of audit work, and WAHVE was able to supply someone who is 100 percent capable of doing that."

The result: flexibility without compromising service

Mulligan credits WAHVE for delivering the kind of flexibility needed for his company to respond quickly to changing market conditions. Because WAHVE removes geographic constraints, Western World was able to locate highly specialized talent for their underwriting department without limiting themselves to the local candidate pool.

Now Mulligan’s Franklin Lakes, NJ-based underwriting department is augmented with two wahves: one in Rhode Island and the other in the Southeast.

He described their technical skills as "beyond what we typically had seen before...WAHVE brought that to us for the first time."

Jill Wadlund, W.R. Berkley

I found the right experienced talent to meet their standard of performance.

The problem: finding qualified personnel to meet service expectations

Providing insurance and risk management services to a specialized industry niche requires dedication and know-how. If a company has to spend too much time training employees on just the basics of insurance, it can be difficult to compete.

Berkley Life Sciences, which provides insurance and risk management products and services to life science businesses, including medical device companies, biologic companies, testing laboratories and more, had a growth problem. “We were growing and expanding our product offerings,” explains Jill Wadlund, ALSM, CPCU, President of Berkley Life Sciences. “As a result, we needed an experienced property claims adjuster, but not on a full time equivalent or FTE basis.”

The solution: experienced support to manage important account activities

A WAHVE recruiter sourced candidates based on a detailed job description and follow-up conversations with Berkley Life Sciences. Wadlund says the process, which she describes as "very straightforward," took around two weeks. "It's worth the wait,” she says. “In my experience, the candidates have been great matches."

"With WAHVE, we were able to find the right amount—20 hours per week—of the right experience to oversee one of our property TPAS, ensuring that our claims were handled to Berkley Life Sciences' standards of performance," says Wadlund.

She also praises the onboarding process. WAHVE's detailed onboarding guide, she says, combined with Life Science's robust teleworking infrastructure and own onboarding procedures, meant the new wahve was able to quickly, easily, and securely access all necessary systems.

The result: confidence to hire even more part-time, remote resources

Berkley Life Sciences has since hired more wahves. At the beginning of 2016, the company had two in Operations, one in Underwriting, and one in Claims.

"WAHVE has an inventory of highly experienced insurance professionals at the ready—and WAHVE can locate the talent where it resides, so you don't have to rely on the local marketplace,” says Wadlund.

“Because they don't need much training and have 20-plus years in insurance, you can have a 'vintage' insurance professional providing support to your organization in very short order."