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Tag: life at BCS

18 May 2020

Meet the Team – Underwriting

This month, Erica Pickens, Senior Underwriter, describes her team’s role at BCS, what she likes about her job, and more.

Q: Describe you/your team’s role at BCS.

A: Our main role is to evaluate each group risk and ensure that the risks are appropriate and consistent with underwriting guidelines and state regulations. We also review large or ongoing claim concerns and adjust rates appropriately. We are actively involved with testing new rating, underwriting and front-end systems and analyzing statistical data. We work with all internal departments to continue to manage our risk.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I really enjoy being able to use my problem-solving skills.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Be able to make sound financial and risk assessments, advanced analytical skills, problem-solving skills, the ability to multi-task and collaborate.

Q: How long have you been with the company? What’s kept you at BCS?

A: I have been with BCS for 12 years and have really valued being able to mix up my time on a variety of different projects. This includes being a member of our Culture Team and the leader of the Event Planning Team (EPal).

Q: What’s your idea of the perfect day?

A: My perfect day is hanging out with my daughter.

27 Apr 2020

Meet the Team – Legal

Wendy Present, Associate Counsel, gives us insights to her job in Legal and her unique journey with BCS.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: One of the things I like about my job is that there is no “typical” day. My primary responsibilities involve contract drafting, review, and negotiation. However, I review such a wide range of contracts that every day brings a new challenge and opportunity for learning.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.

A: I am currently working, along with other team members, to roll out a new automated contract management system and to ensure that the new system will produce enhanced efficiency and improved processes for our contract creation, review, approval, execution, and storage. I am proud to take part in a project that is so innovative and impactful to our organization.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: In addition to a law degree, law license, and a specialization in contract law, the person serving in this role needs to possess solid organization and time management skills in order to manage competing priorities, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and great attention to detail.

Q: How long have you been with the company?

A: I have had an interesting and unique journey with BCS. I first began working for BCS right out of law school. Although my career and personal life took me in different directions for a time, I happily returned to BCS last year! My combined years of service now total about 7 ½ years. What drew me to BCS initially is what drew me back here again—the culture and the people. It is a collaborative, professional, and team-oriented group of people who truly seem to care about the work we do, our customers, and each other.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?

A: My favorite place in the world is wherever my family is (even better if my family happens to be in Santorini, Greece, or Lanai’, Hawaii).

Q: What is one thing on your bucket list?

A: I would love to experience a safari in Africa one day.

16 Mar 2020
Policy Issuance Analyst

Meet the Team – Service

Hear from Jonathan Jimenez about his Compliance Analyst role, and the skills needed to succeed at BCS.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?
A: On Mondays I work from home in my pajamas so that’s nice. Besides that though, everyday consists of issuing policies, whether it be Limited Benefits (LB), Accident Indemnity (AI), Hospital Indemnity (HI), and/or Critical Illness (CI)  products. I’ve recently taken on the mantle of CODE Commander, so it’s been interesting steering BCS into a new way to handle our regulatory obligations. Beyond that, I take on whatever is asked of me by my teammates, or the Wellness Committee.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?
A: Focus, Memory, and Flexibility. I deal with lots of repetitive tasks that can vary wildly from group to group and product to product, so focus and memory go hand in hand with issuing policies. Having a good memory and remaining focused on the task at hand is imperative to maintaining a low-error, high volume output. Flexibility has come into play more recently now that I’m under the Operations & Services department; since we all share in each other workloads, we have to be prepared to step in when needed. In the past, I was only exposed to issuing Limited Benefit policies; now I am included in many differing projects, which I enjoy. You never know what the day will bring so you must stay ready for the unexpected.

Q: Describe your department in three words.
A: (1) Fluid – because we are constantly reshaping ourselves to fit the needs of the company. (2) Resolute – despite the challenges we face, we remain committed to getting the job done, and done with precision. (3) Funny – we all have a good sense of humor, and we aren’t afraid to share our lives with one another, even the embarrassing moments (who accidentally cuts their eyeball with a toothbrush?!).

Q: What’s the biggest risk you have taken?
A: Showing my wife Sasha my Pokemon card collection way too early in our relationship.

Q: In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, would you rather find a pot of gold or find a four-leaf clover that will bring you good luck?
A: Right in front of my house, I found two 4-leaf clovers in a span of 10 minutes. I got zero luck from them. So definitely the pot of gold. Not sure how I’d explain it to my bank or the IRS, but I’m willing to cross that bridge when I get there.

14 Feb 2020
Tim Medema

Meet the Team – Enterprise Risk Management

This month, we feature Assistant Vice President, Risk Management, Tim Medema. Read on for a day-in-the-life of the Enterprise Risk Management team.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) team is responsible for performing the risk assessment for BCS, monitoring the results and controls to ensure that the Company is prepared for each new challenge. We are also responsible for the company’s Quality Assurance (QA) / Internal Audit (IA) functions. In our QA/IA role we primarily monitor Compliance, Claims, Underwriting and Policy Administration activities at our outside business partners to provide support and insight to strengthen their operations. The ERM team also has many other responsibilities including several of our annual external audits, providing support in due diligence activities, and vendor management.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you? 

A: Different – No day is the same because we interact with all functional areas within BCS. As you can imagine, the diverse range of responsibilities require quick thinking, collaboration, and an opportunity to make a difference.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The fact that each day is truly different. I have a team of three direct reports who are dedicated, intelligent, and hard-working.  Because the team and I interact with so many people within BCS, we are not pigeon-holed and never get bored.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Good written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, dedication, strong subject matter knowledge and a sense of humor.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Dedicated, cohesive and flexible.

Q: You assess risk for a living. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? 

A: I am generally a risk-averse person and while I may be on the slightly wild side of conservative, I would have to say driving up IL Rte. 83 to and from work each day is more that enough risk for me.

27 Jan 2020

Meet the Team – Corporate Services

We are kicking off 2020 with a look into our Corporate Services Department. For many, Corporate Services Assistant, Carmen Maldonado is the first person they speak with when calling or coming into our office.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: My team’s role at BCS is to deliver the best service for all the company’s internal needs. This includes managing the front desk, answering phones, greeting guests, fulfilling print requests, ordering supplies, and so much more.

Q: Tell us about something new you are working on? 

A: To better assist my team members with print job orders I am currently training on how to run our printer/copier machine.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: The environment at the front desk can change from being extremely busy with guests checking in, incoming calls, lunch orders being delivered to being completely quiet. Skills I would say are most needed for my position in order to succeed would be to master the art of multitasking.

Q: How long have you been with BCS?

A: I have been at BCS for 6 years. What keeps me here is the inspiration I receive from my Supervisor Kevin Mitchell who encourages me to strengthen my skills and build confidence in my position.

Q: Did you make a New Years resolution?

A: My New Year’s resolution is start doing yoga.

Q: In your role, you wear a lot of different hats. What is your best advice for balancing a multitude of tasks? 

A: My best advice for my role is to have a positive and confident attitude. Being the face of the company is an important role to have which is why it is critical to greet everyone, not just outside guests, with a smile!

09 Dec 2019

Meet the Team – Accounting

We close out the year with a look into our Accounting department. Ami Starks, Senior Accountant, describes her team’s role at BCS, the skills someone needs to succeed, how she got started with BCS, and her favorite thing about the holidays.

Q: Describe you/your team’s role at BCS.

A: I am a Senior Accountant for BCS in the Program Accounting area. Our main role is to process reinsurance activity to outside reinsurers and inter-companies each month. These transactions and the timely settlement of balances between reinsurers are very important for BCS to ensure that we manage our net retained risk.  In addition, we are responsible to monitor all the different insurance product lines/management programs to ensure that they are running according to forecast. We analyze all the different components (gross written premium, claim activity, loss ratios, commission activity, etc.) that lead to the contribution to profit and overhead.   This work is very rewarding and challenging, and what I love the most about my job is that each product and each month is so different from each other.

Outside of accounting, I am also part of the Wellness Team. The team encourages employees to find healthy lifestyles. Some of the ways we have encouraged the company to take healthy steps was by creating a Wallyball league during lunch time, installing new vending machines with healthier snack options, bringing in massage therapists to help reduce stress, and hosting a chili cook-off.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: The two main skills needed to succeed in my role are organization and time management. By knowing what steps need to be completed first you get the most out of your time. There are a lot of tight deadlines that need to be met so if you have your work organized in the right flow, you’ll be good to go!

Q: How long have you been with the company?

A: I have been with BCS for a little over four years. I started as an accounting intern for six months, and then transitioned to a full-time employee. Since I was an intern, I feel I was able to get a “sneak-peak” of the company. With this sneak-peak I was able to see how friendly the staff was and the unique-ness of the work. These two things are what drew me to accept a full-time position.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Efficient, detail-oriented, and reliable.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the approaching holidays?

A: My favorite thing about the approaching holidays is the non-stop Christmas movies being played on the Hallmark Channel. Each movie has the same predictable love story, but I cannot get enough. I love watching!

26 Nov 2019

Meet the Team – President and CEO

As you may have read in our recent press release, Peter Costello has been named President & CEO of BCS, effective December 1, succeeding retiring CEO Scott Beacham.

This special edition Meet the Team serves as a more intimate introduction to Peter, where he shares what he’s learned over his two decades of experience in healthcare and technology, what he’s most excited about at BCS, and more.

Q: What have you learned that will help you guide the company throughout next year?

 A: In my 25 years in business, I’ve learned:

  • Stay close to the market and your customers – understand their problems and needs and that will point you in the right direction. Cultivating current customers is always cheaper than conquering new markets.
  • You have to know your strengths – that along with knowing your customers’ needs will give you your next vector.
  • All successful business cultures have both a sense of urgency and a sense of scarcity. Urgency is understanding that all opportunities have a window of availability, and that window is getting smaller all the time. Scarcity means you can’t do everything; our time and treasure is limited. If you build on your strengths, you’ll have a better chance of winning.
  • People are the most important resource we have – we have to hire, develop, and retain good people who want to do the right thing, want to learn, want to lead, want to tackle tough challenges, and want to win.
  • Diversity makes us stronger – different ideas, different backgrounds, different beliefs are important to making a difference.
  • Showing up every day and doing your best leads to long term success. Some days you’ll get kicked in the face, some days you’ll have big wins. Plan on, expect and accept the first, and you’ll have plenty of the second.
  • Communicating openly, honestly and frequently is important to building trust and building teamwork. Good communication liberates and empowers people.
  • We have to expect and demand excellence – in our thinking, and in our execution. Demand it in myself first, then in others.

Q: What was the path you took to get to where you are today?

 A: My parents taught me the importance of having faith, being generous, having a sense of humor, unconditional love, a strong moral compass, education and family – that’s a solid foundation to start on.

My service in the Navy taught me the importance of following a dream, of a clear mission as a unifying objective, the sense of a shared sacrifice, and the importance in working in teams and delegating responsibility and trusting others to do their job. It also taught me that you have to be accountable and hold others accountable.

My work in the not-for-profit Blue world taught me about how the health care industry works and the value of social responsibility.

My wife and my children have taught me humility – it keeps us all grounded and human.

My work as an entrepreneur taught me the value of taking calculated risks, the importance of being optimistic, persistent and resilient. Entrepreneurs are all those things. We all should be.

Endurance sports taught me the value of persistency – getting out every day, good weather and bad, and getting the miles in. It also taught me the value in using goals as a motivation. No one likes the first few miles or the pain in the late miles but getting to the finish line is made all the better by overcoming the difficulties in getting there. Setting goals and showing up every day to work towards those goals is important.

Q: What excites you about being the CEO of BCS?

A: I’m excited about working with our team at BCS to bring solutions to the problems that face our customers. There are a lot of problems to solve and I believe we’re in a unique position to solve them. I’m super excited about that. I’m excited about working together to build a culture of joy and fun and doing great things as we do it.

Q: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

 A: Being away from family during my years in the Navy was difficult. Being away from my family while working at BCS has been difficult as well. But the bright side is that I appreciate them all the more now.

Q: Who or what has shaped who you are?

 A: My parents, my brothers and sisters, the people I have worked with and worked for, my family. More recently, Scott [Beacham, retiring BCS CEO] has been a great mentor and a great example of the value of being principled, being consistent, caring for each other and finding comfort in your own skin. I’ll miss him.

Q: What is your favorite marathon that you’ve ran, and why?

 A: The Chicago Marathon – all the people come out to cheer you on, the music and the energy is glorious. I love the Boston Marathon too, although it’s been a long time since I ran it, as you have to train during the winter. Running for three hours to train when there are only a few hours of daylight is tough but crossing the finish line in the Spring makes it all worth it.

21 Oct 2019
Meet the Team - Cyber

Meet the Team – Cyber

Meet the Team – Chad Chaffin

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so we are taking a peek into a day in the life of cyber team member, Chad Chaffin. Chad is Vice President, Property & Casualty Underwriting, with responsibility for our Cyber insurance products, along with Agent E&O.

 Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: As a small company relative to our direct E&O and cyber liability competitors, we are in a unique position of taking on many roles and responsibilities.  This allows us to be very creative, innovative and nimble, moving quickly in a very demanding and extremely dynamic market.

Every day we are focused on production, creating and maintaining strong broker relationships, and underwriting cyber risks that range from very small sole proprietors to Fortune 100 companies in most industries across the country.

We are also responsible for placing our reinsurance, working with our marketing department to build collateral and grow the BCS brand.  As an admitted carrier we work very closely with our compliance department to ensure correct and timely filings of our products.  We collaborate with claims to monitor loss trends and ensure we are maintaining a very high level of claims handling standards.

Customer service to our broker partners, insured customers, and other stakeholders is an everyday top priority.  We take this very seriously through our communication, relationships and product designs to meet the needs of our customers.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.  

A: We are currently rolling out revised rates and forms on our Micro (small business) and Nano (sole proprietors) Cyber products.  We are increasing coverage, and in certain places reducing rates.  Any company less than $100 million in revenues can, working with their broker, receive a quote, binder and policy in less than five minutes.

We are additionally growing our excess cyber product, participating on towers of cyber insurance.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: My team, without question.  I have the good fortune of being a part of a highly talented and amazing group of cyber, management, and professional liability underwriters and support staff.  They are motivated, intelligent, upbeat, team-focused, strong insurance professionals with a passion for the industry, and quite simply all-around great individuals.

I can also say the same with our outside partners that have been a huge part of BCS launching some of the most innovative and successful cyber products in the market.

Working with amazing insurance professionals, laser-focused on putting great products in the market has allowed BCS to become a top 10 cyber liability insurance carrier (per A.M. Best).

Q: Why do you think cyber insurance is becoming such a hot topic?

A: More and more companies are realizing there is a high probability of being a victim of a cyber/privacy related loss.  They also realize the outcome could be catastrophic to operating as a going concern.

The goal posts are constantly moving and companies, especially smaller companies with fewer resources, need help staying ahead of cyber threats, navigating the regulatory landscape, ensuring appropriate breach response, and financing the activities related to responding to a cyber incident.

Companies cannot (should not) do it alone and most likely cannot pay for the costs involved without considerable financial stress, if not bankruptcy.

Cyber insurance helps not only pay for the activities related to a breach, including potential litigation, but it also helps align our insureds with the right vendors that will help them mitigate financial and reputational damage.

Q: You spend your days in the cyber world. When you need to get “off the grid”, where do you go/what do you do?

A: The most important and rewarding thing I do is spend time with my amazing wife and two beautiful and relatively crazy daughters (7 and 5).  We just have a ton of fun together.

Otherwise I occasionally ruin a good day trying to golf or workout.  I’m also a bit geeky and love video games.

Plus, we added a BONUS question for Chad, as the leader of our Culture Team.

Q: You also lead our culture team, which promotes BCS employees “having fun, and getting things done”. Tell us a bit about that.

A: In the long-run, the only truly unique aspect of a company is its culture.  A competitive landscape usually means strategies, innovations, and products are ultimately copied.  What cannot be copied is a culture.

How shared beliefs and values are defined, what things are considered priorities, what’s determined to be effective and meaningful and how success is measured and rewarded is different at every company and 100% impossible to replicate from company to company.

At BCS, the Culture Team had a lot of great, organic dialogue related to working hard, working smarter, being efficient, etc.  Ultimately, we decided simple is better and came up with “having fun, getting things done.”  It’s very meaningful and that both parts must go together for a strong culture and successful business.  If you have one without the other (or neither), something is off.

The BCS Culture Team is a true testament to the very objective we defined – “having fun, getting things done” and I couldn’t be prouder to work with such an outstanding group of professionals.

17 Sep 2019

Meet the Team – IT

Observed every third Tuesday in September, National IT Professionals Day honors all those in information technology who keep our businesses connected. To celebrate, we highlight Donte Lee, Manager, Network Administration.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: As the Network Administration Manager, my team and I handle all things helpdesk and IT Infrastructure.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Technology plays a big role in allowing flexibility. Being able to balance home and work life is very important to me. Also, I love the personal progress and lifelong learning within my job. My motivation is to be a little more sophisticated every day.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in an IT role?

A: Have patience, stay curious, and have a positive attitude.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Talented, innovative, and inclusive

Q: What is one thing on your bucket list?

A: I would love to obtain my private pilot’s license.

 

Happy National IT Professionals Day to our entire IT team!

29 Aug 2019

Meet the Team – Sales

This month we meet Matt Gibson, Director, Business Development. Matt spends his days working with clients, so we asked him for his insights working on our Sales team.

Q: What do you like most about your role?

A: I love meeting new people and building relationships.  Some of the relationships have lasted for many years and will continue for many years into the future.  A close second has to be closing a big deal, and ultimately bringing new business to BCS.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in a sales role?

A: To excel in sales, one needs to have the ability to listen to each client and suggest solutions to their issues.  The solutions may or may not be something that BCS can bring to the table, but it shows that we are all collectively working toward a common goal.

Q: What drew you to BCS?

A: I have worked at BCS for about 3.5 years, and in my prior life, I worked at HCSC for just shy of 15 years.  What drew me to BCS was the chance to work at a smaller company with the goal of being better able to impact change.  Also knowing that BCS plays a major role within BCBS Plans made the decision a little easier.

Q: If you could swap jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

A: I would want to be a hunting guide.  I first started hunting when I was 8 and have done it ever since.  I love nature and being a guide would allow me to be outside watching the world go by.  It would also provide for the ability to meet new people from all walks of life.

Q: Rumor has it you have quite the sock collection. How many pairs do you think you own?

A: The rumor is true, I do have quite the sock collection.  The collection has grown over the years and I probably have close to 50 pairs of colorful dress socks.  Color and design are critical and the more color, the better in my opinion.  Believe it or not, the socks tend to be a simple way to open conversation.