An Interview with Matt Wilford: A Company Culture of Promoting Within

/ By Cowan Insurance Group

With a true promote from within culture at Cowan, we invest in our employees’ talent and potential by developing expertise through mentoring and learning opportunities.

Matt Wilford, Manager, Claims Commercial Insurance, has been promoted twice since starting his claims career with us two years ago. Matt shares his background and career path, what brought him to Cowan, and how he has moved into a management role with the help of our mentorship program.

Tell me how your career path led you to join Cowan?

I held claims roles with insurance carriers before coming here. I enjoyed the fast-paced atmosphere and the need for quick problem-solving when working in claims, but the specific role didn’t align with my values. Not many brokerages have insurance claims advocacy jobs or a claims team, so when I saw an opening at Cowan, I thought it was a unique job opportunity to take on a role that allows me to advocate for clients.

What do you enjoy most about working at Cowan?

I enjoy how friendly and inviting everyone is at Cowan. Our leadership team has an open-door policy, and everybody is willing to take time out of their day to talk and get to know you.

What does your role as Claims Manager entail?

I deal with complex insurance claims reviews, including claims with coverage concerns. It’s also my job to step in during challenging situations to facilitate a smooth resolution. Essentially, with every claim that comes through our team, it’s my job to ensure our clients are left feeling supported and satisfied with the outcome. Anytime we can help clients get a complex claim partially or fully covered, it’s a big win for me, and I find that part of my job exciting.

What do you love most about your role?

Working in insurance claims is often incredibly challenging because clients who make a claim are often going through one of the worst experiences of their lives, whether it’s because they got into a car accident or their house flooded. However, I take satisfaction in ensuring that the claim goes smoothly, and the client is left at the end of the process feeling satisfied with how we helped them. That’s what makes me proud of my work and keeps me in this area of the insurance field. I enjoy being able to help clients get back on their feet, even after something devastating has happened.

Are you looking to take the next step in your career?

What’s the biggest challenge in your job as Claims Manager?

Each new day can bring unexpected challenges. Working in claims, we’re at the mercy of mother nature, like big rainstorms, fires, floods, or hail; in Canada, we get it all.

One of our biggest challenges is the influx of claims we receive when an entire region is catastrophically damaged. Triaging the highest priority claims is tricky, and the stress of devastating weather events are the times when our clients need us the most.

What are the top benefits and perks you enjoy at Cowan?

I joined the company’s mentoring program as soon as I could and was paired with a fantastic mentor, who provided feedback on my resume and did a mock job interview with me. As a result, I was promoted twice during the mentorship program. Even after completing the 12-month program, my mentor and I have stayed in communication. He has provided me with so many great insights and tips on the sales aspect of our business, and it’s helped me grasp what each person at Cowan does and how their role fits into the business. The program has provided me with significant benefits, and I highly recommend it to my fellow Cowan employees.

Cowan has a “promote from within” culture, which means numerous opportunities for career growth. During my time here, I’ve seen many people move into roles of greater responsibility, even into manager positions, VP roles, or director roles. The company wants to see their employees succeed, and they don’t want to hold them back, even if that means they lose a great person in one role because they’ve accepted another position.

What excites you about the future at Cowan and in the insurance industry?

I see opportunity everywhere, both at Cowan and in the insurance industry itself. As a new manager, I’m excited to see my team’s goals and how I can help them achieve those goals.

I believe we’re about to see a big rush of transformation. As younger generations enter the workforce and move into management roles, we will see new voices and opinions, resulting in positive changes to how things are done. Change can be scary, but it’s also exciting.

Do you have any advice for people interested in insurance careers?

Roles in insurance can help people grow great careers, and the need for insurance is steady. There are many different avenues to pursue in insurance jobs, whether you’re interested in sales, claims, underwriting, or something else.

As far as advice goes, I suggest people interested in growing in their career in insurance say yes to all the opportunities that arise. Who knows who you might meet and where those connections might lead? If another person or department has a project or task they need help completing, step up and volunteer. It will go a long way for you personally and professionally. You’ll also get to experience other avenues of the business you may not have before, and that might help you clarify what parts of the industry you enjoy.

Looking to make a career change this year?

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