Claim professionals gain invaluable insight from education and networking opportunities, according to industry experts who spoke with Claims Journal, Carrier Management’s sister publication, in exclusive interviews during the International Association of Claim Professionals (IACP) 47th annual conference in Sonoma, Calif., in September. The conference covered a wide range of topics, including a panel discussion on the Canterbury Earthquake by New Zealand-based experts, Uber’s effect on transportation and the Ferguson effect in defending police civil liability claims.

The association boasts more than 500 members from around the globe representing commercial and specialty insurers as well as reinsurers, according to Catherine Kalaydjian, executive director of corporate development.

The association, which is geared to commercial, specialty and reinsurer claim leaders, aids in preparing claim executives for the executive table, said Steve Robson, former head of claims for Brit and former IACP president.

“We have lot of lectures on risk management, strategy, mergers and acquisitions. We have a lot of CEO speakers who value speaking at this event because they value claims executives as part of their roundtable,” Robson said.

Education and networking are key to working together, developing new ideas and understanding new risks, he said.

According to Edward Quinn Jr., president and CEO of New York-based Rockville Risk Management Associates, being a member and current president allows him to interact with a variety of company heads.

“It’s a tremendous education,” said Quinn, speaking about the different types of insurance organizations and different lines of business that he has been exposed to since joining the association.

Education is invaluable to claims, especially as departments feel the sting of skilled employees retiring.

Tom Joyce, senior vice president and chief claims officer for Scottsdale-based Nautilus Insurance Co. and current IACP treasurer, said claims departments are feeling the pressure with the expectation that a significant number of employees will be retiring soon.

Joyce said convincing millennials that claims is the profession to be in means investing in education. As a result, professional designations and associations like the IACP will cultivate the growth necessary for claims skills development.

“Personally, I see the professional designations as foundational for that kind of growth, that kind of development,” explained Joyce.

The crisis-management and problem-solving aptitude developed during a claims career can help one pivot from working in claims to expand beyond that role, said Mark Cloutier, CEO of Brit Group.

Cloutier started out as an independent loss adjuster in Western Canada and said the experience helps prepare individuals to step outside the department into other areas within the insurance industry.

“A claims background, if you think about what we do in claims, gives us a great sort of facility for solving problems and working through significant issues,” Cloutier said.