I started working for Safeco Insurance in the regional office in Denver in February 1990 as a claims adjuster working at a desk. In 1991 I transferred to Albuquerque to take a position as a field claims representative handling inspections of cars and homes. Over the years I have handled claims involving workmen's compensation, bodily injuries, commercial losses, automobile damage and homeowners damage. I have worked on catastrophic events in several locations including multiple hail storms in Texas and Colorado, wind storms in Seattle and the Northridge earthquake in California.
In New Mexico I have traveled to all four corners of the state to handle claims including the Cerro Grande Fires in Los Alamos that reduced over a hundred homes to ashes. In recent years I have dealt primarily with automobile and home damages in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area.
Over the years the corporate structure changed, people came and went, technology improved and work processes changed but I was always involved in the face to face part of insurance. When I started this career we used a pad and pencil to write estimates and black and white Polaroids. Now, computer estimating programs on laptops, digital photos and cell phones are a work staple. When people would ask what I do for a living I would say "I give people money", then explain that this was under the terms of an insurance claim. The face to face interaction with thousands of different people from all walks of life was always the best part of my job - no two people or situations were exactly the same.
This job gave me a lot of freedom as my managers were usually located out of state and I would only see them a couple times a year. In 16 years I had 12 different managers and I had a lot of flexibility and freedom with my schedule, as long as the customers were kept happy and I met my goals. Between my salary, bonus and company car I was rewarded materially and some days thought I was over paid for what I did - though other days I thought I was grossly under-paid.
Sixteen years with one company is a long time compared with many of the job hopping statistics you will see. In those years, I worked with a lot of good people, many of whom I still consider friends. Today is my last day working for Safeco and that chapter in my life is closing. Now it is on to new opportunities and to see what God has in store for Valerie and I in Italy.