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At this year’s Claims-sponsored 12th Annual ACE conference, I overheard some discussions about dumbbells while making my way around some of the breakout sessions. But attendees weren’t referring to the rubber-ended curling kind found in Gold’s Gym or Life Time Fitness. A group of 200 or so claim professionals were discussing them metaphorically to describe the insurance claim world. On one end, there is a large group of extremely experienced individuals. This is juxtaposed on the other end by a mass of young professionals just entering the workforce. The problem with the claim “dumbbell,” or so it was explained, is the thin, unbending bar connecting the two ends.

During a session addressing the importance of human capital, presenter Joan Schmit, the chair of risk management and insurance at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Business, proposed that bridging this narrow gap is where corporate muscle-building begins. But how do you effectively connect the two? Furthermore, is it truly possible to support one group without alienating the other? After all, a claim executive can’t consistently give all of the incentives to newbies without throwing the experienced veterans a bone every now and then. Sure, it’s nice — even essential — to consider the future of an organization. But let’s be real. The more experienced staff members keep the claim treadmills oiled and operating smoothly during the daily grind. Therefore, keeping them satisfied should be an unending priority.

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