Our “A Rewarding New York Life” series shines a light on the breadth of opportunity available at New York Life and explores how a role here could check a lot of boxes when it comes to finding a rewarding career and nailing that work-life balance.
With a history spanning more than 176 years, New York Life is an insurance company that thrives on its people. And when it comes to group life insurance, New York Life has been protecting employees and their families for several decades.
In 2020, with the acquisition of Cigna’s group insurance business, New York Life took an exciting step. This was the largest acquisition in the company’s history and resulted in the New York Life Group Benefit Solutions (GBS).
We spoke to a group of our dynamic GBS employees about who they are, what they do, and how New York Life supports their personal and professional goals.
Vocational Case Manager – Laura Owens
With more than 11 years of working in the insurance industry, Laura Owens has worn many hats, but her current focus is with the vocational case management team for short-term disability claims at New York Life. This role fits her like a glove—she helps clients return to work and is often left feeling like a superhero. Here, Laura explains how New York Life helps her do the job she loves while allowing her the ability to think outside of the box and have solution-focused conversations.
The Person / “Nurturing others”
As the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, three dogs, and three cats, it’s not surprising that Laura self-identifies as an “emotional, nurturing person.” It seems caring for others is in her DNA. After finishing grad school with a degree in Vocational Rehabilitation, Laura went to work with people with disabilities. She helped them find employment and developed a set of skills based around organization, structure, and compassion—perfect for a career in insurance case management.
The Role / “Finding solutions”
For Laura, a typical day starts with an early morning coffee. From there, most of her day is spent making direct calls to customers and assessing their needs.
“I have a lot of customers who have been referred to me. I reach out and I'm able to have a really robust conversation with them about what barriers are preventing them from returning to work.”
“I help them develop job goals. The whole purpose of the role is to assist our customers with returning to some type of employment after a period of disability. Sometimes it's about getting them back to their previous job, and sometimes it’s about how they can apply skills and their past experiences to other jobs in the market.”
Unlike a Claims Manager, Laura is not responsible for the outcome of a customer’s insurance claim. Instead, her focus is on the logistics behind returning to work. So, what aspects of the role does Laura find particularly rewarding?
“When someone returns to work when they didn't think they could, it is so rewarding for me. If I'm able to introduce an idea that they've never thought of before, and the end result is success, then that is the most fulfilling thing. I get to help save the day!”
The Culture / “Ideas are valued”
When it comes to the professional support at New York Life, Laura describes the culture as encouraging. There is a focus on personal development that she welcomes.
“I actually approached senior management to present my own idea for a mental health pilot project. As long as I research and pitch properly, they're very open to whatever I want to try. If I have an idea, and I want to work with it, I feel supported."—Laura Owens.
“I have a special interest in mental health in relation to returning to work. When we work with people who have depression for example, their restrictions for going back to work might be something along the lines of needing to avoid stress. But that's really hard to quantify. It’s more ambiguous, and I enjoy the challenge of working with customers who are facing these restrictions.”
“I actually approached senior management to present my own idea for a mental health pilot project. As long as I research and pitch properly, they're very open to whatever I want to try. If I have an idea, and I want to work with it, I feel supported.”
Teamwork and diversity are other parts of the New York Life culture valued by Laura. Connecting with colleagues and building real relationships—despite working remotely—is something she appreciates both personally, and professionally.
“We have things like a weekly huddle meeting, where we talk through changes and any kind of hiccups or issues anyone's having. In general, we all have an open-door policy, even remotely. It's very collaborative. We also have what is called ‘team staffing,’ which is led by leadership. Here we can hop on and get some guidance on some of the more complex cases.”
And finally, as a parent, Laura feels supported by New York Life when there is an occasional need for flexibility.
“If something comes up with my daughter, I can let my manager know I need to pop to the school over my lunch break. It's great that I can be easily available to her around my work schedule.”
Feel inspired? Why not apply to one of our many open roles today.
New York Life is an equal opportunity employer M/F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity
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