Insurance Careers Corner: Q&A with Suzanne Meraz, External Affairs Executive, CSAA Insurance Group

Insurance Careers Corner: Q&A with Suzanne Meraz, External Affairs Executive, CSAA Insurance Group

By Kris Maccini, Social Media Director, Triple-I

Ive been fortunate to have operated in PR my whole profession, and in insurance for about 15 years. Hewitt Associates, a consulting company later gotten by Aon, is where I started dealing with insurance coverage. I was responsible for promoting the healthcare practice, helping companies with their healthcare benefit programs.

Youve worked in PR and Corporate Communications for many years. What led you into insurance coverage and to make a profession in the market?

Inform me about your present role at CSAA.

Suzanne Meratz

Triple-Is “Insurance Careers Corner” series was produced to highlight trailblazers in insurance coverage and to spread out awareness of the profession chances within the industry.

February is Insurance Careers Month, and this month we spoke with Suzanne Meraz, an external affairs executive at CSAA Insurance Group. Suzanne goes over why she chose a profession in insurance, the impacts of the pandemic, and the importance of racial equity in the market.

Working in insurance coverage has actually provided me the opportunity to promote and find out about ingenious product or services, such as green and home entertainment insurance, along with multiple lines, consisting of P&C, health care and medical malpractice. Ive really taken pleasure in these experiences and working with many talented and clever people, however I am also proud to be part of this noble profession. As societys financial first responders, were delivering and making on a promise to people to be there for people in their time of requirement. It feels excellent to be operating in a market that is doing something favorable for the economy, for people, and for neighborhoods.

As external affairs executive for a AAA insurance provider, Im fortunate to work with a skilled group that handles PR, social media, thought management, executive visibility, credibility management, and relationships with industry associations (like Triple-I, The Institutes). Our team works to promote CSAA Insurance Group and its associated business, such as Mobilitas, our business insurance provider, and Avanta Ventures, our endeavor capital arm.

2020 was a rough year for the insurance coverage market. Can you speak about a few of the obstacles that youve dealt with?

2020 was challenging on lots of levels, however Im very pleased with what weve done at our company and total as an industry. At CSAA, we rapidly transitioned employees to work from house while continuing to serve our consumers well. Our market wasnt known for having a work-from-home culture, and all of us shocked ourselves in a great way.

The pandemic also spurred a lot of innovation which enabled us to consider ways to do things in a different way. CSAA created efficiencies that allowed us to introduce a touchless claims system, which enabled customers to share images and videos of automobile damage claims versus managing in person. We have gotten a great deal of favorable feedback for this improvement, because it conserves a lot of time and makes the whole process a lot more hassle-free for customers.

The insurance coverage industry has generally been tight-lipped on many social problems, however one of my proudest moments was when our CEO, Tom Troy, openly supported Black Lives Matter. Originating from a combined family, it meant so much for my business to take that stand on this essential issue and to state those words. Im grateful to be a part of a company that appreciates our neighborhoods, customers and staff members, and isnt scared to speak out on injustice.

It was such an honor to be acknowledged along with my other CSAA colleagues who are so deserving: Briana Clifford, Beti Cung, Jachyn Davis, Christian Myers, and Maureen Parish. We need more events that bring the insurance coverage market together, whether its by function or discipline, to keep the market engaged and share the stories of how were making a distinction.

As a market, insurance coverage has actually assisted consumers and communities throughout the pandemic with donations and neighborhood service. The insurance coverage industry has traditionally been tight-lipped on many social concerns, but one of my proudest minutes was when our CEO, Tom Troy, publicly supported Black Lives Matter.

Ive been fortunate to have worked in PR my whole career, and in insurance coverage for about 15 years. Working in insurance coverage has actually supplied me the opportunity to promote and find out about ingenious items and services, such as green and entertainment insurance, as well as multiple lines, including P&C, health care and medical malpractice. It feels great to be working in an industry that is doing something favorable for the economy, for people, and for neighborhoods.

As a market, insurance coverage has helped customers and communities throughout the pandemic with contributions and neighborhood service. The industry likewise took a stand on racial equity concerns. There is so much more to do, but its crucial that we start to use our voice as an industry to support important problems that we are facing. Our industry needs to end up being more varied and better reflect the communities that were serving.

Theres so much work to be performed in this area that it often can feel overwhelming, however our group is committed to promoting for real change that can make a distinction for our business and the communities we serve. For us, this is not a bandwagon minute and Black Lives Matter wasnt just for 2020. Addition and belonging is forever, and we will continue to progress with action and function. We are working on a CSR report that will document openness about where we are, what we are doing, where we have work to do and where we are headed. This is an interesting, important and pivotal time for the insurance coverage market and the world, and I am grateful for the role we can play in influencing a positive and long past due outcome.

As a mixed race female (half Japanese and half Polish), I feel that I bring a special perspective to the table. While the communications field has strong female representation in general, that doesnt indicate that we cant improve or dont deal with other difficulties. Ladies in management positions and people-of-color still remain extremely under-represented.

Lets speak about Diversity & & Inclusion. It is the topic thats front of mind in the market, particularly absence of representation for women and individuals of color. What obstacles have you faced and overcome throughout your profession? What is CSAAs dedication to D&I?

Throughout my career, I have encountered sexism and discrimination. Its a challenge a number of us deal with, however Ive been fortunate enough to not allow it to derail my goals and objectives. To this day, I am often asked “What are you?” in terms of my ethnic background. In time, Ive learned that its not my problem that individuals cant put me in a box or quickly categorize me.

Im happy of CSAAs addition and belonging work. Simply acknowledging that these are important and serious problems is a big offer, yet were taking the needed actions that will help us move forward and take genuine action.

Youve just been honored as part of the 2021 APCIA Class of Emerging Leaders for your operate in 2020 and helping to navigate CSAA with challenges through the pandemic as well as promoting diversity and equity. What are your goals for 2021 and beyond?

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