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Envision a new mission: Zurich has jobs for veterans

November 11, 2019

Skills and character built in the military can be a great fit in commercial insurance, Zurich recruiters say. See why veterans working at Zurich agree.

Forrest Willoz
Photo courtesy of Forrest Willoz

Zurich North America salutes the men and women who have served in the armed forces and invites them to consider a new mission working for Zurich.

“Veterans offer strong leadership and technology skills as well as solid core values such as teamwork, self-direction and motivation,” said Zurich Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant Mike Esqueda. “These make them uniquely suited for positions at Zurich North America.”


An Army veteran himself, Esqueda and other Zurich recruiters seek opportunities to meet veterans at job fairs and other events to highlight opportunities in insurance.

“Most of the vets I talk to have never thought of insurance as an area of opportunity,” Esqueda said. “For them it’s a real eye-opener when we talk about positions in Underwriting or Claims where they can apply their training and serve our customers at the same time.”

 

Ashanté Hammons
Photo courtesy of Ashanté Hammons

Opportunities in the Claims group

While veterans work in many areas across Zurich, the Claims organization often is a good fit for their skills and experience. Veteran Ryan Hook joined Zurich as a Fraud Intelligence Analyst in Claims this year after meeting Esqueda at a job fair. Hook decided Zurich would be the right place to put his recent degree in information and decision sciences to work. “I’ve always been interested in numbers, but I never really considered a job in insurance until I learned about Zurich,” Hook said. “Not only has this position given me a chance to apply the knowledge I gained during my five years with a forward surgical unit in the Army, it also offers variety and challenge and a way to use my analytical skills to fight crime.”


Kevin Anderson, who was on active duty with the Army for six years after high school, worked for the National Security Agency afterward, then trained to be an emergency medical technician. He liked the work but not the late hours and high stress. He began taking classes at Harper College, which is near Zurich’s Schaumburg headquarters, and learned about the Zurich Apprenticeship Program. The program offers the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, tuition free, at Harper while working at Zurich. Anderson now is an apprentice in Environmental Claims.

“I was attracted by the possibility of working in cutting-edge areas like cyber,” he said. “So far it’s been a win-win for me, and I’ve recommended the company to others I know who might be interested in making a career change.”


Ashanté Hammons served in the Navy for seven years, then taught English as a second language in China and online from home.

“I wanted to re-enter the workplace, and I like learning new things,” Hammons said.


A friend who worked at Zurich connected her with Esqueda. In August, Hammons began working as a Claims Specialist in Workers Compensation.

“This is my first time working in insurance, and I’ve learned quickly that there’s never a dull moment,” Hammons said. “I’ve met some very helpful people in my short time here, both within Claims and in other areas, partly because I use the Zurich gym a lot. Zurich offers a lot of opportunities, and I hope to take advantage of them.”

 

Seeking crop adjusters


Zurich recruiter Sirena Arnaout has worked closely with the Zurich Crop team to hire former military with skills suited to serving as crop adjusters, either seasonally or in full-time positions, for Zurich member company RCIS (Rural Community Insurance Services).

“Many veterans in rural communities have farming backgrounds, and that, combined with their leadership and service experience, makes them very good fits for these positions,” Arnaout said.


For the past two summers, Zurich recruiters and the Crop team have arranged Take a Vet Fishing outings in Minnesota and Wisconsin, not only to thank veterans for their service but also to make them aware of job opportunities.

“We’ve focused our efforts in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin because that’s where most of our openings tend to be in Crop,” Arnaout said.


Army veteran Rex Naill, also a former Minnesota National Guard reservist, started as a seasonal adjuster and now is a full-time adjuster.

“I grew up on a dairy farm so knew a lot about the business,” Naill said. “The skills I developed in the military with computers and a strong attention to detail have been directly transferable to my work as an adjuster. RCIS and Zurich have made the transition easy. Everyone has been very helpful, and it’s just a wonderful organization to be a part of.”


Forrest Willoz, recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, has been a Louisiana-based Zurich Claims Staff Legal Attorney for 15 years, during which time he’s served tours of duty with the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including a year stationed at Saddam Hussein’s former palace in Iraq.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked for Zurich during my time in the military,” Willoz said. “The company has been very receptive to my service and kept my desk warm for me during my deployments. I know many other servicemen and women who haven’t been as lucky with their employers. I could not have risen as far as I have with the Army without the incredible support I’ve received from Zurich and my co-workers.”


Zurich employees who are veterans recognize the challenges some former service members face in the transition to civilian work. That’s one reason Esqueda helped form the Veterans Engagement Team at Zurich (VETZ), one of Zurich’s employee-led resource groups. It provides resources and a sense of community to help veterans thrive.

Read more information on veterans at Zurich.