Image Courtesy of American Family Insurance
How American Family Gets Diversity and Inclusion Right
Kami Johnson, branch property claims manager for American Family Insurance, says that her company doesn’t just talk about diversity; rather, American Family acts on it. Since she joined the company five years ago, she’s seen the immense focus on diversity and inclusion come to fruition with teams full of individuals who bring unique perspectives to the table.
“We know that both gender and racially diverse teams are more productive and innovative in an inclusive environment,” she tells Fairygodboss. “Different people bring different ideas and experiences, which fuels business success. It is truly at the heart of who we are and what we do.”
It’s thanks to American Family’s efforts, as well as the company’s core values, robust employee benefits, and career development opportunities that Johnson says it’s a great place to work for women. Here, she dives into detail with us.
What is the mission of American Family?
To inspire, protect and restore our customers’ dreams. Because we believe a dream is the most valuable thing you'll ever own. The mission of American Family Insurance Claims Services is to help our customers restore that dream when the unexpected occurs. To accomplish this mission, we have taken deliberate steps to hire people that embrace an inclusive workplace. We believe that great people make for a great culture and that a great culture attracts great people!
What are American Family’s core values?
We create a culture by living our values every day to do what’s right for our customer, our communities, and our people. We are employee-focused and customer-driven. Our commitment is to be accountable, caring, courageous, inclusive, innovative, and trustworthy.
What differentiates the organization from others in this space/industry?
I am so proud to work at this organization because of our mission to give back to the communities we serve. During my time here, we have expanded our Community Giving Campaign. The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation offers a donation match up to $3,000 per calendar year for every employee that donates to qualifying nonprofit organizations! Employees also receive paid volunteer time off to spend one to two days per calendar year to help our communities.
Describe one to five employee benefits that positively impact women who work at American Family.
Collaboration with other women through our Women’s Business Resource Group, celebration of Women’s History Month (March), multiple corporate sponsored Lunch & Learns that discuss a variety of topics such as the Gender Spectrum, corporate sponsored candid conversations about race, ethnicity and experiences of black and Latina women in our organization, Women Speaker Series, and so much more!
We also have a division of our company dedicated specifically to Diversity & Inclusion. This includes a laser focus on ensuring that our employee base and leadership team is made up of racially and gender diverse individuals. We value different perspectives, we push ourselves to think differently, we recognize our unconscious bias and have open conversations to continue our growth.
We have several work from home positions and a flexible work schedule to accommodate our work/life balance. We have excellent benefits including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, flexible spending accounts for daycare, health savings accounts, 401K, etc. And we have mother’s rooms for nursing moms, as well as expectant mothers’ parking spots with signage.
Describe American Family Insurance Claims Services and where it fits into the Enterprise. How does the new organization provide career development/mobility/growth opportunities for others (within AFICS or outside of AFCIS)?
American Family Insurance Claims Services is about helping our customers when they need us the most. They have trusted us to be there when they have a claim, such as an auto accident, fire loss or water loss to their home. That is our time to fulfill our promise to our customers. Our claim adjusters talk with customers about their loss, they complete estimates for the damage, issue payments, and work with our customers and contractors as they rebuild and restore what was damaged or lost.
I started my career in insurance 20 years ago. I knew very little about insurance but had a family member that worked in the industry. Although I didn’t know what to expect, I wasn’t afraid of hard work or learning something new. As I started my corporate career, my goal was to gain as much experience in as many different areas as I could. I knew that this would make me a more valuable asset to the company because of my broad knowledge and experience. I worked as a desk claims adjuster which involved handling claims for customers over the phone. I was also a field adjuster which involved driving to homes and working with customers face to face. I worked several catastrophic events (tornados, hurricanes, etc) and traveled around the country to help customers whose lives had been turned upside down. This was before I was married with children!
I’ve been in a leadership role for 12 years. This was a tough transition for me. I had to learn what it meant to be a servant leader and put people first before emails, tasks, and the day to day business operations. I learned from my mistakes and have been able to develop into a second level leader in our organization. I also had the opportunity to serve as a director in our property claims department for a year. American Family Insurance Claims Services values their employees by giving opportunities for career growth and development.
What career development opportunities can female job seekers expect from American Family? How is career pathing approached? Why should women want to grow their careers here?
This is a large, growing and successful organization with many opportunities to develop and grow your career. With our focus on hiring and retaining women into the organization and into leadership roles, now is a great time to join our team. Leaders in our organization talk to front line employees not only about their performance in their current role, but we also discuss career development and goals. We want every employee to have the opportunity to develop into the role they desire, and we are here to provide a path on how to achieve this.
All of my experiences being a woman in this organization have been positive. My opinions are valued, and I am respected for the work that I do. The people here value different experiences and have provided me with opportunities to continue to develop and grow my career. I have three bi-racial daughters and my experiences at American Family Insurance Claims Services give me so much hope for their future. We are leading the way to a more inclusive society where people like my children are treated equally and are valued for who they are.
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