Life insurance: The people behind Jagged Sky’s promise

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Live every day to the fullest. Tell your friends and family they’re loved while you can.

We’ve all heard these phrases. But the men and women who serve as life claims specialists for Unum US and Colonial Life truly understand the meaning behind each because they’re experiencing it with every customer they help.

Rebecca Soper, Natasha Wiggins and Katina Sparks, voluntary benefits specialists in Claims, are three of the people who deliver on our promise to help customers when they need it most. Celebrating their contributions to our business is one way we’ll recognize Life Insurance Awareness Month during September.

Among their many responsibilities, life claims specialists work with new term and whole life product development, help agents and customers resolve claim issues, and process life and critical illness claims.

But the daily work of a life claims specialist is more than numbers and processes.

Each call is a unique story. Some may show frustration, others are stressed. But at the heart of it, customers are dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one.

About 41% of Americans don’t have life insurance coverage — even if they believe they need it, according to a LIMRA and Life Happens study. In her role, Soper has learned anything can happen and life can quickly change.

“I say a little prayer every time I’m driving home that I make it there to see my husband and child,” said Soper, who’s been in life claims more than four years. “My job has shown me how important it is to make sure my loved ones are well-protected should anything happen.”

The most emotional calls happen when a death is unexpected, whether that’s someone’s spouse or parent or the passing of a child. Talking with mothers and

fathers after the loss of a child is particularly tough. Hearing the sadness in callers’ voices, listening to them cry or ask, “Why did this happen to my son or daughter so soon” sticks with them long after the call is over, or the claim is paid.

“Most of our customers want someone to listen to them — whether that’s to vent, cry or share a story,” said Wiggins, whose been in the life area more than 12 years. “I always let them know I’m here to handle their claim as quickly and accurately as possible, so they can put this part of the process behind them. I know death is part of life so I try to provide a warm sense of understanding and sincerest empathy because I can empathize with how the caller feels.”

Life claims specialists are there when customers are dealing with some of the toughest moments in their lives. For many of the customers, this is the first time they’ve experienced the death of an immediate family member.

Sparks tries to put herself in her customers’ shoes to provide support during this difficult time.

“I returned a call to a frustrated customer who’d recently lost her husband.” Sparks said. “When I told her the claim was approved and she should expect the payment in a few days, she burst into tears and proceeded to tell me some of the great things her husband accomplished in his life.

“It reminded me why I love what I do.”