A Day in the Life of PayneWest’s General Counsel
By Mindy Carver
Like you, I work on a variety of tasks throughout the day: answering questions, providing advice, researching, contract review/drafting and decision-making. I’ve had many people ask me, “What does an average day look like for you?” So I thought I’d lift the curtain a bit on the mystery and intrigue that is legal counsel.
- Arrive at the office with my go-to Americano: skim milk and half shot of flavor. Always in a hydro-flask, never in a disposable cup. (I’m green!) Quickly browse online news of the day for impactful court decisions or current industry compliance issues. Alert the claims team if any ruling affects their ongoing efforts.
- Moving on to emails—most pertain to whether “we” [PayneWest] or “they” [carriers or competitors] are allowed to do something. (Being a gatekeeper is a double-edged sword, let me tell you. Great power, great responsibility… that sort of thing.) Samples include adding special verbiage on certificate of insurance, whether a carrier is allowed to renew at a higher premium without the proper notice, whether a competitor is in violation of rebating laws… I could name so many. Generally, I refer to a statute (it acts as guidance)—the difficult ingredient is interpreting the statute against what the actual story is (lots of gray out there), but I supply my interpretation and opinion.
- I have a meeting with HR to discuss an issue about an internal complaint about an employee. We need to develop steps for an investigation pursuant to the complaint alleged.
- Jeff Wallace calls to discuss a new potential E&O. We discuss next steps. We also discuss the weather and weekend plans. (Lawyers! They’re just like you!)
- I get on a conference call with Lisa Fordham to discuss a new South Carolina cyber security law. Why does it apply to us? Bottom line: if some of our producers are licensed in SC, we need to comply. We work through timeline compliance deadlines and set out necessary tasks. Lisa knows how to get things done!
- After lunch (Dollar-sushi on Mondays and Thursdays!), conference call with outside counsel on active E&O litigation. Some of our folks are going to be deposed and we need to prepare them. Depositions sound scary and official, but they’re actually quite common. (Think more C-SPAN and less John Grisham.)
- Receive a subpoena—mark the due date and plan the project to pull the necessary documents.
- Mark Theriault calls me and has a great idea about how to get some new referral business to one of the specialty practices. He wants to know a) is it legal to do this, and b) if so, can I draft a contract for this type of referral agreement? Yes to the second part, TBD on the first.
- Kyle walks into my office to let me know about a potential acquisition. The timeline is aggressive and I need to draft a letter of intent and start due diligence right away. [Disclaimer (because c’mon, I had to—nothing in the hopper right now, folks. Just a generic example.]
This is just a slice of what might pass over my desk in a day. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to the rest of the legal team—Taylor Montgomery, Kathy Jo Opperud and Nicole Teigen. I couldn’t handle any of my regular matters without this fantastic team handling appointments, licensing and login/password management. A day in their lives = crazy!
Network Builder and CONNECT Award Winners
2017 was a spectacular year with colleagues working hard on behalf of our clients and communities. We are lucky enough to gather annually to celebrate these achievements at both CONNECT and Network Builder. Some exceed sales numbers, some exceed client relationships and many are recognized for their unique contribution to the PayneWest difference. Take a moment to pat each other on the back—we all work hard day in and day out and getting a “good job” high five from our colleagues is often times the most rewarding form of recognition.
- Marketing Project of the Year: “Riscover” led by Brandy Dangerfield
- Administrative Associate Award of Excellence: Genie Thompson
- SBG Outstanding Achievement Award: Margie Meyers
- IT Tech Hero: Charles Dresser
- Accounting All Star Award: Chris Grimes and Robyn Rupprecht
- Client Services Extreme Contributor Award: Mary Milodragovich, Rhela Moulding, Alice Jones
- Benefit Planning Rookie of the Year (Client Relations): Amanda Richards
- PL Rookie of the Year (Client Relations): Jake Berst
- CL Rookie of the Year (Client Relations): Kaylee Rabson
- Select MVP: Sara Garcia
- Career Achievement: Lisa Fordham
- PayneWest Professional of the Year Award: Scott Sherbourne
- Chairman’s Award: Scott Simmons and Tex Seaton
- Benefits Rookie of the Year (Sales): Jennifer Buchanan
- PL Rookie of the Year (Sales): Kimberly Scott
- CL Rookie of the Year (Sales): Ben Harger
Best Places to Work
It’s that time of year again! Best Places to Work surveys will be going out soon. Survey results can positively influence changes in your office, so make sure to fill out the survey with constructive, honest feedback. Things like career-pathing, updates to our benefits package and building maintenance have all come out of the Best Places survey.
Catch a Rising Star
Do you know a rising star? Encourage them to apply for any of our open positions. Receive $250 when your referral is hired and another $500 after six months of employment.
Now through September, any hired referral gets you an additional $200–plus your name will be entered into a drawing to receive one of three available $1000 bonuses! Check the CARL Careers tab for the latest career opportunities and help us catch a rising star.
Offices On the Move
PayneWest is growing—right out of some of our offices! This fall we have four offices relocating. This includes Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Bozeman and Great Falls. Buildings are being built for Bozeman and Great Falls; new locations have been secured for the others. At this time, we are anticipating all of the moves will happen in the fall of 2018.
The first to move should be the Boise office. They are staying in the same building; only relocating from the first to the fifth floor. This will give them more room now and for future growth. They will appreciate an improved view of the city.
Coeur d’Alene has been notorious with our IT department—from slow connections to no connections! From a technological standpoint, this will be a significant improvement for the Coeur d’Alene and IT colleagues. According to Peter Howard, “The new Coeur d’Alene office is amazing! It will be by far the nicest office in our company. Did I mention it has two private balcony’s overlooking lake…wow.”
Our Bozeman colleagues are working hard at being professional movers. They are currently in their temporary offices and enjoying being in downtown Bozeman while waiting for the new building to be completed. Their permanent offices will be in the Bozeman Commons area of town.
A new development in Great Falls called the West Bank Landing is progressing. This expanded office space will eventually contain both PayneWest and Stieg colleagues and allow for future expansion.
We look forward to our new locations, future expansion capabilities for our continued growth and new horizons!
In 2018, CL Sales needs to get back to improving our craft, comparing notes and, most importantly, having some fun together.
In previous years, we put together “P3 Mastery” sessions that would tackle ongoing education. Moving forward, our training program is more streamlined and virtual. It’s more effective for the producers and sustainable for the company.
However, it is important that we still get together as the larger sales group at least once a year. So starting this September, and every fall moving forward, we will have our annual “Riscover” event.
Here’s an idea of what you can expect of our time together in September:
- Breakout sessions focused on sales skills, coverage checklist roll out, best-in-class assessment and risk plan execution, relationship building with carriers, storytelling and so much more.
- Keynote speaker, Matt Walker.
- Awards and networking time with colleagues.
See you in September!
Marketing is excited to announce the new Seismic Catalog is now available on CARL! The detailed catalog allows you to preview all the documents available on Seismic so you can pick out exactly what you want or need. You can then reach out to a local Seismic power user to customize and download the document(s). Click here for a list of Seismic power users.
Circle of Excellence
Roughly 2% of individuals in our industry hold the well-respected CPCU and CEBS designations. Achieving them is a multi-year investment of personal time and energy; it takes major dedication, commitment and focus to pass grueling, extensive national exams while balancing life and work. It is one of the largest investments that one can make in their own personal and professional development. Colleagues who successfully complete the CPCU or CEBS designation are welcomed to the PayneWest Circle of Excellence and attend their conferment with a guest at the National Conventions. We are proud to recognize the 27 colleagues who have achieved this goal:
- Greg Beery, CPCU (Portland)
- Danielle Black, CPCU (Albany)
- Kathy Burt, CPCU (Helena)
- Mindy Carver, CPCU (Missoula)
- Case DeWit, CPCU (Missoula)
- Stacy Dingman, CPCU (Bozeman)
- Thomas Downey, CPCU (Butte)
- Joan Fallgreen, CPCU (Missoula)
- Theodore Fedyk, CPCU (Bozeman)
- Casey Galloway, CPCU (Missoula)
- Bonnie Garza, CPCU (Missoula)
- Jennifer Harris, CPCU (Bigfork)
- Alysia Heisdorf, CPCU (Missoula)
- Christin Hoiness, CPCU (Missoula)
- Chris Huwaldt, CPCU (McMinnville)
- James Majeskey, CPCU (Spokane)
- Clara Mays, CPCU (Polson)
- John McGree, CPCU (Butte)
- Rhela Moulding, CPCU (Missoula)
- Yvette Olson, CPCU (Billings)
- Judy Sharpe, CEBS (Kalispell)
- Scott Simmons, CPCU (Spokane)
- Janette Smith, CPCU (Spokane)
- Nicole Thao, CPCU (Missoula)
- Jeff Wallace, CPCU (Spokane)
- Carol Williams, CPCU (Spokane)
- Lisa Wren, CPCU (Spokane)
Earned Designations and Completed Programs
- Tara Bowles, Small Business Coverage Specialist (SBCS)
- Brandy Garber, Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)
- Mandy Gunn, Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS)
- Laura Lathrop, Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR)
- Sondra LaVoie, Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS)
- Bre Loewen, Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR)
- Samantha Lytle, Personal Lines Coverage Specialist (PLCS)
- Clara Mays, Insurance Training Professional (ITP)
- Wendy McGill, Associate in General Insurance (AINS)
- Marci Neighbors, Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS)
- Jolene Rios, Associate in General Insurance (AINS), Small Business Coverage Specialist (SBCS)
- Theresa Sewell, Certified Self-Funding Specialist (CSFS)
- Jennifer Webster, Chartered Private Risk and Insurance Advisor (CPRIA)
- Tyler Wells, Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS)
June 4th was a big day for our Stieg colleagues. They had the wonderful opportunity to work with our amazing training team to move all of their files into EPIC! All colleagues dream of the day they get to switch operating systems, right? The thought of new fields and workflows is enough to make any kid giggle with joy. Our transportation team was no different; they rolled up their sleeves, gathered up their PowerPoints and went on an all-out training tour which included stops in Billings, Great Falls and Missoula (and even hooked up remotely with every location).
It was quite the spectacle! Mary Ann Hobbs, Nick Hart, Renee Dyer, Lisa Wilkinson and Susan Baker successfully headed-up the training sessions. The new workflows rolled out on Monday, May 14th and went live on the 4th of June! You may have seen the stars align that day. Of course, nothing goes off without a hitch but the team was great throughout the entire process!