Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company has had long-term success in the insurance field by constantly thinking about the best ways to serve their clients. Likewise, when they became a corporate work-study partner with Cristo Rey Boston High School, they set out to create a system that served their work needs, while understanding the needs of their students.
Realizing that their intern, Katrina Desir, would work most efficiently if she had a broader understanding of the insurance industry, her supervisor Elisa Calley created a rotating schedule that exposed Katrina to all facets of the company. Elisa’s goal was to “create an organizational system that would allow students to understand the tasks they would learn for the upcoming year.” A second goal was to help students build “basic skills, [learn] how to handle a telephone call, what are insurance industry products, what happens internally in a business organization—transferable skills they’ll have for a lifetime.” Elisa created a training schedule showing what departments Katrina would be working with on a weekly schedule. Additionally, Elisa designed an action plan describing the responsibilities, training skills, and strategies Katrina would acquire and learn during her time working at the company.
Katrina noted that the rotation structure has allowed her to “build relationships, experience the trust of her supervisor and allowed her to know a lot more people in the company, feeling a greater sense of being part of the team.” In turn, Elisa has found Katrina to be “responsible, very inquisitive, and interested in learning a lot about the insurance industry, particularly claims, since she is interested in the medical field.”
Boston Mutual wanted to provide the tools necessary for interns to find the right career path. The company focused on three major sections. First were the job responsibilities: helping staff members with return mail, verifying addresses, sorting and mailing policies. Second was the acquisition of communication skills by working alongside support representatives for the company. Tasks consisted of scanning, assisting with the process of application files, assisting with research of addresses for return policies, and completing the data entry for applications. Built into the schedule was defined time for Katrina to shadow employees to fully understand their daily routines and how they dedicate their time to living the Boston Mutual brand and being there for their policyholders, producers, and colleagues. Finally, Katrina had the opportunity to sit down in one-on-one meetings with management staff on a consistent basis. During these sit downs, Katrina got to understand how employees and management interact and learned about the products.
Katrina plans to study psychology in college and become a pediatrician. She values the experience the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) has provided: “Understanding business steers you towards great opportunities for things you want to do in the future—regardless of if it’s the same business as your CWSP job.” She recounts that working in customer service allowed her to “really understand people, their moods and learn key points about work life in general.”
The detailed rotation plan created by Elisa allowed Katrina to understand the insurance industry in greater depth and see how each department fit into the larger success of the company. Boston Mutual offers services in workplace products such as flexible life insurance solutions, accident, critical illness and disability. Understanding that the complicated world of insurance would be confusing to any high school student, Boston Mutual has built a pilot program that benefits both the student worker by building a stronger foundation of understanding about their role at the company, and a template for all employees who interact with the student to understand their role and the opportunity to mentor a student who is college-bound and eager to learn. Katrina is excited to begin her junior year at Cristo Rey Boston High School and renew her learning opportunities with Boston Mutual.