A car accident. A house fire. A hurricane.
At Erie Insurance, the heart of our business is to help people reset after a sudden and unexpected loss. But when it’s time to phone in the bad news… who answers the call?
At Erie Insurance, our First Notice of Loss (FNOL) representatives are the frontline employees who help our customers in their most critical time of need. FNOL reps work in shifts, so someone is always available to answer customer calls 24/7, 365 days/year.
Our FNOL representatives are valuable members of the ERIE family – and if you’re looking for an entry-level position to begin your ERIE career, it’s a great place to start. Hear from Leanne Berchtold, FNOL director, on some common questions about working and growing your career in FNOL.
Q&A with Leanne Berchtold, Director, First Notice of Loss
In your own words, what is a FNOL representative?
FNOL reps are more than a contact center – they engage with customers and agents to handle loss reports during our customers’ worst moments when they need that insurance promise to come through. It’s these employees who make good on ERIE’s promise to be Above All in Service.
At ERIE, we follow the three Cs: Concern, care and compassion. It’s how we strive to be Above All in Service.
What kind of background do you need to work in FNOL?
The minimum requirements are a high school degree or GED and any combo of call center, claims management or clerical experience. We also look for a customer service background. If you’ve worked in retail or food service, that’s a great example of customer service.
I’ve even seen individuals with teaching and nursing backgrounds switch to ERIE’s FNOL team for a change in their career. Their empathy and service skills easily transfer and they have opportunities to advance their career in other places at ERIE as well.
How did you get into FNOL? What made you choose this career?
After high school, I debated starting my career or heading to college. I ended up applying to work on ERIE’s FNOL team and was excited to be offered the opportunity. I worked nights and weekends and started taking insurance courses to learn more about the insurance industry.
I’ve grown my career throughout the organization since then. I’ve been a part of the ERIE family for 20 years now. While working a full-time job, ERIE helped pay for me to go back to college to earn my associate and bachelor’s degrees. I am currently working towards the completion of my master’s degree.
Now I’m in a director position within FNOL, and I couldn’t be happier.
What is a normal day like for an FNOL rep?
It really varies. While every day is spent on the phone, what can vary are the types of calls you receive. You could start the day taking a homeowners loss report where a house flooded and the homeowners lost all their belongings. The next call could be a commercial loss where a warehouse caught fire – or maybe a policyholder’s vehicle was involved in a hit and run. You never know what type of loss you'll get.
When you start as an FNOL rep, you typically work the 3-11 p.m. shift with a handful of scheduled breaks. After a year or so, it’s not surprising to see our reps progress through promotions and begin working different hours, or tackling more complicated calls or responding to emails.
What hours does an FNOL rep work?
As a department, we are open 24/7, 365 days per year. We are the only contact center at ERIE that way. Employees work in shifts. Those just hired in FNOL work the 3-11 p.m. shift, as well as select nights, weekends and holidays.
About 65% of our current leadership staff started their careers in FNOL. This department offers a great stepping stone to becoming a well-versed employee and later discover and join new areas within ERIE.
How has your career grown since first starting in FNOL?
I’ve been at ERIE for 20 years. I started in FNOL, but have moved around ERIE to gain experience in different roles in claims and underwriting. ERIE helped pay for my college education as well as my various insurance designations, including my ALMI (associate, life management institute), API (associate in personal insurance), AIS (associate in insurance services), ACS (associate, customer service) and AINS (associate in insurance). Exploring the variety of jobs here has helped me to find a personal a career path that makes me feel accomplished and satisfied.
Getting your foot in the door with ERIE creates endless opportunities for you. Not everyone comes in with insurance degrees, so you honestly can become anything you want to be.
What's the most gratifying part of your job?
As an FNOL rep, you are helping someone in their most critical time of need. A lot of times it’s the first time a policyholder is using their insurance policy. When an insured calls into speak to us, you get an emotional reaction from them; it’s providing that compassionate care that helps set the stage for how the rest of the claim is handled.
When you see or hear those customer experiences, you realize how much of a positive impact you made on someone. That’s what makes me proud to work in this department.
Join the ERIE Family
If you like working with people and problem solving, we are hiring FNOL representatives with a diverse range of experience and education to provide a positive customer service experience.
Interested in starting your career at ERIE? FNOL is a great place to get your feet wet in the insurance industry. Opportunities to advance your career and try new fields are possible, too. Learn more about ERIE’s culture or see our current job opportunities.