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InsurTech Ohio Spotlight with Dean Fadel

Dean Fadel is the President and CEO of the Ohio Insurance Institute, a member-run trade organization comprised of property and casualty insurance companies and related organizations throughout the state of Ohio. Dean was interviewed by Michael Fiedel, Co-Founder at InsurTech Ohio and Co-Founder at PolicyFly, Inc.

Dean, how is the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) introducing young people to insurance, both as a consumer and as a potential career?


“It starts with helping young people understand what insurance is and how it works. We've been doing that for a long time - primarily by providing materials that teachers can use in high schools to teach students about insurance. We also give an award to one teacher every year who has used our materials and created a curriculum that we think is creative and effective. 


We're actually in the process of refining those resources right now as the legislature has mandated that students have financial literacy as part of their course requirements to graduate. As soon as that went into effect, we saw a huge increase in teachers requesting our materials, so we're taking that to the next level. We're working with a group of educators to refine the curriculum and make it easier to use. That's really the first step, making sure that we make a good first impression by sharing what insurance is, how it works and why you need it.”


When you talk to students about a career in insurance, what kind of reaction do you usually get?


“The one thing that surprises students the most is the breadth of different types of jobs within the industry. I've spoken at high schools and colleges to students about insurance careers, and they're all surprised to see the array of different types of knowledge and expertise that are needed and utilized. I say, ‘No matter what you like to do or what you're good at, there’s a spot for you in the insurance industry. If anybody can stump me, I'm going to give you $50.’ I always have a $50 bill in my pocket when I go to these events, and I'm undefeated. I've had some great tries too. I just visited a high school recently, and somebody thought they were going to stump me with psychology.


I explained that there are behavioral health benefits like Medicaid Managed Care plans that manage people who have behavioral health issues. They need employees with that type of background to review the claims to make sure that the care being given is appropriate or to help somebody find the right care for them. Another student at Heidelberg said librarian. Look at all of the records that an insurance company has to maintain and catalog. There's a time period within which they have to keep claim files and other types of documents.”


When you think about what individuals have to do to capitalize on a career in insurance, what comes to mind?


“To capitalize, get a job in the insurance industry. That's the first step. Find your interest and make it known. But first, get a job. I know more people who have had two or three careers within their single employment at the same insurance company. A lot of people start in one area and go into another area. But you have to get the job first, and then you can see what a career might look like for you more clearly. The beauty of it is there are so many options, especially within Ohio.


We're the second largest state in terms of the number of property and casualty employees. Only Texas has more property and casualty employees in the state than Ohio. We have some great companies here, and we also have a lot of new startup companies. This is a great state to land in because if you're doing a job, and the career path you're in is not suiting you, there might be a company right down the street with a job that's better for your chosen career path. Ohio is full of opportunity, and companies are full of options as it relates to career paths. The fact that we need to fill 108,000 positions by 2031 proves that there's plenty of opportunity right now in Ohio.”


When you reflect on your experience and leadership in this industry, what are some things you're most proud of?


“The beauty of this industry is that it's not all numbers, policies or legal jargon. It's much broader than that, and it has allowed me to work on a lot of different issues that people might not see as insurance issues.


In the late 1990s, I was part of the group that helped get the legislation passed that instituted graduated driver’s license requirements for new drivers. Two years after that law went into effect, the rate of fatalities among 16 and 17-year-olds had plummeted. The new law really did make a difference. Lives were saved. We also engaged in legislation dealing with smoke alarms as well as predatory towing. We were able to protect people from having their cars randomly taken off parking lots and not being able to get them back unless steep fees were paid.


Most recently, our biggest engagement was on the distracted driving law. I’ve worked on these types of safety issues for 35 years now. In the past, I didn't think there was any way we would get a distracted driving law passed in Ohio, but fortunately, Governor Mike DeWine championed it, and that's really what made it a priority for the Ohio General Assembly. Fatalities are down by 25% from this point last year before the law went into effect. Those safety measures that we work on are very satisfying because you really do see the impact. Lives are being saved, and these laws made people safer. It kept moms and dads together, and it kept kids with their parents.”



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