This Women in Subro blog series highlights powerhouse women in the industry while discussing leadership, management, and success in subrogation.
In our interview with Patti Rutzinski, Subrogation Supervisor at Secura Insurance Company, we recognize her die-hard enthusiasm for subrogation. Patti started a summer job at Secura the Tuesday after graduating high school and has spent her entire career there. Secura invested in her potential and paid her college tuition. There must be something about subro and working at Secura that has kept her around for 35 years. We explored the secrets to her success and longevity, and she shared with us why subro is her “happy place.”
Q: How do you describe subrogation to friends and family?
A: Holding a wrongdoer accountable and stepping into the shoes of the carrier. I usually use the car accident example, but subro is all around us.
Q: Do you have a fun subro story to share?
A: I had a unique claim involving an Amish woman who threw out ashes and the neighbor’s barn (our insured property) burned down. I drove out to meet with the Amish leaders in person to negotiate a settlement. I sat at the table across from four Amish leaders and we initiated settlement discussions. Everything was fine until I pulled out a calculator and there was an audible gasp in the room. I meant no disrespect, but was not about the rely on my handwritten math to finalize the deal.
Q: What would be the theme song for subrogation?
A: We actually have a playlist of songs about money and play it during out subro and claims celebrations at the office.
Q: What is it about subro that catches your attention and keeps you interested?
A: Variety. After 35 years, you would think I have seen everything, but subro always keeps things interesting.
Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: It is a challenge to make decisions quickly with the information you have at the time, as you need to be thoughtful, but also keep up with the fast pace in which claims move. It is also a challenge to stay on top of the constant changes and the laws in the different states.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The success and passion of my team. I am proud when I see a team member gain knowledge and work creatively through a difficult claim.
I feel like I have the best team! We even adopted a highway. When I asked for volunteers to wear a vest and pick up trash on the side of the highway, my entire team volunteered. We had fun all afternoon picking up trash. Who else can say that?
Q: How have you excelled in the industry?
A: You don’t stay with a company for 35 years unless something takes hold. It is the company and the people. The people here are approachable and genuine, and leadership is supportive. The relationships I have built here and in the industry are important to me.
Q: What is one of your greatest professional accomplishments?
A: Obtaining a college degree as a middle-aged adult with a family and full-time work.
Q: What makes a good leader?
A: Being available and transparent, knowing your team, taking time to connect, and having empathy.
Q: What is your management style?
A: I know my team. I build on the positives, work on the negatives, use humor where appropriate, and I am as transparent as possible, as well as hands-off. I let me team know that I am here, but I let them fly.
We also share a passion for subro, which encourages collaboration on cases. We have regular roundtables every other week to discuss current cases, settlements, and strategies that have worked.
Q: How do you technology for subro cases?
A: We brought in robotic process automation (RPA or “bots”) to improve processes and elimination duplicative work. We work smarter, not harder.
We thank Patti Rutzinski for this interview and for showing us a glimpse of her happy place!
Stay tuned for the next post highlighting another prominent subro leader.