At Coterie Insurance, we have a team of true rockstars and powerhouse individuals driven to disrupt the outdated processes of the insurance industry. As a company, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish that goal without the stellar team members helping us reach that goal each day. This team member spotlight blog series is an opportunity to learn more about the individuals who make our coterie so great. This month’s featured team member is Morgan Smith, VP of Operations.
Team Member Spotlight of Morgan Smith
Morgan, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Cincinnati funny enough where Coterie is headquartered, but later moved to New Jersey for college, then Florida for my MBA in International Business Relations. Soon after, I started working for Liberty Mutual in their Workers Claims department. I worked there for 12 years in workers comp, client services, and went on to do continuous improvement coaching for underwriters and distribution in Manhattan for a while, focusing on the construction industry.
I left Liberty Mutual for Blackboard, an insurtech in Manhattan, and stood up their workers comp business but unfortunately, it closed due to COVID. Soon after, though, I started as Director of Customer Advocacy and Operations at Coterie Insurance – we had just two team members then and now it’s 26 people!
What made you interested in insurance?
I started in insurance during the Great Recession of 2008. I was getting my MBA but I didn’t just want to focus on that. There was a good opportunity at Liberty – I never thought it was going to be my forever path, but I really liked doing the claims part. It’s like being a physician looking at all this information and trying to make an understanding of it all
It’s dynamic work – there’s never the same day twice because of laws and just the nature of life.
What made you excited to join Coterie?
I like being part of a startup. It’s harder to get buy-in from leadership at a long-established company. The excitement for an idea would be there, but it would lose momentum in the long approval processes in place.
The culture at Coterie Insurance for sure was one of the big excitement factors, as well. I found Coterie through a Blackboard alumni group actually – somebody posted about the company, saying “they are doing a lot of what we were trying to do”. Speaking to Kevin, our COO, it was very clear how the alignment of our core values would move the company’s goals forward. I really liked the energy the team brought every day.
What makes you love working at Coterie?
I love the people. I have an incredible team. Everybody is motivated, dedicated, and excited to come to work. And that’s not just in my team – every other division I work with is the same way. I think they take time to know you as a person and not just another employee. The care for one another demonstrated through your Coterversary or birthday gifts or our different culture teams channels makes this place feel special.
On my first day, Nick Jackson, our DEI trainer, spoke and I was blown away that this company dedicated some of its resources towards this training and making it part of the culture. Not a lot of companies offer that.
When you look back over the past year, what are some of your fondest memories?
Anytime we get together in person. I think it’s really cool we’ve established these relationships remotely and when you meet in person it’s already like you know them and has forever.
Some of my specific favorite memories are going to the Bengal’s game or the Reds game. We also have Pete Fan Club for one of our coworkers who makes everybody smile and laugh, just as a way to show appreciation to him. And our virtual game nights are a lot of fun!
Work-related though, I did a retro report for 2021 of everything we’ve produced, month by month. It’s amazing to see what we’ve done in such a short period of time. We onboarded 5000+ producers, affiliated 2000+ producers, moved from Zendesk to HubSpot, onboarded a new VOIP system, answered 41,000 chats, emails, and phone calls. All of that in one year. Being able to come up for air for a second and looking at all of that has made me really proud of my team.
How does working at a remote company fit into your lifestyle?
It allows for me to work comfortably during a tough time for everyone and for flexibility when my kids are remote learning. But real talk, the commute for me used to be 3 hours a day. You can work wherever you want and sometimes whenever you want.
What would you tell applicants considering Coterie?
If you have the right core values and you want to be part of something that will evolve the industry and raise the bar of this company, then this is the place for you.
Interested in joining us here at Coterie Insurance after reading this team member spotlight on VP of Operations, Morgan? Head over to our Careers page to see our open positions!