This team member spotlight features Bill Law, Telecommunications Specialist at Seibels.
Q: Describe your role on the Technology Services team.
A: As Telecommunications Specialist, I work on all things related to telecommunications, including Five9 Call Center Software, RingCentral, RightFax, and Verizon.
Q: How long have you worked at Seibels?
A: I started on September 12th, 2012. I just celebrated my five-year anniversary.
Q: Tell us about your career in telecommunications.
A: After getting out of the Marine Corps, I worked at a technology company for 32 years. The company built 3270 devices to include computers, printers and dumb terminals. They were manufactured in Raleigh, North Carolina. I lived in Charleston, South Carolina from 1980-1989, and then moved to Columbia two weeks before Hurricane Hugo came ashore and lived in Irmo until the end of 2015 when we moved to Phoenix in January 2016.
I transitioned to the insurance industry after being contacted by Seibels. Someone contacted me after finding my resume online and learning about my military background and hands-on experience with phones.
After being hired, I kissed my manager’s feet and thanked him for giving me a job. I want to keep working as long as I can. My wife thinks I’m crazy. Due to the time difference, I have to get up at four in the morning.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at Seibels?
A: The people. When working on the help desk, people call because they have a problem. If I can help them fix their problem and get them back to their job, they’re excited. It’s all about the people.
The newly renovated building is also going to be awesome.
Q: How have you seen the insurance and technology industries change over the course of your career?
A: The way everything is going to the cloud and the way the networks are evolving. Who doesn’t have an account that is in the cloud nowadays? I remember when I first got started on the computer side of the business, no one had a web address. Then during commercials, you started to see people throw up their new “www.” address. Everything revolves around the internet, access to the internet, and cloud storage.
Q: How do you see the future state of Telecommunications?
A: The telecommunications business is growing and evolving at an alarming rate. With Artificial Intelligence becoming a reality, it’s not far off that a company like Seibels will be able to take advantage of this technology to help us work smarter and more proficiently with our customers. Redundancy and Disaster Recovery are another big factor for businesses these days. While we have strong Disaster Recovery processes in place, I believe there are always things we can do to ensure our business does not falter and our dedication to customer satisfaction remains our top priority.
Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
A: Challenging: the two or three-hour time difference, but it’s not a hindrance. By 4:30 a.m., I’m logged in and ready to go. I can’t wait to get up and go to work every day. I also get off at 2 or 3 p.m. every afternoon, so I have the rest of the afternoon to get personal stuff done.
The other biggest challenge is I’m not able to do hands-on activity in the building when its needed. I can talk over the phone, remote into someone’s machine, and make changes that affect their account, but the personal aspect of the physical interaction with the employees is missed.
Rewarding: Just being able to help everybody. I was hugged thirty times when I came into the office in October. I pretty much know everybody in the building and everybody knows me.
Q: Have you seen telecommunications impact the insurance business?
A: Data disaster recovery—everything we do now is in the cloud. If the building was completely cut off from the world, we could still do our work. Employees can work from home all day, and people calling in have no idea that we are not all in the same room. I am a good example of that. I work from home in Arizona every day.
Customer service and claims all take turns working from home so they have an understanding of what they have to do to get into the systems and perform their daily tasks without the customer being aware of where they are physically located. If we lost power, we could work from home and no one would know. As far as phones and contact centers, we have redundant data centers on the west coast that could take over if Atlanta went down, which is our main location for RingCentral and Five Nine.
Q: How do the logistics of the telephone system change when we’re in hurricane season?
A: We go to different IVR (Interactive Voice Responsive) menus when it’s hurricane season. We have a different option for callers to make storm related claims. When claims need to go to a “CAT” menu, we change the menu. We stay on the CAT menu until the storm threats are over, and then we go back to our regular menus. We also have the ability to allocate a percentage of our incoming calls to third party contact centers if needed.
Q: What have you liked most about working in the insurance industry?
A: There are a lot of parts that are involved. You have customer service dealing with the policyholders and a separate group of people helping with the claims. Once the claim gets started, there are so many people that get involved. Adjusters, examiners, underwriters, it just goes on and on. I’ve learned a lot about the process of callers and what they have to go through, especially when reporting a claim. There’s a lot of people involved from the beginning up until the end when they’re satisfied.
Q: Tell us about what it’s like to work remotely.
A: I get up, take a shower, and get dressed like I am going to work. My biggest commute is to the kitchen to get a new cup of coffee. I don’t miss the traffic. I do miss the interaction with the people and seeing how people are doing. I stay in touch on Facebook and that helps me stay current. I love having my own schedule, but I’m always available when I’m supposed to be.
Working remotely also comes in handy if we’re having problems. Because I’m remote, I’m often a good reference to where the problem is coming from, internal to the Seibels building, or external on the internet. I’m also a good resource for testing VPN issues and access to company information from the outside world. The capabilities we’ve been given with our computers is awesome.
Q: Now some fun questions. What’s your favorite app?
A: eBay. Facebook. LinkedIn is good for business contacts and information. I use an app called MyFitnessPal every day to maintain a healthy diet and exercise ritual. I’m going on 1,044 consecutive days of input for MyFitnessPal. It’s turned out to be a lot of fun.
Q: What is your favorite part of living in AZ?
A: Geographically, the Grand Canyon. It’s such a phenomenal sight right in our state. You drive two hours up the road and it’s totally different than the Phoenix area. I thought it was the most awesome thing to see. It’s more than just a BIG hole in the ground. We’ve only been to the south and west side. It’s on our list of things we want to continue to visit here in Arizona.
Q: What is the best way to start your day?
A: A good cup of coffee. We spend a lot of time on the back porch. It’s comfortable to sit out in the morning before it gets unbearably hot. We look at the cactus and rocks in the yard. It’s very peaceful and quiet.
Q: What is your favorite way to end the day?
A: Depends on the time of the year. We swim every afternoon. Not so much for exercise, but to get in and relax. Every house in Phoenix has brick walls around their backyards. There aren’t chain link or wooden picket fences. There are cinderblock fences, so it gives you a lot of privacy and it’s quiet. From May – September, it’s a great way to end the day.
Q: Is there anyone who’s been influential in your career?
A: Not so much prior to Seibels. The thirty years before Seibels, I never, personally met my boss or immediate supervisor, which was weird. Several people from Seibels have been very influential to me. They taught me a lot.
Q: Share a fun fact about yourself:
A: I drive a Smart Car!