Women in Insurance: Sherisa Crevier, Chief Operating Officer, Parker, Smith & Feek

Women in Insurance - November 10 2021

In this interview series, we profile women who are shaping the future of insurance. This week, we connect with Sherisa Crevier, Chief Operating Officer at Parker, Smith & Feek, one of the 60 largest brokerage firms in the United States, part of IMA Financial Group, Inc., and a member of Assurex Global. In her role, Sherisa is responsible for Parker, Smith & Feek’s operations, internal quality control, and compliance. She works closely with the firm’s offices to ensure seamless customer service standards throughout the organization. We sat down with Sherisa to ask a few questions about her path to insurance, the role culture plays in successful digital transformation, and Parker, Smith & Feek’s digital strategy for 2021 and beyond.

Sherisa, tell us about your path to insurance. What attracted you to the profession?

Like most of the industry I didn’t plan to have a career in insurance. I started as an assistant, my first day was spent copying policy forms and filing. What I figured out pretty quickly was that there was always something to learn. Every role I had been in prior, I learned everything and it became boring. The industry has given me the opportunity to learn every day and help people, which are my two biggest motivators!

What do you find most fulfilling about the work you do?

I have the opportunity to improve people’s lives. During my time advocating for my clients, I was able to support their businesses success. Moving into an operational role, I am able to do the same for our teams and all of our clients as a whole.

"Those of us that are in these positions, men and women alike, have a responsibility to develop the women around us to take on those roles." – Sherisa Crevier, COO, Parker, Smith & Feek

In an interview in Leader’s Edge Magazine, you talked about the opportunities presented by emerging technologies, saying, “We are excited to see more focus on alleviating the processing work. The less time teams spend on process, the more time they can spend working with clients as risk management partners. Policy checking and simple claim processing is exciting. The more a machine can do, the more we can have people working on things that have value to the client.” Can you share a bit about Parker, Smith & Feek’s digital strategy for 2021 and beyond?

Our digital strategy is client and employee focused. There has to be a use case that improves our employee or client experience. Our philosophy is that if it improves employee experience, it naturally improves client experience. For a period, we did a lot of in-house development because the industry wasn’t providing what we needed. We shifted a few years ago to trying to get all products off the shelf. We’ve settled into a medium where if it exists, we go get it. If it doesn’t exist, what do we need to do or who do we need to partner with to build it? Our team reviews technologies as they become available and where it makes sense we respond as quickly as possible to bring the tool on board for our teams or clients.

Looking to the future, what skills do modern brokerages need to invest in to be able to provide the kind of frictionless digital customer experience that policyholders are demanding? 

Flexibility would be my top human skill that I think we need to develop as an industry. It’s not about how we want to do business; it’s about how the client wants to do business. We need to break the mental barrier of “that’s how we’ve always done it” to allow our clients the best possible experience. It’s not about us and how we want things done. As long as compliance and regulatory requirements are met, we need to be willing to adjust to client needs.

What role does organizational and workplace culture play in successful digital transformation initiatives?

The right culture is absolutely necessary for successful digital transformation. Leadership needs to be willing to take opportunities when they present themselves and not get bogged down in committee. The organization as a whole needs to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and recognize that improvement is the goal, not perfection.

According to special report published by Insurance Business Magazine, 65% of the total insurance industry workforce is female, but only 12% of C-suite officers are women. Why do you think there are so few women in senior leadership roles in the insurance industry?

There are a lot of layers to this question. I think women need to believe there’s a place for them at the table. One of my favorite sayings is “if they don’t offer you a seat, bring a chair.” I don’t know who said it, but I love it. If leading at the C-level is a career aspiration they have, they need to advocate for themselves. Those of us that are in these positions, men and women alike, have a responsibility to develop the women around us to take on those roles. I didn’t have it as a vision for myself when I started in the industry more than 20 years ago, but I had amazing mentors and leaders that invested in me.

What can insurance companies do to ensure that women not only stay in the profession but advance in their careers?

Provide opportunities, create value in roles, develop career paths including those that may not be conventional.

What advice would you give the next generation of women considering a career in insurance?

First, DO IT! It’s an amazing career and you can do almost anything that you’re excited about doing – finance, service, leadership, analytics, claims, sales, and the list goes on. Second, be your own advocate but align yourself with some great mentors. Find a couple of individuals that have a different perspective than you have and that have experienced different things. Make sure they are willing to be honest with you about your shortcomings. Last, find a cheerleader and advocate in the industry, preferably in your organization.


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Sherisa Crevier is Chief Operating Officer at Parker, Smith & Feek. She is responsible for Parker, Smith & Feek’s operations, internal quality control, and compliance. She works closely with Parker, Smith & Feek offices to ensure seamless customer service standards throughout the organization.

Sherisa has worked in Parker, Smith & Feek’s Anchorage, Bellevue, and Tacoma offices. Over her career she has worked in service, leadership, and operational roles in Property & Casualty and then at the corporate level prior to taking on her current role as COO.

Prior to joining Parker, Smith & Feek in October 2006, Sherisa was with an international insurance broker. Sherisa has provided insurance brokering services to a large number of clients with complex and diverse operations, including several Alaska native corporations.

Sherisa was born and raised in Alaska. Prior to her insurance career she worked in construction industry office management.

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