Hard to believe it’s been over a year since I became WILMIC’s President & CEO and stepped into the vast (and impossible-to-fill) shoes of my predecessor, Katja Kunzke. The year has gone by with lightning-like speed. While Katja is off enjoying retirement with her kids and grandkids, I have spent the last year working on developing and implementing WILMIC’s next iteration, our next, newer version of ourselves, our next role in Wisconsin’s legal community.
As the legal profession changes an evolves, technology becomes a more significant part of everything we do, and clients expect more from you; WILMIC also has to evolve to continue giving you what you need. We grew up as a company with many of you as you were building and growing your practice. For others, we were already here when you started your legal career. We plan to be here for many decades, changing along with you and your practice. Growing but holding onto what we like to think of as our “company DNA.” It’s who we are and what you have come to expect from us.
As most of you know, WILMIC was created in the mid-1980s to fill a gaping hole in the malpractice insurance space. At that time, Wisconsin lawyers did not have access to affordable malpractice insurance and needed help. WILMIC stepped in and filled that gap.
Since then, we have become, and remain so to this day, the company you can turn to, not just for malpractice insurance – that can be had in many places. But also your partner, of sorts. We help you get your CLE credits, provide law practice tools that can help you better serve your clients, help you out of a jam from time to time, and do the little things, like making sure we’re here to answer your calls or step up and give you a lunchtime CLE presentation if your group needs one.
Some of you don’t know us quite as well – yet. We continue to make changes and improve upon what we do well so that you can continue to rely on us when you need us. It’s part of our determination to make sure we continue to evolve and remain as dependable today as we were when we started and filled that gap back in 1986.
Sometimes, “rediscovery” is a good thing. While we work to rediscover what makes us the reliable, dependable company you have come to expect, we ask you to rediscover us if you haven’t already.
The term “company DNA” is sometimes used as a shorthand for an organization’s culture and strategy – a metaphor for what makes it unique. But there may be more to the metaphor. Understanding our company’s DNA helps us know what we can and can’t do and how to remain nimble and agile in an ever-changing legal profession. You have to do the same thing as a lawyer with your practice. It wouldn’t make sense for us not to do the same for you.
DNA needs constant attention as it develps, functions, and then reproduces. As a company, WILMIC is developing and continually recreating ourselves in different ways as we see the needs you have as lawyers.
We’ve heard the rallying cry for the past few years for companies to “be customer-centric.” That’s nothing new for us. We’ve been that way since our beginning. But what does that really mean?
For many businesses, each part of the company only sees one small sliver of the customer, a sliver that comes with different meanings and measurements: a particular profile in marketing, website traffic for the digital team, “call volume” to the customer service team, a “conversion” to the sales team, or an “impression” to the advertising team. The real risk here is that no one sees the customer as an actual human being. We certainly to. It is part of our culture. It means listening to and understanding the customer more deeply. It may come in a phone call to Brian Anderson, our Director of Claims, or Joyce Neumaier, our Claims Assistance, or in a call to our Underwriting Manager, Katelyn Cole, or Underwriting Associate, Stacey Stewart, or in a conversation you may have with our Senior Vice President and Director of Business Development Matt Beier, or our Account Executive Sarah McQuin. Or it may come in a social meda post with our Marketing Associate, Stephanie Williams. And of course, Patty Lehner and Megan O’Brien support WILMIC staff by managing the company’s finances with unsurpassed expertise. They all will do the same thing – listen to you, understand what kind of help you may need, and respond promptly, earnestly, and efficiently.
This process need not required deeply specialized skills: it can be as simple as it sounds. And we live it every day. For some companies, the emphasis has moved away from human connection and interaction and more on empirical data from survey results and analytics or customer insights from feedback forms and focus groups. That’s not us. Yes, we look at data and survey results. But most importantly, we listen to you.
Empathy with the customer, which is among the simplest of principles, is at the top of our mission. Customer empathy is a goal we’ll never claim to “master” because it requires constantly challenging ourselves and constantly working to understand how things are changing in your world and what we may need to do differently than we did years ago.
This last year, we made many changes and undertook new intitatives to be an even better resource for you than before. If you haven’t yet, I respectfully ask you to give us another look. “Rediscover” us. I’m confident you’ll find the same old reliable and dependable WILMIC but with some new wrinkles, some new features, and tools that can help you in today’s modern world, from cyber security protection to more competitive pricing that takes into account exactly what you do in your practice, to additional benefits and coverages that we didn’t offer before, along with an unconditional commitment to helping you become a bette lawyer and provide the best service you can to your clients. Thank you for all of your support over these past 37 years. We will continue to “pay that support forward” as we all grow and evolve in the coming years.
WILMIC President & CEO