Alumni Success Story: Erik Schmidt ‘15

Erik Schmidt ’15 knows a thing or two about insurance. As a Senior Claims Representative at Farmers Insurance, Erik handles residential homeowner’s claims throughout the United States.  After receiving his first promotion in less than a year of working at Farmers, Erik credits DU for the networking opportunities and hands-on experiences that has helped him get where he is today. Learn more about Erik’s path below.

Tell me about yourself, Erik!

I grew up in Caledonia. My wife, Shannon, and I are both proud Davenport University graduates.  I walked in the commencement ceremony in April, then I started at Farmers Insurance in May of 2015 as an Inside Property Claims Adjuster. I was recently promoted to a Senior Claims Representative in April.

What do you do in a nutshell?

As an Senior Claims Representative, I handle residential homeowner’s claims throughout the United States from inside the office. I investigate claims, determine coverage and payouts, and facilitate the entire claims process.

When you started at DU, where you looking at insurance for your long term goal? I originally started in mortgages at United Bank Mortgage Corporation before I got into insurance. I was looking at the different BBA specialties, debating on whether to concentrate on the financial planning or risk management and insurance specialty. I moved into the insurance specialty program because of the way the program was designed by Farmers Insurance. The professors, who were all Farmers employees, worked in the industry allowing me to gain hands-on experience. My first insurance class was with Professor Mark T. Cusack, who is the Head of Learning and Development- IA Ops. As soon as the class started, I instantly knew it was the program I was supposed to be in!

Aside from your college degree, what do you feel like you gained from your college experience?

Beyond the education, being able to network and develop relationships with people who were in the insurance industry was extremely valuable. The relationships I developed with professors and people in the industry was, by far, my favorite thing about college.

Tell us how the Farmers Insurance Scholarship impacted your success.

The scholarship and experiences I received from it was one of my biggest breaks. Going back to the networking, being able to meet people in the industry and develop mentors before moving into the industry was important to my success. The exposure to the industry and networking far exceeded any amount of money that I received. The money was a one-time gift, but they invested in me personally and professionally.  The focus of the Farmers Scholarship isn’t just about helping someone financially, but they want to invest in people and their career path, which I admire.

What makes you excited about the next 6 months?

Farmers Insurance is growing. There is so much opportunity and areas for movement within the company. The position I am in right now is where a lot of people get their start in the industry. You get the customer contact, learn the policies and industry. The claims knowledge alone is invaluable for the industry.

What is your dream job?

I would love to be a professor in the Risk Management and Insurance Specialty, like Mark.

What do you do when you are not working?

I enjoy fishing, camping and pretty much anything outdoors.

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