A new year has begun and the new Land of Lincoln Board has already started planning a great year. The Board has a variety of experience and backgrounds which are helping pave our road for 2018.
A windy city native, Anita Riley, Director of Operations, has been at SPRISKA since January of 2015, and has been in the Ops Director role since April of 2016. This role encompasses leadership over the Claims Department, Underwriting/Product Department, Customer Service Department, and operational management including serving as lead HR.
Before arriving to SPRISKA, Anita spent all of her insurance career at Allied Insurance, a member of Nationwide Insurance, for close to eighteen (18) years. All but three (3) years of her experience were in claims, including field claims work, CAT duty, writing auto sheets, to complex injury analysis and coverage intensive construction defect handling. Anita began her management career in 2004 in the Phoenix, Arizona office. Nationwide restructured in late 2009, making a decision to consolidate offices, which involved closure of over 200 locations, including the Phoenix operation. Anita took an opportunity to lead an entire department of Personal Lines Non-Injury claims for the entire Western Zone, which encompassed 11 states in the west. Anita led a team of over 100 claims professionals and managers (approx. 8,000 claims/month) from essentially a start-up operation, combining multiple offices into 1 zone, all while increasing quality assurance results and the customer experience year over year.
Due to Anita’s extensive leadership skills, she managed several projects while at Nationwide, including leading the Emerging Leaders Program for several years, developing future leaders for the company. She led initiatives across the country to help gain efficiencies in other operations, and partner with peer Associate Directors to leverage systems and human capital to help provide a better customer experience.
Anita is a graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelors in Music with a minor in Business, graduating magna cum laude. She obtained her AINS designation in 1999, and her CPCU designation in 2004. Most recently, she completed her AU designation in the fall of 2017.
Helen Fesser has been in the insurance industry for 8 years after shifting career paths from health/mental health care to Property & Casualty insurance. She began her P&C career by contracting with Horace Mann in their Umbrella insurance area. She accepted a full time position at Horace Mann Insurance as a call center representative in the Summer of 2010.
A shift in job duties required Helen to obtain her State of Illinois Insurance license in August 2011. Soon afterwards, she began taking industry courses and completed her Associate in General Insurance in September of 2012.
In October of 2014 Helen shifted her focus to Underwriting and was promoted to Individual Risk Assessor in the company’s P&C Underwriting department. Continuing to take industry courses, Helen completed her CPCU and earned her designation in 2016. Helen was promoted to Risk Management Advisor in 2017.
In addition to Horace Mann, Helen spends her spare time with her family and baking. She is an award winning baker submitting at the State Fair, Festival of Trees, and other events.
Helen served as the Land of Lincoln’s chapter Secretary and Treasurer in 2017 and looks forward to continuing to serve on the board.
Jake Klunick has been a member of insurance community in Springfield since 2011. He started his career at U.S. Insurance Company of America where his primary responsibilities included underwriting Business Owners Policies and mono-line liquor liability risks.
In February 2016, Jake took a position with Horace Mann and currently holds the position of Senior Business Insights Analyst. His role encompasses the identification, analysis, and implementation of third party data solutions that improve the underwriting process.
Jake earned his Charted Property Casualty Underwriter designation in 2014 and also holds the Associate in Fidelity Surety Bonding (AFSB) and Associate in Insurance Data Analytics (AIDA) designations from The Institutes. Jake graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He is looking forward to serving on the Land of Lincoln CPCU Society Chapter Board.
Leaan Allison has been involved with Land of Lincoln CPCU since 2007 when she earned her designation. Serving on the board from 2007 through 2011, she brings her past experience with her. Prior to receiving her CPCU, she earned her API, AINS, and AIS. Since her CPCU she earned her PMP (Project Management Professional) and her Bachelor of Arts from Western Illinois University with a minor in Finance.
She brings twenty (20) years of insurance experience with her, all from various areas of Horace Mann. Leaan started in Property and Casualty Customer Service and quickly moved into Auto Underwriting. About five (5) years into her career she shifted to Property and Casualty Pricing. The start of her Pricing career was as a liaison but moved into special projects before she started Pricing both Auto and Property products. As the Property and Casualty Product Management department was created and growing, Leaan shifted to a Project Manager and then Product Consultant.
Leaan also brings twenty (20) years of outside experience from being on her hometown festival board with positions of Treasurer, Vice President, and President, along with several committee chair positions. Leaan is also First Vice President of her local Home Extension and the Vice President of her local Fire Protection District, along with being a Firefighter since 2013.