Women of ELEMENT: Nicole Fichtner

At ELEMENT, we’re immensely proud of the incredibly talented women working in our various teams. Our “Women of ELEMENT” series highlights the incredible female talent committed to redefining the future of insurance. Our purpose is simple; to increase awareness of women’s roles in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and to highlight the expertise and passion these women bring to their roles each and every day.

In this edition,  Nicole Fichtner who is Team Lead in our Claims Department is our guest.

Tell us a little about your background. Why did you decide upon a career in insurance?

When I started my professional career, like most people, I was not sure which path to take, and I applied to different roles in various industries. At that time, I was offered a traineeship with an insurance company, and I decided to give it a try. During this traineeship, I worked in the claims department and that was when I realized, that this was what I wanted to do. Why claims, you ask? Every claim is different, and the claims department is the most varied and dynamic department in an insurance company. I was able to grow from a trainee and went on to work for ten more years before I got the opportunity to move to ELEMENT.


What do you enjoy most about your role as the Team Lead for Claims?

At ELEMENT, I am responsible for the claims department. This means that I am involved in and logically responsible for everything that has to do with claims. My top priority is keeping the promise we made to our customers when the contract was signed to be there for them in the event of a claim, and if possible, to exceed their expectations.

What I really appreciate about my role at ELEMENT is the diversity. Our partners cut across various diverse areas in the economy and this is naturally reflected in their products and claims processes. The challenge for my team and I when onboarding new partners and products is to define an adequate claims process for each partner, so that it always meets the needs of all parties involved. To achieve success, there is a need for close cooperation with our developers. Here, we get the necessary technical support in onboarding new partners/ products and further develop our self-built claims system as well as our internal processes.

The same then applies to the claims processing itself. At ELEMENT, I would say that we work in three pillars in claims processing. The first pillar is claims processing in-house. Here, we handle claims for some of our products internally, as well as all major and special claims. Since our goal is not to build a claims department for every product, we still have the second and third pillars with our service providers and our partners who support us in claims handling. This is very often a good opportunity to use the support of our partners, as many of our partners have years of profound experience in the respective product. We have really great and very fruitful cooperation, where we can always learn from each other and develop further.

Variety and diversity as far as the eye can see.

I am very grateful for my great team, with whom I manage all the different tasks that come up. Teamwork is what has propelled us to achieve all we have achieved so far, and I am very excited about everything that is still to come! Ultimately, this diversity also runs through the entire company. We have colleagues from over 30 different countries, which makes working together very varied and exciting.

What I love about my job is that no two days are the same and that my team and I are able to work very freely, which on the other hand naturally also brings with it a lot of responsibility. Through this responsibility, however, I have grown a lot myself and have developed to where I am today.


Your career is very impressive, what skills/traits would you attribute to your personal and professional success?

I started at ELEMENT almost 5 years ago as a claims process manager. From my previous employer, I was in the habit of having everything you needed for claims processing. A ready-made claims system, document management systems, predetermined processes that you were allowed to operate within – it had all that you required for your daily activities. You came to work, opened your inbox, and processed one claim after another.

My first day at ELEMENT was quite different as it was a very young company. In the beginning, we didn't really have anything in the claims area. My job was to build up and develop the claims department together with a colleague. At that time, it was a completely new experience for me to be able to decide how something could and should look.We started designing the requirements for the developers for our claim's system. Here, my many years of experience in the claim's field proved quite beneficial. In addition, we were able to “let off steam” and implement everything we wanted to design differently and more efficiently.

Being involved in the development of a claims system and implementing my own ideas was like entering a new world for me every day, and I found it very exciting. It was clear that none of this could happen overnight and that you also have to accept minor setbacks from time to time. Thanks to my endurance and my ability to motivate colleagues, we came out stronger. After that, the first partners came up with product ideas. This was the beginning of the claims process design for us. Here, we have a free hand in the design within the legal framework. In all these developments, I benefited from my openness, my curiosity, and also my will to create something new and improve what already exists. I have been leading the claims department at ELEMENT for a good year and a half now, and I look forward to many exciting more years. Together with my great team, we are developing new things  and are poised to make the insurance world a bit more digital every day.


What is your experience of diversity in the insurance industry? And how is it changing?

Diversity is something that I value very much and experience every day at ELEMENT. Not only is this represented in the diverse team members, our various partners and products, but also in the target groups of our customers. I believe the insurance industry in general is moving in the right direction in terms of diversity in leadership, working hours, etc.

Personally, I had the chance to move up from Claims Process Manager to Claims Team Lead at ELEMENT. I am very proud of this and grateful that ELEMENT gave me this opportunity. I believe It is very important to be aware of one's own strengths and work for an employer who supports your growth.


What advice do you have for women looking to enter the industry?

The insurance industry is very diverse and currently, we can see that it is moving in the direction of digital, customizable and innovative insurance solutions. There are a lot of great opportunities here for entry levels, experts, and people who want further development. I can only speak for ELEMENT here, but we do have a lot of fun, so check out our career page.

My final words are; Ladies, be confident, believe in yourselves and change the insurance world together with us.

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