My Career Story Monday: Victoria Wong (’17, MG)

Name: Victoria Wong

Class Year: Class of 2017

Position: Long Term Disability Benefit Specialist

Company: Unum Insurance Company

  1. Can you describe your career path for me?

Coming into Bentley University, I knew I wanted to pursue something in healthcare but on the business side. As a Management major with a concentration in Global Perspectives and a Health and Industry double major, the broad range of classes allowed me to gain a global perspective on the health industry while learning how to manage different people’s perspectives. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the health industry, but I was uncertain where to look.

  1. How did you become interested in this career?

Going to the career fair and learning about Unum, allowed me to research the company further and realize that I wanted to be a part of Fortune 300 company whose main goal was to help others during their most vulnerable points in their lives. I initially applied for the Professional Development Program, a competitive four-year rotational program. I made it to the final round, where Unum flew me out to Chattanooga, Tennessee to visit the headquarters and interview in front of a panel of senior executive leaders. I did not receive a position in the Professional Development Program but instead they offered me a position as Long Term Disability Benefit Specialist where I get the chance to interact with my own block of claimants, medical and vocational specialists on a daily basis.

  1. What aspects of your job do you find most rewarding?

It is extremely rewarding to be able to be the point person for somebody who is disabled and unable to return to work.  I am able to interact with them, understand their medical and personal situation and build a relationship. I am able to help them receive a portion of their income in order to cover the cost for their daily lives and medical bills. Every day as a Long Term Disability Benefit Specialist I am learning a new concept or policy provision that I have not seen before. I love the chance to continuously learn as one claim is not like another, each must be looked at with its own merits.

  1. What aspects do you find most challenging?

The most challenging part of my position was learning and understanding insurance jargon. I did not have any experience with insurance prior to the nine week training class I participated in when I first started the role. I will continue to train for a year with a mentor and have the direction of my director, medical and vocational specialists to help guide my decision process. Time management is a big aspect of my role as I need to prioritize some activities over others. These activities include requesting medical records, contacting employers, and talking to claimants on the phone, giving them individualized customer service, among other activities Disability Benefit Specialists are expected to do.

  1. What advice do you have for someone preparing to enter this career?

The biggest advice I can give someone preparing to enter into the disability insurance career is to be compassionate. At times, it can be overwhelming and claimants can get angry with you, but you have to step back at the end of the day and realize they do not have an income at this moment and worrying about their futures and sometimes even dependent’s futures. It is extremely important to express sympathy and understand that they are human as well.

  1. Have you used Mentor Marketplace? If yes, can you talk to me about that experience?

I have signed up to be a mentor in the Mentor Marketplace but have not yet been contacted for assistance. I am more than happy to talk to anyone interested in the disability insurance field or anyone interested in Health and Industry. Feel free to connect with my on LinkedIn and reach out to me for advice!

I would also like to add that, as cliché as this may sound, everything happens for a reason. At first I was disappointed I did not receive the Professional Development Program, the rotational program that initially drew me to Unum. After consideration, I decided to take on the role as a Long Term Disability Benefit Specialist and move to Portland, Maine for the position. It has been both rewarding and challenging personally and professionally but ultimately it has allowed me to grow as a person. I am happy with my position choice and Unum’s ability to allow me to continuously learn and develop. Therefore, sometimes not going into your dream role is a blessing in disguise. Do not be discouraged if your dream company or position turns you down, it is okay and it allows you to push yourself and find a better position that fits your strengths.

By Caroline Gervais
Caroline Gervais Student Director, CareerEdge & Event Planning Team Caroline Gervais