Cal Durland got her start in the insurance world in 1980 after marrying her college sweetheart Stu. She started as an underwriter at a commercial property insurance company called Industrial Risk Insurers.
“My job was working with insurance brokers to insure highly protected chemical and oil risks,” said Durland. “My teammates at IRI were engineers.”
It was a twist of fate considering Durland grew up with a civil engineer father, whose career meant she attended first grade in Pakistan. The young family eventually put down roots in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts. Sadly, Durland’s father passed away of cancer when she was 17.
Her extended family, including her three sons, remain close knit and have spent the past five years rebuilding the cottage their great-grandmother built in 1909, on Long Island, Maine.
“We literally started from the foundation, prefab posts up,” said Durland. “This small piece of property allows me to keep my ties to the sea, as well as family and friends. It is also the wallpaper on my computer monitors.”
In the early 1980s, after a short stint in Georgia, Durland and her husband moved back to the east coast. She began working as a commercial lines insurance broker where she gained experience of working on behalf of the customer and with insurance carrier underwriters.
It was then when a pivotal moment in her career took place as she achieved her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.
“The education provided me with a foundation and broad understanding of the property and casualty insurance industry,” said Durland. “This knowledge of the business helped me speak to the need to bring efficiency and cost savings to everyone’s processes and workflows.”
In 1990, Stu’s father approached him to come into the family’s third generation insurance agency, Seely & Durland, to run their operations.
“They were in the process of changing their technology, said Durland. “I investigated job opportunities in the area and was hired by ACORD, which was then known as Agency Company Organization for Research and Development, with an agency to carrier connectivity focus.”
Her 26 years at ACORD provided Durland with experience in working on the Forms, Standards, carriers, solution providers, agents, all involved in bringing efficiency to the independent agency channel.
In 1999 a group formed called AUGIE. It brought all user groups together, regardless of what system they used to work on behalf of the independent agents.
Durland rounded out her career after joining IVANS in 2016.
“I’ve been an underwriter, broker, association employee and now employee of a solution provider,” said Durland. “My job continues to allow me to work closely with the independent agency distribution channel and AUGIE Group, which has stayed true to its original mission of working on behalf of the independent agency system to improve its digital connectivity.”
When asked what she likes most about working in insurance, Durland notes the vast opportunities the industry provides from a career perspective.
“There are so many jobs,” said Durland. “Yet everyone thinks of sales when they think of insurance. How many people can say they worked as an underwriter, broker, association rep, and for a solution provider? You just must look for the opportunity that works the best for you.”
This is the way Cal Durland works.
I work remotely from my home in New York. Thanks to technology, I can work anywhere, which will soon be expanded to working from our RV, as Stu and I start to explore this great country.
Interface Optimization Director at IVANS. From a volunteer perspective: Director of AUGIE Group and Member of the Grace Church of Warwick Greet Team, and Friends and Family small group.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device:
Samsung Galaxy S9
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
Assisting agents and carriers with digitally connecting, from both an IVANS and AUGIE Group perspective. Broadening the outreach of the Grace Church and their Bible-based faith message.
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
(1) My faith. My dad died in 1976, and that is when God made sure I knew he would always be by my side. (2) My family, the bond and friendship I have with Stu, our three sons and their significant others. Each of the boys have taken different paths in their adult lives, and we are proud of them. (3) The opportunities I have had through the years to work with a variety of people in my insurance-based career. (4) Sports, especially golf, I wish I had more time for it. I am happy to say I have had a hole-in-one!
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
From a work perspective, improving the industry’s digital connections. From a personal perspective, sharing stories on my faith, traveling with Stu, and golfing.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Time, and working with agents and carriers who have individually defined how they run their business.
What do you like most about your job?
Working with a variety of people. It has kept the job interesting through the years.
What are the top three apps you use on your phone?
Email, text, and my daily bible app.
Describe your workspace.
I have an office in our home with triple monitors (two screens and my laptop). It faces outside, which currently has a view of our first snowfall.
How do you manage your to-do list?
I keep some lists in my head and others as electronic notes. Each day I make notes in a spiral binder, and then if needed add them to the applicable list.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Get a cup of coffee, look at my unread emails, and then tackle the first task of the day.
What is your best everyday habit?
Making my bed, reading the morning prayer of the day, and Rough Notes or other industry magazines.
What do you listen to while working?
I have cable TV on in the background.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading four books, Living the RV Life, The Bezos Letters, Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, and Faith for a Lifetime.
Coffee or tea?
Dunkin Donuts coffee
How do you decompress?
Looking out at Mother Nature, and when possible the ocean. Speaking with God. During the spring and summer seasons, planting and weeding flower gardens.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I need to average seven hours a night. I am a morning person, so late night events require a third cup of coffee, sometime in the afternoon.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am up by 6:20 a.m., pour a cup of coffee, read while I eat breakfast, take care of our dog Oreo, and then sign into work.
Who are your business idols and why?
Jeff Yates, retired IIABA ACT Executive Director and Thad Bauer, Vice President and General Manager of IVANS. Jeff had a broad knowledge of the industry and was successful in juggling all the relationships between agents, carriers, solution providers and association staff. Thad successfully ran a business and is now leading our team at IVANS. He has a knack for hiring the best industry talent for the job and has a logical easy-going approach to working on projects.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
I would like to make a difference.
What would you be doing if you weren’t working at IVANS?
I would find a job that would allow me to continue to work with independent agents.
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Jim Armitage – Vice President of The Liberty Companies; Keith Savino - Principal - Managing Partner Broadfield Group, LLC and Thad Bauer - Vice President and General Manager, IVANS