This is the first in a series of interviews with LAMP alumni on their experience in the industry, PLUS, and the program. For more content on diversity & inclusion from PLUS, you can read posts here on the PLUS Blog, watch our member webinar series, or attend the upcoming PLUS Foundation webinar, An Open Conversation About Race in the Professional Liability Industry, on Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 a.m. ET (registration opening soon).
Jeremy J. Zacharias
Jeremy is a member of the Professional Liability Department of Marshall Dennehey where the focus of his practice is representing and defending attorneys, accountants, insurance producers, corporate directors and officers, and other licensed professionals.
Jeremy is an active member of PLUS where he is an alumni of the Leadership and Mentoring Program (LAMP). Through PLUS, Jeremy also completed training at PLUS University and served as a member of a PLUS task force to revitalize the curriculum of PLUS University to address current trends in the professional liability insurance marketplace. Jeremy also currently serves on the Future PLUS committee and the PLUS Conference Content committee.
In 2011, Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a co-concentration in Finance and Business Law, graduating magna cum laude from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. In spring 2014, Jeremy earned his juris doctor from the Rutgers University School of Law, graduating cum laude and in the top 15 percent of his class.
Jeremy is admitted to the bars of the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is admitted to practice in federal court in the District of New Jersey.
How did you get your start in professional liability insurance?
I began my career in the professional liability insurance industry as an Associate for Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. in Mount Laurel, NJ. I focus my practice in representing and defending attorneys, accountants, insurance producers, corporate directors and officers, and other licensed professionals.
How did you hear about LAMP? What made you decide to apply?
I became a member of PLUS one year before I decided to apply for the LAMP program. I saw the wide network that PLUS offered and knew that as an Indian American attorney, I was under-represented in the legal and insurance community. I saw LAMP as an opportunity to learn more about the professional liability insurance industry and to connect with my peers in different avenues to grow my network. Through LAMP, I have made countless contacts and expanded my network with people across North America. Without LAMP, I would not have had this opportunity.
What was the most valuable aspect of the programming (e.g. orientation, webinars, mentor, attending PLUS events, relationships with your cohort)? Why?
For me, the most valuable aspect of the LAMP programming was the relationships formed with my cohort and expanding this network with each incoming cohort. Each cohort includes individuals that are ambitious in their careers and include like-minded professionals. LAMP offers a diverse group of individuals that share a commonality to transcend the professional liability insurance marketplace.
What takeaway(s) from the program have you implemented in your own life/career and how has it benefitted you?
The key takeaway that I took from LAMP was to see beyond merely practicing law. As a member of the professional liability insurance industry, I now see my role as a defense attorney as a collaboration with other professionals, including insurance claims representatives, brokers and underwriters.
How has LAMP changed your career path?
LAMP has allowed me to expand my network within the professional liability insurance industry while learning more about this industry. In turn, I am a more effective lawyer and advocate for my clients since I now understand the case reserving mindset and appreciate the insurance and claims strategies utilized.
How do you think LAMP has, or will, impact the PLUS community? Impact the industry?
LAMP has impacted that PLUS community by placing a focus on diversity and gave a voice to under-represented insurance professionals in the industry. The landscape in the professional liability insurance industry is changing, and under-represented professionals offer a unique voice and mindset to any company. LAMP has placed a spotlight on this and this program continues to effectuate change and acceptance within this industry.
What else do you think companies and individuals should be doing to bring about change?
Companies, in order to stay competitive in the market, must promote and celebrate diversity and must focus on the value professionals adds to an organization, regardless of race, color, or religion, among others.
What advice would you give to someone from an underrepresented group who is thinking of entering professional liability insurance? Someone who is in the field but looking to advance their career?
I often advise individuals new to the professional liability insurance to get involved with as many opportunities as possible. PLUS offers various opportunities at the local and national level to stay engaged with the current insurance trends and to fine-tune your professional network. I joined PLUS not knowing how useful my membership would be to my career as an attorney. However, getting involved with LAMP and later taking on a leadership role with PLUS has allowed me to maximize my membership benefit. I would encourage anyone seeking to learn more about this rewarding industry to get involved with PLUS and volunteer to offer a unique insight into this growing industry.