Abigayle RichardsonMay 14, 2019
Abigayle is a motivated business owner who specializes in catastrophe insurance claims. Though she currently resides in Wichita, KS, she travels all over the country, with her four-pound sidekick/dog Baxter, helping people through the property insurance process after many types of natural disasters including wind, hail, fires, and hurricanes. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her partner, Sohail, and her family, traveling for fun, and trying anything new. She loves to read, hike, craft, and try as many foods as she can.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in 2011 with a concentration in Communication Studies.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
What was your first job after graduation?
I took a job as a catastrophe claims adjuster with Farmers Insurance.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I own my own company and run property insurance claims for several different insurance companies all over the United States. I mainly deal with larger natural disasters, and focus on large, complex losses.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Having a liberal arts degree was a major advantage because I am well versed in subjects that I might have had little interest in but have ended up helping me now that I am in a career field I did not anticipate. My COMM degree is a major selling point when I am negotiating contracts – I have a deep understanding of how people going through a trauma might communicate, allowing me to be a better listener, and in turn, a better adjuster. Colleagues are often impressed that I am well versed in a lot of different fields, making my business relationships that much stronger.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Trigonometry and Spanish, most definitely. I swore up and down to Dr. Self I wouldn’t need it . . . and now I’m in a field where both come in handy quite often. (Editor’s note: We don’t want to say “We told you so,” but . . . )
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
My biggest accomplishment was graduating through several setbacks and with an unseen disability, while also working two jobs consistently throughout my education. I am also very proud of the work I did with Dr. Poyner on the research into the Public Speaking course.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman provides so many opportunities for you to be the kind of student you want to be. The diversity in the class offerings paired with the extra-curricular options leads to a fantastic education if you can make the most of it.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Network. Building relationships with your professors and other students. The Truman legacy lasts well after college and you can find yourself calling on someone to help you work through a tough solution.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Start with a company that is willing to train you, and take every opportunity you can to learn. Learn to be empathetic, but not to internalize. You can help a lot of people, but only if you can take care of yourself first. Finally, practice making decisions and backing them up – and when they are wrong, learn from them. Indecisiveness can be a downfall!
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
Honestly, my friends. We were incredibly close, and they made Kirksville special. Even now, eight years post-graduation, we get together every couple of years and pick up where we left off. It’s the closest bunch of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of.
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
“Empathy and the Workplace” – The course would focus on interpersonal situations in a professional setting with a unit on self care as well.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
It is super okay to not know exactly what you want to do – don’t be afraid to take a job opportunity and see where it leads you! I never had considered the career I have, but I love it!
If you would like to learn more of Abi’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.