Beyond the Job Description: Deputy General Counsel

Posted by Great West

Olivia Slater

Meet Olivia, Deputy General Counsel with Great West Casualty Company. 


What do you do at Great West?

I work with a team of attorneys to assist various business units as they prepare to make business decisions, which may implicate the law, and as they encounter legal questions in their daily work. I also help prepare and update materials that provide legal and ethical guidance to Great West employees within their roles.


What does your day-to-day work look like?

A typical day consists of a variety of tasks in many different subject areas. When an insured or claimant is unhappy with some aspect of the adjustment of their claim and makes a formal complaint to a state Department of Insurance, I will draft a response with the help of the adjuster on the file. I also assist adjusters in ensuring that any modifications to release agreements with claimants are both legal and protect Great West’s interests. I typically also spend time doing legal research on many topics, including compliance with claims-handling regulations.


What surprised you about this role when you first started?

I have been surprised by the breadth of issues I touch on a daily basis. Being new to insurance, I was not aware of how vast insurance laws and regulations are, and how almost every business unit needs support from Corporate Legal to some degree. The other attorneys in Corporate Legal have extremely broad and diverse bases of knowledge, and I hope to know as much as them one day!


What's challenging about your job?

The most challenging part for me at this point is the learning curve as a new lawyer and even newer insurance lawyer. It is rare that I know the answer to a legal question right off the bat when I am asked, but that is also part of why I like this job. Each new question is an opportunity for me to learn alongside the person who asked it and develop my own understanding of what Great West does.


What is the best part about working here?

I love the engagement and celebration that comes along with working for a larger company. I have participated in just about every game or contest that has gone on—including a laughable entry in the pumpkin-carving contest—and I’ve even won a light-up bean bag set. It’s a great way for me to meet employees in other departments, and it shows that Great West truly cares about the morale of its employees, which I find to be very important.


What's your favorite memory from working here?

The annual Employee Celebration happened to fall on my second day of work ever. At that point, I was still quite unfamiliar with the names and faces of everyone, and unknown to me, I happened to sit down at a table right next to Jim Jensen, the CEO. It wasn’t until later on in the celebration that I realized who I had been talking to. He was so friendly and down-to-earth, and he gave me a wonderful first impression of Great West’s leadership.


What advice would you give to someone who just joined our team?

Join a committee or affinity group! I quickly joined the Green Team, as I am passionate about environmental stewardship, and I became fast friends with some of the other Green Team members. It’s a great way to mix some of your personal passions or hobbies with work and find like-minded individuals.


Did you ever think you'd be working in insurance?

Not at all! Even during law school, I gravitated toward criminal law and immigration law. In my first job out of law school, I happened to practice some insurance defense, and that’s when I first got to see the inner workings of an insurance company and how complex they really are. When I moved to Sioux City, I was pleased to find this job; it has allowed me to capitalize on that bit of insurance experience I had acquired before.


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This blog post was created by Megan L., Great West Casualty Company HR Communications Specialist.

© Great West Casualty Company 2021. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2021. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.

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