Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about EMPLOYERS Insurance and the duties of your position?
Richard Hallman: We provide workers’ compensation insurance and services to small businesses. We are always trying to be innovative with our technology that we offer to our customers. We have 85,000 customers in 31 states.
EMPLOYERS is celebrating its 102nd anniversary, having started as Nevada’s State Fund in 1913. It became a mutual holding company in 2005. In 2007, the company went public and now trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
Day-to-day, I manage all technological aspects of the company and ensure that our technology strategy supports our strategic business goals.
NNBW: Tell us about some of the honors the company has accumulated over the past few years.
Hallman: We’ve received a lot of great honors over the years. Back in 2013, EMPLOYERS was inducted into the NCET (Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology) Hall of Fame for our track record of using innovative technologies to serve our customers better. In 2014, EMPLOYERS was named NCET’s Software Company of the Year. I was named Technologist of the Year this April. We were also named Partner of the Year for AON’s Claims Technology practice in 2013.
We’ve assembled a great team in the last 10 years and I look at all of these as team awards. We wanted to build a system that was more agile and that would allow our agents to do business in an easier manner. In 2013, we introduced EACCESS, a Web portal that helps insurance agents do business more easily. Within the first 30 days we had 10,000 agents self-register and we had 15,000 agents signed up within four months.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Hallman: I was always intrigued by technology. Prior to coming to EMPLOYERS, I worked for Intuit, where we did payroll services. At a much earlier age, I was part of a group that developed a network that was instrumental in communicating digitally after the San Francisco earthquake (in 1989) using amateur radio. I was always looking to innovate with technology.
NNBW: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Hallman: Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the latest technologies and the demand from our customers. Demand for new services far outweighs our resources. Businesses are always asking for more services and we’re always evaluating the best tools we can offer to meet that demand and make it easier for our customers to work with us.
NNBW: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Hallman: Really the company I work for is the most rewarding. The business side keeps me motivated. We have a tremendous team that is driven to work hard and put in long hours to make us successful. It is very rewarding to meet onsite with customers, find solutions to their needs and hear how our latest software releases are helping them do their job more efficiently. We have received a lot of top-ranked recognition because of these efforts.
NNBW: Have any advice for anyone who wants to get into this profession?
Hallman: You have to have a passion not just for technology, but for the business and relationship building. Being able to communicate at a business level, and not just at a technology level, is important. Relationship building is a key component. Here at EMPLOYERS, we are on the cutting edge of innovation; we are always challenging the status quo of the technology that is out there. This is one of our company’s core values.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Hallman: I worked after school at a TV and radio repair shop. It was then that I really got into electronics and knew it was something I wanted to do. It felt like a good fit for me.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Hallman: I like to work on cars, taking them apart and putting them back together to constantly improve what I have. I’m always intrigued by technology. I also like amateur radio. I’ve entered radio competitions in the past. We also have a small ranch with horses, although I don’t ride them as much as I used to.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Hallman: No, I like to be busy. I need to stay active and always have to be doing something. Some people are able to shut off work after hours. My wife has told me that I have a hard time doing that. She has tried to counsel me in trying to split my time in half between work and personal life, but so far she hasn’t been too successful. But I’m having a good time and I have a great team.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living and working here?
Hallman: I grew up north of Philadelphia near Valley Forge. I met my current wife while I was in the Air Force in Minot, North Dakota, and she moved out here to be close to her sister. The fact that there was no humidity, and that I needed to install a sprinkler system for my lawn was a culture shock for me. But there are so many opportunities out here. Many businesses, such as new data centers and Tesla, are moving into the area. Organizations such as EDAWN and NCET are doing a lot of great things to bring companies here. It’s an exciting time to be here in northern Nevada.