Harry Diamond, Vice President and Chief Claims Officer at WQIS, is celebrating 21 years with the company this year.
Diamond is a graduate of LaSalle University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in social studies education and history; he also holds an Associate degree in Risk Management. He began his insurance career right out of college when he was hired by a brokerage firm whose main client was Keystone Shipping Company.
Diamond continued with the firm for four years until he changed his career path because of “an itch that needed to be scratched” – his desire to be a teacher. For the next six years, Diamond taught eighth grade at St. Mary’s Interparochial School in the Society Hill area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While he found teaching satisfying, he was drawn back to the marine insurance industry, where he has been ever since. He accepted a job at Keystone, where he worked as a risk manager for 11 years.
Diamond’s career with WQIS started in March 1995, when he was hired as a claims manager. He was promoted to Vice President of Claims in 1997. In his more than two decades at WQIS, Diamond responded to over 2,500 spills.
In 1996, one year after Diamond came on board as claims manager, WQIS was hit with three major multi-million dollar claims: The “North Cape,” a grounding in Rhode Island with a major release of oil, and the “Buffalo 292” and “Buffalo 286”—two major hull failures with releases into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas. WQIS’s response to these incidents forged the organization’s reputation as the best spill response insurer in the business.
As the industry changed over the years, so did Diamond’s role at WQIS. In addition to handling claims, Diamond also serves in a public relations capacity by lecturing at industry events, delivering educational speeches, and presenting to organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard Crisis Center, which has a longstanding relationship with WQIS.
Despite the normal challenges of working in claims—like negotiating with other insurance carriers when divvying up claims, or fielding phone calls at 2 a.m.—Diamond still finds his position rewarding. His job has taken him to interesting places in the country and the world; and he says the view from his downtown NYC office “isn’t too bad.”
For the past three years, Ryan Puttick, Assistant Vice President of Claims, has worked alongside Diamond at WQIS. Puttick, an attorney, previously worked at a maritime law firm and at another leading marine insurer before joining WQIS.
“Harry Diamond’s name is synonymous with marine pollution liability insurance and pollution claims,” says Puttick. Speaking of the company’s competitive advantage, Puttick asserts that WQIS’s claims handling is second to none, because “other firms don’t have a Harry Diamond.”
“He’s a gentleman and a professional,” Puttick says of Diamond. “He has the right demeanor to set the proper tone for handling a claim correctly.” Puttick added that Harry is an excellent mentor.
In addition to his WQIS duties, Diamond is a member of the American Association of Average Adjusters, the Marine Insurance Claims Adjusters, and the Maritime Law Association. He also serves on the board of the American Waterways Operators, the national advocate for the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry.
Diamond has been married to Kathleen for 34 years. They have two sons, Joey (29) and Gregory (25), and a six-year-old granddaughter, Chloe. In his free time, he enjoys traveling with his wife and family, especially the traditional trip to the Jersey Shore for two weeks in August.
Diamond enjoys continuing to work at WQIS in both claims and in a PR capacity, drawing in new business for the company. “This is the perfect job for me,” he says.