An insurance professional with more than two decades of experience, Hiawatha Franks currently holds the position of claims director at The Hartford in Lake Mary, Florida. Throughout his career, Hiawatha Franks has consistently worked to enhance his skills, earning several professional designations, including Associate in Risk Management and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU).

Conferred by the professional organization The Institutes, the CPCU designation is the property-casualty industry's premier credential. Procuring the designation requires passing eight courses and examinations, meeting an experience requirement, and agreeing to abide by a strict code of professional conduct. Typically, the credential takes nearly four years to complete, making a strong level of commitment a requirement for those seeking the designation. 

Upon completion, however, CPCUs are considered property-casualty experts, and as a result most receive increased job security. Furthermore, many designees go on to work in management positions, allowing them to apply their knowledge and skills to improving the companies they lead.
Claims Manager Hiawatha Franks, who is based in Lake Mary, Florida, leads four teams of workers' compensation specialists at The Hartford Company. Under the guidance of Mr. Franks, each group retains its own nurse case manager, who plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between clients, the company, and care providers.

At its core, the role of a nurse case manager consists of advocating for both the patient and the insurance company by overseeing care. A case manager can help arrange for cost-effective treatment that also heals the patient. As an example, in a post-operative situation, a nurse case manager might arrange follow-up appointments with surgeons and therapists, ensure prescriptions are appropriate and filled as necessary, and verify that any subsequent tests and screenings are truly necessary in order to avoid undue hardship on the patient.

In general, a nurse case manager keeps the big picture in mind while also standing by to answer any questions patients may have. He or she serves as a guide through the medical care process as it relates to recovery.
Walden University’s Master of Business Administration program offers a specialization in risk management, incorporating extensive training in leadership. At Walden University, where Hiawatha Franks studied, the MBA program begins with two classes on leadership— Managing and Leading: A Contemporary Approach and Leading People—and finishes with a capstone course on Becoming a World-Class Manager. For Franks, who has significant experience leading teams of insurance adjusters and claim handlers, providing effective and positive leadership is an integral part of his work as an insurance professional.

What makes for effective leadership in the modern working world? While some innate characteristics are helpful, according to psychologists, effective leaders develop their abilities through education, training, and experience. Certain events can trigger valuable insights for aspiring leaders, but generally leadership skills evolve slowly over a long period. Also, while great leaders may be inspiring, and even visionary, they balance their personal charisma with sincere concern for their followers’ well-being and development.
In the course of his two-decade career in insurance, Hiawatha Franks has earned licensure as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), a distinction held by fewer than one percent of all insurance professionals working in the United States today. Franks uses this distinctive education to inform his work as the director of workers’ compensation claims at The Hartford, a leading provider of group benefits, mutual funds, and property and casualty insurance in the American Southeast. He has also earned certifications in general insurance, insurance services, and risk management. 

The CPCU license is a battery of courses and tests offered by the Institutes (formerly the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters) since 1942 for property-casualty insurance and risk management. CPCU courses train agents to apply risk management and insurance principles to everyday practice, to use technology to assess and manage complex commercial property and personal loss claims, and to develop knowledge of all functional areas of insurance and how they relate to each other in practice.