Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Hagerty Advantage – Our People: Jing Luo

How has your background growing up in China contributed to your interest in disaster recovery?

My hometown in China is on the South East coast, where it is prone to severe typhoons. In 2006, Typhoon Saomai, one of China’s strongest recorded storms, made landfall near my hometown. My entire city became flooded with contaminated water, and lifeboats were used to rescue people and take them to safety. My family and I, who had recently moved to a new apartment, realized one of our windows would not close as Typhoon Saomai was fast approaching. It was almost impossible to fight the wind and close our window. If we tried, the window would break, allowing heavy rain to enter our new apartment. Luckily, the management team helped us with setting up a temporary window cover that prevented any flooding to our apartment. When Typhoon Saomai finally passed, broken trees and debris remained everywhere. Recently, Typhoon Lekima, equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane, landed near my city, causing a high death toll and several billion dollars in damage.

The devastation and panic these typhoons caused my family and community are why I became interested in disaster recovery. I received help from others during a time of disaster, and now I want to use my skills to help communities through their disasters.

How does your previous banking experience contribute to your role as a Financial Management Consultant assisting clients after a disaster?

My previous work revolved around keeping clients informed throughout the mortgage process and coordinating with various parties to facilitate the lending process. I have learned to interpret complicated terms into graphs, numbers, and examples so clients can easier understand the different parts of a complex program. My teaching fellow experience in college also contributed to my development in solving problems multiple ways. It is why, in my role as a Financial Management Consultant, I am able to digest a disaster recovery program and create tools or databases that allow for easier data interpretation for clients who might not know all the program’s intricacies.

What grant funding challenges have you solved through database systems?

With the help of the Intuit QuickBase System and Microsoft Business Intelligence software, my team and I can build grant management systems based on our clients’ needs. Specifically, I have implemented solutions so clients can better track their project costs, maintain project work queues, and automate financial reports.

In a recent project, a client was frustrated with how their existing financial grant program information was lumped together, complicating the allocation of funds for different recovery programs or beneficiaries. I created an itemized database system consisting of the grant funding details, the specific grants funds are tied to, beneficiaries, costs, and reimbursements. I also created an operations system that allowed our client to perform the grant management steps in sequence from procurement and contracts to revenue realizations. The itemized database system allowed the client to track their budgets and grant funding streams, while the operations system sent auto notifications of tasks for a more efficient workflow.

What led you to join the Hagerty Consulting, Inc. (Hagerty) Team, and what do you think makes Hagerty unique?

My experience growing up in a disaster-prone area led me to think about opportunities in the disaster recovery area. Hagerty is well known in the industry so when a job was posted on Columbia University’s career website, I instantly applied for it. I believe supporting clients after they are in a vulnerable position is meaningful work, one I am grateful to be a part of.

The teamwork at Hagerty is phenomenal. My team consists of individuals from different areas and expertise who work together to achieve our clients’ recovery goals efficiently and in a timely manner. The years of managing major disaster projects across the country also allow Hagerty to have a unique impact on helping our clients’ implement recovery policies for their purposes.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Reading and traveling! There is a Chinese proverb which says, “Read 10,000 books and travel 10,000 miles,” meaning learn as much as you can and travel as far as you can. In terms of reading, I have loved reading ever since I was able to hold a book, and now I read every day because it brings me peace and inspiration. As for travelling, my parents took me to many different cities in China where I had the chance to see different customs, food, clothes, and dialects within my country. I chose to attend college and live in the United States (US) so I can continue traveling, meet new people, and learn new perspectives. I believe reading and traveling make me a better, caring, and passionate person.

Jing Luo joined Hagerty 5 years ago as a Financial Management Consultant and systems expert advising New York City and Florida clients on their grant management processes and California clients with their systems management. Jing graduated from Columbia University with Bachelor of Sciences degrees in Mathematics and Operations Research. Jing grew up in a disaster-prone area in China and now currently resides in New Jersey.