September 18, 2018

Archives for May 2009

Adjusters Have to Guard Kobe Every Day …

“Defensive specialist.”

In the NBA, a few players are known for taking on the tough assignments of guarding the most prolific scorers and unstoppable hoopsters. If your job is to guard Kobe Bryant or Lebron James, you’re in for a long night and have a thankless task. Despite the challenges, a few players rise to the mission. In current pro basketball circles, Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets is such a defensive specialist, charged with the daunting task of guarding Kobe.

A recent Sports Illustrated profile on Shane Battier (5/18/09, “Guarding Kobe”) and the rare breed of selfless defensive stoppers quoted Michael Cooper, former NBA star, saying that these stoppers are like being a “garbage collector” because “you don’t notice them until they don’t do their job. [They] handle the messes and the stinky stuff.”

“They handle the messes and stinky stuff.”

That quote jumped out at me and made me think of adjusters. You rarely notice adjusters UNTIL they don’t do their job. When they don’t do their jobs, you have irate claimants and policyholders. You have people calling to bitch and complain. You have grievances filed with the Insurance Commission. You have bad faith lawsuits filed against the company.

When claims people do their jobs, you just don’t have this phenomena. I have often said that the best managed claim offices are “boring” – no crises, no fire drills, no hot-to-the-touch complaints, no circling of the wagons due to a client meltdown.
Give me boring any day! If adjusters do their jobs, the function becomes self-effacing and less visible. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to take it for granted, or assume they aren’t needed.

Yes, and adjusters handle the messes and the stinky stuff. They are at the side of the Interstate at 3:30 AM with the overturned tractor trailer filled to bursting with produce. They go out to investigate the three-car fatality and survey the grisly photos taken by state police. They have to explain to a pushy insured that the policy doesn’t cover all perils or loss. They have to be the lightning rods for the frustrations of consumers who want it done yesterday.

Adjusters handle the messes and the stinky stuff. Like skilled defenders in the NBA, they are the unsung heroes of the insurance world.

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