November 16, 2018

Archives for June 2009

Going Bananas Over Product Liability Fraud

Dole Food apparently is beset by bogus product liability claims filed by Nicaraguan banana farm works who claim they were made sterile by a pesticide, DBCP, last used in the 1970’s. An article in the latest issue of BUSINESS WEEK magazine (7/1/09 p. 16, “A Bunch of Fake Claims Against Dole?”).

Courts in that Central American country have awarded plaintiffs $2.2 billion in damages so far. Dole is not droll in fighting the claims and maintains that a mini-industry has sprung up south of the border to recruit people who never worked on the farms, give them briefings to make then credible and send them to sham medical clinics to goose up the damages.

Where are Bill Lerach or Dickie Scruggs when you need them?)

One upshot from this situation emerges for risk managers. Companies need to fine tune their mechanisms to handling foreign claims, an area that often gets short shrift. The tort lottery is most prominent in America, but other countries are finding it a tasty export from the good old USA.

Further, this vignette is a reminder that insurance fraud is not just an asbestos thing or a domestic U.S. phenomenon. Foreign claims-handling capabilities must include a search for SIU and fraud-fighting tools.

Another great articulation of “What Adjusters Do” …

Few claim adjusters will ever be compared to Mother Theresa, nor do they vie for such an iconic status. Nevertheless, claim adjusters are often among the “first responders” in case of disaster and provided needed aid and succor.

For those adjusters who often wonder, “Why am I doing this?” one of the best explanations I have read comes from Pete Crosa, a claims authority who writes a periodic blog on “An Adjuster is What an Adjuster Does.” Peter hits the nail, on the head once again in his latest post, which I am offering verbatim:

“There is a great army of adjusters that swoop in right after a hurricane or a flood and, outside of a cold bottle of purified water and Red Cross personnel, they are one of the most welcomed sights to a battered and ravaged community.

“This concept of indemnity is as old as mankind. It’s not too difficult to imagine some primitive family losing their lone goat, camel, or other existence threatening asset only to be made whole by the care and generosity of other tribal members.

“Modern society didn’t ditch the concept, they merely packaged it and fashioned a legal contract called an insurance policy. How cool is that? Adjusters get to execute the terms of this insurance policy and we should feel pretty good about that. The terms are clear. Sometimes it makes them whole. Sometimes it just lessens the burden. But it always helps like it was designed to. That’s what an adjuster does.”

Amen, Peter!

SIU Adjusters Needed to Fight North Korean Insurance Fraud!!

Previously I didn’t know which was worse – North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear program or its Fearless Leader’s bad haircut. Now we learn that this country is a leader in international insurance fraud. Details and exploits are uncovered in a recent front page issue of The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/17/AR2009061703852.html?hpid=topnews).

Apparently Korea National Insurance Company is renowned for procuring reinsurance and then submitting dubious claims. In fact, insurance fraud is a source of much needed hard currency.

Any anti-fraud or SIU adjusters looking for the ultimate career challenge might consider this one. Of course, taking on Kim Jong Ill might involve risking a stint in a North Korean labor camp. (Any adjuster who has flown Northwest will be well-prepared for this eventuality, however.)

Perhaps we should introduce a motion to the United Nations that it create an international SIU???

Invest in Your Career Through New CLM Lit Management Training Sessions!

Vince Offer, the ShamWow pitchman, has nothing to worry about from me. You know – the scary dude on late night TV with the headset. (Actually, the economy is so bad now, I hear that some folks are knitting together Sham-Wows to fashion their own makeshift Snuggies!) ShamWows, Snuggies and Garden Weasels. We may laugh and snicker, but the pitchmen laugh too . . . all the way to the bank.

The Claims Coach isn’t given much to making product endorsements, but makes an exception now. I heartily recommend the new slate of litigation management training sessions being launched and offered by the Council on Litigation Management (visit http://www.litmgmt.org/Training.aspx ). The CLM is offering courses in 25 states, approximately 250 times from June to November 2009. Many provide adjuster CE credits.

The curriculum includes:

• “Fundamentals of Litigation Management”
• “Case Assessment and Evaluation”
• “Negotiation Strategies”
• “Structured Settlements”
• “Litigation 102: Pleasing and Motion Practice”
• “Litigation 103: Discovery Practice”
• “Litigation 104: Trial Practice”

Sadly, there has been a dearth of easily accessible training for claim professionals in the discipline of litigation management. This is ironic, as for many claim professionals this activity comprises a huge chunk of their jobs. The CLM helps fill this void.

In tight economic times, one of your best investments is to invest in your career – deepening your skill sets or broadening them. Visit the CLM website and consider registering for one of its sessions. Better still, join the CLM.

Caveat: if the session rooms are drafty, you’ve got to bring your own Snuggie….

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