August 14, 2022

Archives for January 2013

Stave off Adjuster Blues with Music CD Aimed at Claim Pro’s

While Beyoncé and Taylor Swift will probably be lining up to accept their awards, it is safe to say that the Grammys will likely not be announcing the name of Carl Van. Cross “Weird Al”Yankovic with an insurance adjuster and what you get may approximate this whimsical music CD aimed at claim professionals.  Nevertheless, renowned insurance trainer Carl Van has just released a music CD reflecting the challenges and headaches facing insurance adjusters and other claim professionals. Van is an adroit trainer of claim professionals and has branched out by offering a number of books aimed at adjusters. In addition, he has posted his culinary chops in a 2012 Claims Cookbook (which my wife happens to love).

Van and his Van-band of merry musicians have branched out further, this time into the music business in a fun way with, “I’m a Claims Man,” featuring Van and the Awesome Adjuster Band. Carl wrote all the lyrics and then recruited two friends — Jenny Williamson, a successful Christian music singer/songwriter and Michael Krejci, a country music singer and songwriter. He also enlisted his wife for background vocals.

The album and its songs are funny will entertain anyone who has ever sat at a claims desk, struggling to stay on top of their caseload, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous settlement demands. The track list includes the following cuts:

“Behind on Diary Blues”

“Welcome to Our Claims Unit”

“I’d Like to Take Your Statement (I’ve Heard it All Before)”

“The Performance Review”

“My Counsel Let me Down Again”

“They Call me the Claims Hammer”

“The Claims Commandments”

“All I Want is the Sex Life of a Pre-Injured Claimant”

“Forget Everything Your Agent Told You”

“The Claims Cookbook”

“I’m a Claims Man”

My favorite track: “All I Want is the Sex Life of a Pre-Injured Claimant.” Any claims person handling bodily injury and loss-of-consortium claims understands that, when a claimant is seeking compensation for loss or diminishment of sexual capacity, there’s a huge temptation to –let’s say embellish — their previous activities and capabilities. We are talking Cialis-on-roids.  Sometimes it’s a smidgen. Sometimes the embellishment is a lot and claimants would have you believe that — prior to the accident — they went at it like baboons in heat on an R-rated “Animal Planet.” The song pokes fun about the times when claimants shade these loss of consortium claims on the exaggerated side.

The CD is available on and iTunes, as well as the website and

For some comic relief as a coping mechanism for the stressed-out adjuster, load your CD player or iPod with “I’m a Claims Man” and rock on.

Rumor has it that, music not only soothes the savage beast, but also soothes the stressed-out adjuster!

Video Blog: 6 Ways to Tune Up Your Reservations of Rights Letters

New Claims Book Advocates “Back to Basics” as a Blueprint for Adjusting Success

As Vince Lombardi began building his iconic gridiron dynasty in Green Bay, WI, legend has it that he assembled his players for their first practice session, held a pigskin aloft and intoned, “Gentlemen — this is a football.”

“Back to basics” is a familiar recipe for success, often one we hear from the realm of public schools and childhood education.  A return to the fundamentals is sorely needed in the claims profession as well, according to claims consultant and author Chris Tidball in his latest book, Blocking & Tackling.  Anyone who is off-put by sports metaphors may be tempted to check out now, as Tidball likens building a top-flight claims unit to coaching world-class sports teams.  He feels that there at least four ingredients for success.

Hiring practices.  First, upgrade adjuster hiring practices. Tidball likens staffing a world-class claims organization with developing a top-level pro sports team. He is of the view that you draft the best athlete available. He discounts somewhat the value of years of experience and gray hair. Instead, he embraces the model utilized by companies such as Southwest Airlines, which hire for attitude and train for skill.  Like a coach on NFL draft day looking for the best player, Tidball’s philosophy is to hire the best candidates available. He definitely seems to believe that your attitude determines your altitude in the claims business. He would take an eager and inexperienced person who was receptive to learning over a jaded but seasoned adjusters who feel that they have learned all or know enough.

Leverage technology.  A second area Tidball advocates is leveraging technology to maximize financial gains. This might include automating low severity claims. It might involve using databases to assist in detecting patterns that indicate fraud. In other areas, it might involve technology that makes evidence -gathering more efficient.

Pursue Subrogation.  The third area that Tidball espouses is vigorous subrogation pursuit. He believes that millions of dollars are left on the table and forgone by insurance companies for failure to recognize and to doggedly pursue subrogation opportunities. He believes that this is an area that deserves greater focus from claims people and managers.

Spot Contributory Negligence.  Fourth, Tidball believes that liability assessments are often flawed and that adjusters often fail to factor in contributory negligence. Taking the path of least resistance, adjusters often you accidents as either 100% fault situations or 0% fault situations, with little gray area in between. He believes that thorough and in-depth investigation will create arguments and talking points that adjusters can utilize to argue comparative negligence and to save literally millions of dollars in payouts.

Tidball’s book deftly weaves together themes which he develops in his blog. Blocking & Tackling is a thoughtful book which deserves to be read by claim supervisors and managers everywhere and demands a place on their bookshelf.

With a renewed emphasis on the basics of blocking and tackling is applied to the claims realm, insurance companies can distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace and maximize their financial reports. As a byproduct, a return to these basics will enable claim managers to assemble their own Dream Team of claim adjusting superstars!

Blocking & Tackling will empower you to block many impediments in claims improvement and to tackle challenges standing between you and claims excellence.  Of course, none of the ideas work if you don’t implement them.

(For your own copy of Blocking & Tackling, order the book at for $12.99 plus shipping.)



Address These 6 Claim Communication Gaffes that Trigger Bad Faith Claims

January in Florida?

Not a bad idea!

Soak up some sun AND get some CE time in by joining us at the CLM mini-conference on “Coverage, Bad Faith and Faith” in Orlando.  Here are some of the communication challenges  we plan to cover during the upcoming CLM seminar in Orlando on January 25th. In no particular order:

1.  Failure to adroitly handle reservation of rights situations with the policyholder.

2. Failure to communicate to the insured regarding claim value and settlement.

3. Failure to communicate with the policyholder during the counsel selection phase.

4. Failure to communicate to the insured when material changes occur in claim value or complexion.

5. Failure to tell the insured how the claims process will unfold and what  will happen when

6. Failure to communicate claimant/plaintiff settlement demands.

In the 50-55 min. time allowed during the breakout sessions in Orlando, I doubt that we will have time to cover all of these situations, and certainly not to an exhaustive degree. However, these are the types of communications snafus that will be our focus and which often trigger bad-faith allegations.

Adroitly handling these communications can help inoculate a company against bad-faith claims and lawsuits. By contrast, bungling these situations through communication mishaps can guarantee stress, headaches, lost productivity and an outflow of money due to legal costs defend bad faith claims and indemnity dollars to fund bad-faith settlements or judgments.

Start 2013 by investing further in your professional education and development.  Join us at the Downtown Sheraton in Orlando on Friday, January 25th at the CLM’s “Coverage, Bad Faith and Fraud” mini-conference.

For more information, including breakout sessions, presenters, registration, etc., please visit

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