August 14, 2022

Archives for January 2022

Build “Quiet Time” Blocks into the Claim Unit’s Schedule

A huge barrier to adjuster productivity is interruptions. Adjusters may suffer from ADD, but their natures are likely only partly to blame. The texture of the customary claims environment fosters adjusters having the attention span of a gnat. How does the manager or supervisor boost claim productivity and fight this obstacle?

Tip: Consider instituting defined blocks of “quiet time” within the claims office. Odds are that the claim staff is often interrupted by phone calls from …

• claimants,
• policyholders,
• attorneys,
• vendors,
• medical providers,
• business associates.
• well-meaning co-workers

Plus, there are the ever-present meetings. And Zoom calls in the work-from-home/Covid era.

All these interruptions drain the claim operation of efficiency and make the claim backlog snowball. One way to help the claim staff survive and catch up is to build in and institute as an office practice limited blocks of “quiet time.”

Despite those who champion the concept of quiet time, do not be surprised if it is an uphill battle in championing the idea in the claims office. Perhaps few claim offices use it. One approach is for the claim office to assign the same one hour of time each day – say, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Another option: allocate larger blocks of time less frequently. For example, the workers compensation unit might have quiet time of 2 PM to 4 PM every other Monday. The commercial property claims unit might have it from 10 AM till noon every other Wednesday.

The idea is that these time chunks will give adjusters and everyone on the claim staff the opportunity to get organized and work efficiently.

During quiet time, adjusters are not required to take phone calls or respond to “normal” interruptions. If you have people who can cover for them, that is ideal. If not, take a message or funnel the calls into voice-mail, to be retrieved and returned promptly when the quiet hour is over.

If a claim matter is urgent, the claim staff should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate this.

Giving the claim staff quiet time may not only boost productivity and work quality, it may also improve morale and contribute to your quality of workplace. This helps the ability to attract and retain high-quality claims talent.

Have you or your claims office ever experimented with a block of time cordoned off for adjusters focusing on “deep work,” relatively free of interruptions?

“I’d do anything for Claims — But I Won’t Do THAT…”

R.I.P. Meat Loaf.

He had more than his 15 minutes of fame. Among his (few) hit songs was, “I’ll do anything for love – – but I won’t do that.” In the wake of his passing, many have wondered what he meant by, “I won’t do that”?

What was that?

Where did Meat Loaf draw the line? (Did he draw the line at squirting ketchup on Meatloaf? Mustard?)

Let’s pivot to an insurance claim context:

For a claims person, “that” might mean:

Will not issue a check in excess of my settlement authority.

Will not bid against myself in settlement negotiations.

Will not deny coverage without RTFP – reading the freakin’ policy!

Will not send a reservation of rights letter that essentially cuts and pastes the whole policy into the body of the letter.

Will not assume that a reservation of rights letter is a “one and done” communiqué and fail to promptly inform the policyholder of the insurer’s ultimate coverage stance, after investigating the potential coverage issues.

Will not choose defense counsel based un a law firm’s “brand name,” based on the lowest hourly rate, based on who has the most lavish December holiday party or based on who is the boss’ golfing buddy.

Will not let a case go into default by overlooking a lawsuit’s Answer date.

Will not handle a claim in a any state without first reviewing that state’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices regulations.

Will not fail to respond promptly to any time-limit settlement demand from a policyholder, claimant, attorney or excess carrier.

Will not fail to continually ask defense counsel, “Based on all the factors we know so far, what’s your assessment of this case’s compromise settlement value?”

Will not fail to diary key milestone dates on a claim file, such as trial dates, response deadlines to demands, etc. (Interlude: “Do not let your claim files languish or your meat loaf…”)

Will not assume that my employer will give me a job for perpetuity or will “take care of me,” regardless of my supervisor’s assurances.

Will not fail to keep my resume updated regularly.

Will not wait until notice of an imminent layoff or termination before networking with industry colleagues. (The best time to fix your roof is when the sun is shining!)

Will not accept reassignment of 279 Covid-related business interruption claims because the Company is too cheap to replace the last adjuster who was handling them and who just walked off the job.

Will not fail to regularly invest in my own claim skills and knowledge and will not rest on my laurels, thinking I’ve got it all figured out because I’ve been in the business for “X” number of years.

Will not assume that technology tools eliminate the need for human interaction or empathy in the claims process.

Whether or not claim professionals find true love — or a blank Proof of Loss — by the dim illumination of the dashboard lights, or whether we approach each claim like a bat out of hell, we all have our professional lines in the sand.

If nothing else, Meat Loaf reminds us of that.

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