April 13, 2021

New “Claims Cookbook” a Model of Good Taste and Kernels of Adjusting Insight

The Claims Cookbook: A Culinary Guide to Job Satisfaction by Carl Van and Laura Wimsatt.  2012, The International Insurance Institute, 126 pp., $34.95 (paperback).

“An army travels on its stomach,” according to Napoleon.  That may also be true of claim professionals.  Handling all those fire losses and auto collisions burns some serious energy.  Adjusters need to refuel and recharge.  Adding the proper food is necessary.  Adding tasty food is a life pleasure.  With the plethora of different diets now available, claims people wonder where to go for a good meal.

Look no longer!  A tasty resource is now here in the form of The Claims Cookbook, co-authored by Carl Van and Laura Wimsatt.

Adjusters and other claim professionals are often admonished to avoid a cookbook approach to claims. By this, it is meant that savvy claims people adapt their investigative and negotiating approaches to the unique circumstances of each individual claim. It recognizes that — like snowflakes — no two claims are the same. While templates and checklists are useful, they must be adapted to the exigencies of an individual claim.

However, sometimes cookbooks are good. We have the best blend of claim comestibles presented by The Claims Cookbook. You don’t have to be a claims adjuster to find this book delicious, but if you have an interest in either claims adjusting, cooking or eating, you will enjoy this book.

Carl Van is the founder of the International Insurance Institute and is an innovator in claims education. His training sessions, books, articles and resources for many different aspects of claims are well known and innovative. I used to think I was a decent presenter … until I saw Carl Van in action.  Like all great performers, he makes it look effortless.

Laura Wimsatt is the assistant director, script consultant and presenter in various online claim courses developed by Carl Van’s  organization. Together, they have collaborated to produce a handy cookbook packed full of delicious recipes and mouth-watering pictures. In so doing, Van and Wimsatt  have woven pithy but insightful claim commentary with each puckishly named recipe. For example, you can consider the ingredients for “So Sue Me Sushi” or for “Chicken MRI.”   You can also wash it down with a dose of “Loss of Use Margarita.” The recipe titles are campy but fun.

Sprinkled throughout the Claims Cookbook are cameo pictures of some celebrity chefs.  The book also has a Cajun flavor — not a criticism mind you — which makes sense given Van and Wimsatt’s location near Big Easy country.

I must confess that I am addicted to The Food Network. The Barefoot Contessa.  Claire Robinson.  Aida Mollenkamp.  Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  I’m right there with you!  It’s not that I’m necessarily any kind of skilled cook, but I do commandeer the backyard grill and enjoy eating. Perhaps it’s a sign of getting older that more and more of one’s fantasies involve food as opposed to, well, um, other topics. Watching “The Best Sandwich in America” or “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” is a guilty pleasure that I call “food porn.”

Inspired by this cookbook, then, consider hosting your team for a claims-oriented  multi-course dinner, with recipes from this book.  You could begin with Risk Bisque as a starter.  For a hearty, stick-to-your ribs entrée, offer Casualty Casserole.  For dessert, the claims staff can top off the meal with Delay Soufflé.  (The latter must be ordered months in advance — just put it on diary.)

No meal would be complete without a libation.  (Since we are talking claims people here, there must be alcohol content.)  In that case, whip up a batch of DUI Daiquiris (but appoint a teetotaler as the Designated Driver).

Move over Bobby Flay! You have new competition, at least in the claims space, in the form of Carl Van and Lisa Wimsatt. For delicious recipes, mouthwatering pictures and nuggets of claim insight, I highly recommend that you get your copy of The Claims Cookbook!



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