April 14, 2021

What My Trash Company Taught me About Claim Service….

After only two months in our new house, my wife and I switched our trash pickup service. We were not displeased with the incumbent service. They did not fail to pickup. They did not spill trash in our driveway. But one day I got a card in the mail from a competing trash service that offered the same kind of trash service for five dollars a month less.

Intrigued, I called their number. They explained that the service was five dollars a month less than the incumbent competitor. In addition, the first month would be free as a new customer. They had me sold pretty much at that point. Trash service is a commodity, in my view. Five dollars a month is not a huge amount, but over a year that’s $60.

But wait, there’s more. The guy on the other end of the line explained how his toter bins were larger. In addition, while my current trash service will only take two or three bags of yard waste, the new service would take 5 to 10 bags of yard waste.

But wait, there’s more. He explained that if we set up online payment of our bills, we would get another two dollars per month knocked off the price. In addition, if we referred a friend or neighbor, there would be a further discount.

Frankly, I was astounded at the number of ways the trash service found to differentiate itself from its competition. To paraphrase a line from the movie Jerry McGuire, “You had me at `Hello’.”  They had me sold long before, and the additional features were simply “cherries on top.”

What in the world does this have to do with delivering claims service?


Many people feel that claims service is a commodity. Therefore, risk managers and other buyers of claims services tend to shop around for the lowest quote. This is frustrating for insurance companies and for third-party claims administrators. The challenge is to try to find ways to add value, to render your service less of a commodity. Everybody handling claims espouses the same features.

“We Are Prompt!”

“We Are Knowledgeable!”

“We Are Customer-Focused!”

Blah, blah, blah.

Challenge yourself, your company and your Claims Department with regard to what “extras” you can add to the mix. Extras in addition to the bread-and-butter claims handling. You have to do that well. That’s simply the price of admission, though. It may be today just enough to get your foot into the door.   You also have to be priced competitively. That does not necessarily mean the lowest cost operator.

What can you offer in addition to claims services?

*  Client education seminars and tutorials?

*  Podcasts or instructional videos for clients on how to report claims and how to boost safety?

*  Free checklists or other downloadable resources from your website on how to avoid claims, boost safety or work harmoniously with your claims adjuster?

*  Opening doors and making connections for new business opportunities for your clients

*  Monitoring the news and the dockets and local courts to provide a distant early warning system of incipient litigation at an early stage

While it is trite to say, “Think outside the box,” the advice may apply here.

If you want to differentiate yourself as the lowest cost claim operator, suit yourself. Claims service is not trash service, but if a trash service can differentiate itself in multiple ways, surely claims services have the same ability.



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