– February 14, 2011
I have often advocated here that business ideas can come from outside the insurance industry and adopted by claims very easily. It’s a matter of taking the time to look at what is out there. As we all know, claims folks have little time to look and that is where I hope the Claims SPOT can help. Sometimes claims organizations get so involved in the day-to-day that they have little time do the basics. Common sense practical business practices are easily forgotten when you just set up your 10th claim of the week and you have two other claims going to trial.
Donna Flagg, writing for the Huffington Post, recently posted an article, Five Things They Don’t Teach You in Business School. This wonderful list of common sense no no’s couldn’t be more applicable in claims organizations. I have followed Donna’s list below with comments on how they apply to our wonderful world of claims.
- Don’t yell at people. Flying off the handle does little to affect the other person(s) in anything other than a negative way, but instead, it makes you look crazy and unable to handle pressure.
- Don’t lie in the presence of others. They will figure out that you either do not tell the truth, or selectively tell the truth when it suits you and they will doubt your authenticity as a result. You will end up with people who don’t take you seriously and keep you at arm’s length because you make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
- Don’t tell someone something “in confidence” that you swore to someone else you would keep under wraps. All it does is show firsthand that you can’t be trusted with confidential information, which is definitely not a promotable quality.
- Don’t be negative and lower yourself to childish, irrelevant, gossipy games. Rise above it and stay focused on the business, not the bulls**t.
- Don’t ignore people who need a response. It’s like playing a game of catch; if you don’t throw the ball back to the person who threw it, everyone just stands around waiting. Not a good business model. Not a good reputation builder. Not a good choice.
TCS: Claims can be a pressure packed world, and maintaining control is critical to success. Keeping your cool in a negotiation, or even when the paper work just keeps piling up, will help you achieve the best results. If you feel yourself loosing a little control, get up and take a walk or grab a drink of water. Diffuse the issue before it becomes an issue and reflect poorly on you.
TCS: Lying in claims is the surest way to an early exit in this industry. The claims department is responsible for paying out significant amounts of company assets and the utmost integrity and honesty is an absolute. Mistakes happen so come clean and don’t try and cover it up or bend the truth.
TCS: This is especially true in claims when much of the information contained in a claim file is provided in confidence. It may seem innocent to discuss the details of someone’s claim, but that information is confidential and must be maintained as private.
Ask yourself, if it was your claim and it involved personal information about your life, would you want it disclosed to others not involved in handling that matter?
TCS: I hate to say this, but I have seen this so often in claims. Most claims offices have staff seated in cubicles and tight spaces. It’s very easy to know what is going on in the cube next to you and loose focus on what is truly important.
As a manager I had a claims person come up to me and complain that “so and so” leaves the office early. I informed her that the person actually gets to the office earlier, stays focused on her work only, and was extremely productive. The one complaining, as is usually the case, was one of the least productive professionals in the office. Had she spent as much time worrying about getting her own work done instead of worrying about other then she might have excelled. Trust me, your managers know who plays the games and who does the work.
We all know this person so don’t become one.
TCS: One of the biggest customer complaints against claims departments is failing to timely respond to inquiries. I have also heard this from attorney’s who complain that they can never get the claims professional to call them back. I know I hate it when I am waiting on a response, which is one of the most common things I have to deal with as a consultant. For someone trying to grow a business it is tough enough, in claims it is almost always going to result in higher costs.
Counsel looking to make decisions, customers who feel neglected, or a claimant who decides to hire an attorney because they can’t get a call back are all real examples where costs will increase because of a failure to respond. The bottom line is make time to call people back within 24 hours of a call. It’s sometimes a hard goal to achieve, but will save you aggravation, money and time in the long run.
There are plenty more business basics where these came from, but I liked this list.
Common sense is sometimes hard to achieve when the pressures of mounting claim files take over your working life. Like in sports, focusing on the fundamentals will always be a good path to success.