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5 Things Claims Handlers DON’T NEED In A Report From Counsel

Outside Looking In Part 1 – Claims professionals are pretty busy. Sometimes less is more!

Time is of the essence.  Isn’t it always? Claims handlers have the near impossible task of assimilating a large volume of information to make an accurate assessment of a claim.  And they have to do it on a daily basis for a pending file list much larger than most of the defense counsel they work with.
Of course every bit of information in litigation is important.  You’ll never hear a lawyer say “let’s just leave that out.”  But at some point, the case has to boiled down into a report or summary.

This article looks at the top five things defense counsel include in reports that are not essential.  To be fair, my next post will examine the top five things that are essential to those reports.  (Of course, I’m sticking my neck out here on some level.  As soon as something is labeled as “non-essential”, it will become the key piece of information upon which a claim turns.  Good judgment is always the rule at the end of the day).

  1. Repeating Your Last Report – No one wants to read the same thing they read 30, 60 or 90 days ago.  Each report should have 75% new information.  The remaining 25% should be background from the case as a whole that provides context to the new information.
  2. Duplicative information in the Same Report – No need to repeat the same information multiple times in a report. If you don’t need to repeat it from a previous report, don’t repeat it several times in the same report.  A brief overview or summary in the beginning is o.k. but generally try not repeat yourself.  Also, you should not repeat yourself.
  3. Information About You – Claims handlers don’t need to know your trial history or bullet points from a curriculum vitae.  However, if you have experience with a particular judge or plaintiff’s counsel, that is valuable information.
  4. Billing Tasks – An explanation of your billing or why a particular task took a certain amount of time is outside the scope of a litigation report.  Follow the billing guidelines and get approval where required.  But leave it out of the report.
  5. Too Much Detail – This is difficult because every claim handler wants something a little different.  Most often, defense counsel are criticized for giving too much (e.g. the 40 page summary of the 80 page deposition transcript doesn’t do much good).  Everyone has a different workload depending on the type and complexity of claims.  The key here is to communicate about the level of detail that is wanted.

What other things do claims handlers not need in their reports?

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  1. Suzanne Ganier says

    Great piece Jim! Whenever I saw information like this in a report, I knew I was getting over-billed for fluff.

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