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Category Archives: SPOT on Issues

  1. Claim Reviews Empower Better Decisions By Putting Critical Information In Hand March 30, 2011

    Posted in Best Practices, Claims Auditing, Compliance, Due Diligence, SPOT on Ops.

    Insurance is as much about having the right information at the right time as anything. Whether it’s an underwriting choice to price a risk correctly or a claim decision as to when to a play a claim, having the best data available can make or break an organization. Despite this fact, many organizations fail to take advantage of tools and rights available to them prior to making critical business decisions. Claim reviews are empowering tools to help make better decisions. Staying ahead of the competition and managing risk is a key component of any any successful organization. The claims review allow decision makers to have the most available data to make better decisions. In this weeks post we discuss 8 reason when they should be done and speak to going beyond the claim files to fully understand the substance behind the numbers.

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  2. 5 Things To Avoid When Negotiating In Business and Claims March 2, 2011

    Posted in Negotiation, SPOT on Issues.

    Let’s face it, claims is as much about negotiating as anything. It is a significant part of our jobs as claims professionals, yet little real time is spent honing those skills. In coming across an article on 5 things you should never say while negotiating, we comment on how these techniques can be used in claims negotiations. Take a look, and tell us your techniques.

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  3. Claims And A Half Plate Of Vegetables – Teachings From The New Dietary Guidelines February 3, 2011

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.

    Recently the government changed the way the public should look at nutrition through simplified messages like “eat less.” Simplicity and looking at the obvious in an easy to understand way is a tool that would go a long way to helping the claims professionals be better at what they do. Being understandable and actionable can only be a good thing in claims. In our latest post, we discuss how trying to use visual cues when handling a claim or looking at the claims process can benefit today’s professionals. We are a visual society – time to shift some of those visual cues to claims.

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  4. 5 Ways To Use Defense Counsel To Lower Claims Expenses And Get Better Results January 5, 2011

    Posted in Best Practices, Litigation Management, SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.

    The management of litigation is both an art and a science. The issue that every company must face is how to best spend dollars on defense costs to minimize the amount paid in indemnity. In addressing this, lots of questions come to mind. Does the size of the claim matter when deciding how much to spend on defense costs? Does a higher rate buy a better defense? Do flat rates buy a better defense for certain claims? What is the effect of a looming trial date on the claimant’s view of case value? And of course every company is different and has its own philosophy.

    Defense Counsel should be a help, not a hindrance, to producing improved results and helping to lower indemnity payouts. Focusing on these 5 issues will go a long way to achieving better results.

    Read the latest from our newest contributor, James Pattillo, Partner in the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Norman, Wood, Kendrick & Turner.

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  5. Looking Back On 2010 And Forward To 2011 In The World Of Claims December 31, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, Claims Technology, Commentary, My SPOT, SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.

    The year began with continued economic concerns, a poor job market and no recovery in sight. It has come to a close with a booming stock market, improved job numbers and a better outlook for 2011. Looking back on the year in claims and looking ahead to the future of claims is always a fun exercise this time of year so here we go! The Claims SPOT adds to the debate about the past and the future.

    Thanks for reading and have a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year!

    2 comments
  6. Claims And The Investigative Journalist And Learning From All The President’s Men November 9, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Investigating a claim is like being an investigative journalist. Using the story of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and All the President’s Men, see how there is a relationship between investigative reporting and claims. In today’s post we also remind claim professionals how technology has truly made certain aspects of claims bette. Regardless, it is important not to forget what is most important in claims – the knowledge and skill of the claims professional’s ability to analyze fact and come to a reasoned and supported conclusion.

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  7. 3 Perspectives On The Use Of Social Media In The Claims Investigation Process October 25, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Social medial sites like LinkedIn, Foresquare and Facebook are becoming a regular common experience in today’s world. With increased use is information that regular people put online that is available for review and scrutiny. In today’s post we discuss the use of these sites in the investigation of claims from the perspectives of attorneys, claims professionals and investigators. Summarizing a recent discussion on the Insurance Professionals group of linkedIn, it provides and interesting perspective on how these sites are very much being used in the claims process today.

    2 comments
  8. There Is No Such Thing As A Pro Forma Signature On A Document – If You Sign It You Own It October 6, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, Compliance, SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.

    Doing things for the sake of doing things can have significant adverse consequences for an organization. It is important to realize that one day you may have to answer for every action you take on a claim file. The concept of how doing a pro forma task can come back to bite you is being highlighted as a yet another fallout of the mortgage crisis. Tens of thousands of foreclosures are being halted because of a process in place where an individual just signed hundreds of documents without ensuring the information contained on the documents were correct.

    Clearly, doing something for the sake of doing something can really have negative consequences for the organization. In our latest post we offer questions to ask when signing documents. Controls are important, however, if they are not adding value they should be reviewed.

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  9. What are your towing and transport processes costing you? September 14, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, Claims Technology, Customer Service, SPOT on Costs, SPOT on Issues.

    Claims organizations have long recognize the power of vendor networks. Direct Repair Programs are an easy example. New technology and new providers allow those same benefits to be applied to vehicle transport management, where a primary goal is to reduce vehicle storage costs. In fact vehicle storage costs can be a major component when evaluating the overall costs of non-drivable vehicles. This article highlights what to look for in evaluating your current process and how you can hone in with almost pin-point accuracy on this previously less-managed area of cost expenditure.

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  10. Why Extending More Claims Authority Means Extending More Responsibility September 10, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Extending additional authority to a number of claim handlers can have a dramatic affect on the department’s total incurred. Make sure claim handlers understand the impact, both good and bad, to the company. Deciding when, and how much authority to extend will always depend on the line of business, and experience of the claims professional. Giving more authority also means extending more responsibility to the junior claims professional to make greater financial decisions for the company.

    In today’s post we discuss the authority-responsibility correlation and the importance of ensuring claims authority is extended only when responsibilities associated with that authority are understood.

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  11. 3 Ways To Help Defense Counsel Help You Make Claims Management More Efficient September 3, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, Litigation Management, SPOT on Ops.

    We all talk about collaboration with counsel as a means to get better results at a lower costs. But getting what you want is not so easy. How about trying to get what you truly need to get your job done. In our latest post, we discuss three suggestions for helping counsel help you get better results. No attorney is going to say that they don’t want to make a claims professional’s job easier, so help them to help you. Start by telling them what you do, ask for what you want, and then make sure they do it. Take a look at the latest – from the Claims SPOT.

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  12. AMA Study Finds Almost 1 Malpractice Claim Is Filed For Every Physician – Not Really Shocking August 23, 2010

    Posted in Medical Malpractice, SPOT on Issues.

    A study from the American Medical Association (AMA) reports that an average of 95 medical liability claims are filed for every 100 physicians, almost one per physician. The AMA study looked at 42 specialties and was from a sample size of over 5,800 physicians. The number of medical liability claims is not an indication of the frequency of medical error, as the physician prevails 90 percent of the time in cases that go to trial. While 65 percent of claims are dropped or dismissed, they are not cost-free.

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  13. Promote Creative Thinking To Get The Most Out Of Your Claims Staff August 16, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Good workers are sometimes all that claims departments look for and, given the nature of claims these days, it is not a bad thing. There is so much to do and so little time to do it and good workers, however you define them, are great to have. But how often are creative thinkers looked for? In a video lecture from, Sir Ken Robinson, he asks why don’t we get the best out of people? He argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Do you recognize that employee in your organization? How should we promote creative thinking in the claims world – read more in today’s post at the Claims SPOT.

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  14. What Paul Revere Can Teach Claims Professionals About The Benefits Of Building A Strong Professional Network August 12, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Is professional networking (so-called social networking) relevant for claims professionals? Does it make them more effective, help them to identify resources they need to do their job better, find the right attorney, be creative, identify emerging technologies, spark their imagination, and set industry trends? Or are they a waste of time, an invasion of privacy, or just not part of your world?

    To look at that, this article examines the effectiveness of Paul Revere and the analytical work done in several publications, including the Harvard Business Review, Tipping Point and Connected. It examines the potential of social and professional networks, what makes them successful and effective, and the applicability of technology platforms liked LinkedIn to the claims management profession.

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  15. 3 Suggestions To Beat The Summer Slow Down In Claims (If You Do Slow Down) August 3, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    It’s summer time and the living is easy!

    Take advantage of the summer slow down and make changes, clean things up and improve your operation. In the latest post from the Claims SPOT see three suggestions for ways to use your summer effectively. One for the manager, one for the claims handler and one for the claims executive, suggestions to use the slow down to improve your operation. Take a look and suggest others – we would love to hear from you.

    2 comments
  16. Why Can’t We All Get Along? Making The Agent A Partner In The Claims Process July 27, 2010

    Posted in Customer Service, SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.

    Creating a strategic advantage through improved agent carrier relations

    The relationship between claim adjusters and agents can be an adversarial one. Each side often finds itself correcting issues created by the other side. Agents may set the wrong coverage expectation for a customer, leaving the adjuster to deliver the bad news. Adjusters may get overloaded and not return phone calls in a timely manner, resulting in a complaint to the agent’s office. In the worst case scenario, adjusters and agents may badmouth each other to customers, putting customers in the middle. Clearly, agencies have a role to play in the claim process. Enabling agents and their staff to perform their role efficiently with empathy and professionalism can benefit customers, agents, and the claims department. Read more this week from Melissa Loew.

    2 comments
  17. Encounters of the Best Kind Can Create The Strongest Claims Organizations July 20, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, Customer Service, SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.

    Companies cannot define their core “brand” through brute marketing and advertising. Rather, customers define what that brand is in their individual interactions with the company. Those interactions can either be transactions or encounters. Encounters make the relationship stronger while transactions result in a worse relationship or one that stays the same. This is no different in the claims professional’s world. How can claims professionals create encounters, and avoid transactions, in their interactions with their customers?

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  18. In Claims Don’t Let The Process “Thing” Get In The Way Of Doing The “Right” Thing July 19, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Making a check in the process won’t ensure the matter is done right. I have written, and am a big proponent of, the importance of good process as a way to ensure good results. Putting a proper process in place is a road-map to help move claims to a prompt fair resolution. Nonetheless, doing and focusing on the process without making sure the outcome is sound is doing things right without doing the right thing. It’s so easy in claims to focus on the process and not use the process as a means to the end

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  19. The Importance Of The Pre Bind Claims Review In The Reinsurance Context June 29, 2010

    Posted in Claims Auditing, Due Diligence, SPOT on Ops.

    Reinsurance companies faced with a new submission often review loss runs and other financial data to determine the effectiveness of an account. However, numbers only tell half the story and in order to get a complete picture of a cedent’s submission, it is important to have an understanding of the claims department. What is the company’s reserve philosophy? What kind of systems do they have in place? How are claims staff measured? Conducting a comprehensive pre-bind review is an important step to help minimize the risk.

    In this post, the Claims SPOT explores the importance of the Pre-Bind review in the Reinsurance context.

    2 comments
  20. Social Media And Claims Investigation: Do You Know About Foursquare? June 28, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Undoubtedly, you’ve read plenty of articles or have been to numerous presentations regarding the use of social media to investigate claimants. At this point, the novelty of Facebook and MySpace has worn off. The same can be said about Twitter. Everyone knows at this point to take a look at those platforms when searching a claimant’s background. Enough said. However, seemingly with every new day comes a new social media application. One relatively new application that you should also take a look at during your claims investigation is Foursquare.

    Learn more from out latest contributor, Christian Stegmaier, JD and look for more articles from Christian in the weeks to come.

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  21. 6 Steps To Reduce Expenses For Medical Experts As Suggested By The Expert June 17, 2010

    Posted in Medical Malpractice, SPOT on Costs, SPOT on Issues.

    The traditional method for preparing an expert is to send them the entire record and let them review for possible issues. Dr. Philip Lanzkowsky, a medical expert providing opinions and testimony on cases for both plaintiff’s and the defense, raises some practical questions and provides a series of suggestions as to how those expert costs can be reduced.

    Read more in this interesting post of expense reduction of medical expert costs as suggested by the expert.

    2 comments
  22. How To Understand Capturing Lost Hotel Profits Due To The Gulf Oil Spill June 16, 2010

    Posted in SPOT on Issues.

    Knowing how to capture lost profits is critical when seeking reimbursement from the responsible party With uncertainty and concern surrounding the impact of the Gulf oil spill to the coastline from Florida to Texas, many companies are asking what needs to be done to quantify and document lost income for future claims.  Many businesses are […]

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  23. The Need For Claim Auditing In Catastrophe Loss Situations Such As The Gulf Tragedy June 15, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, Claims Auditing, Rick Woollams (Chartis Chief Claims Officer), SPOT on Issues.

    The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon and the aftermath seem to be a topic of constant conversation. From an insurance perspective there is a large amount of criticism being brought to bear on the claims process. The massive administrative organization that has been established to handle what are already tens of thousands of claims is an undertaking that could be fraught with problems. In today’s post from The Claims SPOT we discuss how auditing in the Catastrophe situation is an important part of the process to ensure claims are paid quickly and appropriately while at the same time preventing fraud.

    Take a look and join the conversation.

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  24. Change Hats With Someone And Free Your Mind To Make Your Claims Operation Better June 9, 2010

    Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

    Don’t limit what you can imagine by what you know – look to others to help improve your claims department.

    In Trading Places: A Smart Way to Change Your Mind, Harvard Business Review contributor, Bill Taylor discusses the “power of a whole new mindset about innovation.” The article goes into what happened when two CEO’s switched companies for a day and the learning that came from the new perspectives they had. The Claims SPOT discusses how having claims adjusters switch roles with different disciplines can be a new way to expand their skills. Having managers sit with other business divisions, such as underwriting or actuarial, can be a great way to get a better understanding of the entire insurance process outside of claims. And lastly, looking outside of claims and insurance altogether to change hats and free your mind to new ways to make your operation better.

    2 comments
  25. The Claims Writing Workshop: Write How You Speak! Just Leave Out The Color Commentary June 1, 2010

    Posted in Claims Writing Workshop, SPOT on Issues.

    From our new contributor Dr. Gary Blake, we learn about writing and claims. Dr. Blake is a Port Washington, NY-based writing consultant who presents claims writing webinars and seminars throughout the United States. In his first post on The Claims SPOT, Dr. Blake discusses writing the way you speak without the color commentary. As he states, “write using the model of speech’s simplicity, directness, and warmth. Just don’t mirror speech’s unplanned distraction and tendency to ramble. “

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