– June 10, 2013
Guess What – Good Management And Organizations Are Like a Smoothly Run Kindergarten
Everything we know in life started back in kindergarten. Kindergarten is where we learned to socialize in groups, lived by rules, played well with others, managed time, took turns asking questions and listened to authority. Success and creativity were rewarded and failures became further learning experiences. The more I thought about this recently the more I realized that kindergarten is a perfect example of a well-functioning organization and management.
We can lean a lot by going back to kindergarten. Bear with me and let’s take a look how this would apply in a claims department.
Relating to others
As in kindergarten, managing claim files effectively requires the ability to socialize well with others both inside and outside the organization. The good claim professional knows how to get along with his or her peers and relates well to claimants who are facing some kind painful loss. In addition, to be a successful claims professional it is important to be able to work well in teams and share and learn from the group. All quintessential lessons learned in kindergarten.
Time management is a key element in handling claims. Like kindergarten, everything needs to be done at a specific time. With large caseloads and ever increasing demands, the effective claims professional manages their time very well using diary reminders and focusing on the tasks at hand. A well-structured day allows the claims professional to address file demands in a consistent and timely manner.
Controlled creative thinking
Kindergarten encourages a controlled environment with guidelines that still allows for the expression of creativity. Think finger painting. Finger painting allowed one to be wildly creative but still had to be done on the specific paper, in a specific area under certain rules. Best practices are frameworks that good claims handlers follow to ensure they are managing files in a timely and fair manner. Regardless of the claims guidelines or best practices however, creativity in thinking and managing files is essential in achieving some of the best results. Out of the box approaches to challenging claims issues are welcome and these creative approaches make for very successful operations (see Improve bottom-line outcomes on claims by thinking outside-the-box!).
Rewarding success and learning from mistakes
Kindergarten is about establishing the framework for children to succeed in primary school and ultimately in life. Successes are actively and openly rewarded and shared with the group. Conversely, failures and mistakes are not punished but rather used as learning experiences to encourage and promote improvement. Good claims managers work the same way and openly praise success and work with mistakes to make people better and foster improvement. It is important to have both. While this is business and there are certainly instances where continued failures must have consequences, regardless, working to correct mistakes often creates a more cohesive high performing organization.
Let’s be clear, Kindergarten Management is not saying employees are children and needed to be treated that way. That is not the message here. Kindergarten Management is going back to the basics and working to foster a fun but controlled working environment that encourages the overall development of not only the individual but the group as a whole.
What other lessons from the past would be good examples of how management?
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Posted in Best Practices.
Claim Files Are Evaluated Using A Form Of Root Cause Analysis So Why Not Do The Same When Evaluating The Department?
March 5, 2013
Posted in SPOT on Ops.
Similar to a claim file analysis, operational problems require an assessment as to what happened, how it happened, how could it have been prevented, who was at fault, what’s it going to cost to fix the claim and are there any lessons learned. For example, let’s say payments are being delayed resulting in fines being assessed against the department. If one looks at the fines as a claim one would want to determine what caused the fine? how did it happen? and how can it be corrected? An analysis of the “claim” needs to take place prior to making any decisions. Why not use these smae claim evaluation techniques to understand the operation? In our latest post we give a suggestion for doing just that.
3 Things Good Claims Professionals Won’t Do
January 24, 2013
Posted in Best Practices.
I have audited a lot of claim files over the years and one consistently good claims professionals manage their claim files following best practices. And when looking at these files there are certain patterns that develop. Good claims professionals don’t fail to document, assume things they don’t know and always stick to the basics. Our latest post gives three examples of things NOT to do to become a good claims professional.
How Would Albert Einstein Approach Claims
January 3, 2013
Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Ops.
Who knew Albert Einstein was a claims professional? OK maybe he did more important things in this world but some of his most memorable quotes could certainly apply to a claims organization. “Nothing happens until someone does something” as he has been quoted so make it happen and readt our latest post.
3 Ideas To Prepare For The Completely Unexpected: The “Sandy Contingency”
November 28, 2012
Posted in SPOT on Issues, SPOT on Ops.
Preparing for the unexpected is always the core of any disaster recovery plan. Regardless, the Sandy “Super Storm” created a series of events that few truly every contemplated. It was a scenario that strained many businesses and exposed a number of weaknesses in disaster recovery planning. Unlike prior events, Sandy left a wide are in surrounding a major metropolitan city without power, fuel and public transportation for long periods of time. It’s time to rethink plans that don’t take into account a Sandy Contingency. Tell us what type of planning you have done too and share those ideas with others looking to learn from this tragedy.
The 5 Core Leadership Traits Of A Well Managed Claim File
October 8, 2012
Posted in Best Practices.
Leadership is a topic that we tend to think about as it relates to an individual leading a group. In claims we are always faced with leaders that manage us and help, hopefully, to get the best out of us. But leadership does not mean that you have to have a group of people that follow. There are 5 core traits a good leaders show. In our latest post we connect those five traits to 5 traits a good claims file, when handled well, will show.
Claims Predictive Modeling: Using The Numbers To Improve Operations And A Change Worth Exploring
August 22, 2012
Posted in Claims Technology, SPOT on Issues.
Claims Predictive Modeling (CPM) is one of the big buzz words in the industry. After a few decades of improving claims technology systems and creating vast databases of claims information, CPM is an attempt to use that information more effectively. In our latest post we discuss CPM and what it means to make changes to adopt this new metric.
A Claims Tale Of Three Little Managers And Their Review Programs
June 20, 2012
Posted in Best Practices, Claims Auditing, Compliance, SPOT on Issues.
We have all head the story of the 3 little pigs but have you heard of the 3 claims managers? The Manager of Straw, the Manager of Sticks and the Manager of Bricks are all motivated to do the right thing but they go about it in very different ways. One had no program in place to review their operation, one had a basic process in place and one used a detailed program to review claims. Read on this story and see how problems occur and are managed differently.
Everybody Wants to Make Improvements In Claims But No One Actually Makes It Happen
June 15, 2012
Posted in Claims Technology, Commentary.
There is so much that needs to be done in the world of claims. Operations need fixing, technology needs improving and a futures need to be defined. For some reason however, we are all really good at talking about it and not so good about doing anything about it. The industry needs to take action. Claims departments need to think creatively and “out-of-the-box” if we are going to attract new talent to the industry. This also means acting and not just talking about acting.