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2 Preventative Steps To Help Avoid Claims Crisis Before They Become Emergencies

Want To Save Some Real Money? Don’t Have An Emergency Room Mentality In Claims

Seth Godin in his wonderful blog recently wrote about Emergency room doctors in organizations. These are the people that are really good at, and are rewarded, for stopping bleeding. Seth is questioning where is all the strategic thinking to prevent those emergencies in the first place?  In claims we tend to hire and support that emergency room doctor mindset. As Seth states about these doctors, ”

It’s a mindset, not just a job.

You can pitch them as hard as you like about having them work to persuade their patients to give up smoking (after all, it saves lives in the long run), but I think you’ll find that they’re a lot more interested in stopping the bleeding.

Claims departments seem to be more interested in stopping bleeding than preventing it in the first place.  We hire those specialists and reward those that can deal with the crisis as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately we in claims don’t spend enough time trying to prevent the causes of the crises. Again, as Seth writes:

We need emergency room doctors, no doubt. I just wonder if we have too many of them in your organization. If all we do is reward fast first aid in what people do at work, is it any wonder we don’t have enough attention to the strategy and choices that would eliminate the need for all that running around in the first place?

So what can be done? How does one change the mindset?  Well I will tell you so keep reading…

Prevention Is Not That Difficult If You Try

Prevention does require a base of knowledge and to “know how prevalent the emergency room culture is” within your organization.  There are two simple ways to have your organization stay ahead of those emergencies and that is conducting an operational assessment and to develop an active internal review program.

1. Operational assessment:  Take stock at where your organization is.  When mired in the emergency room mentality it is easy to loose perspective.  The operation seems to be getting along so what could possibly be improved. Or my favorite statement of “we’ve always done it that way and there is no time to change.” Is that really how you want your department to function?

Organizations change. Technology changes. Businesses are evolving.  If you don’t assess your operation from time to time and look for possible areas to improve you are destined to continue the emergency room approach. At the very least, take a look at those repetitive tasks such as bill payment and taking in new losses to see if there there are opportunities to improve.  Explore the technology offerings in the industry and see what if anything is available to enhance the ability of claims professionals to do what they are supposed to do – analyze files, set reserves, move cases to resolution and doing it all over again.

2. Internal Review Program: An active audit program to review for best practices is one of the best tools available to learn about your organization and ensure claims departments don’t get mired in the that emergency room approach to management. A regular program sets out the expectations for a review and creates comparative benchmarks to measure for future reviews. This of course is enhanced when the process is clearly defined and the review is consistently executed. Conducting regular reviews is a sure way to ensure emergencies don’t happen.

You Are Not Alone – Help Is Available

At Lanzko we work with clients to perform these operational assessments. I strongly believe that having someone that is detached from your organization is the best way to identify issues that may be ripe for improvement.Sometimes employees are too close to a problem inside an organization to identify it. Bringing Lanzko in can also help move change along. Let’s face it. No one likes change, especially Corporate America. But sometimes change is needed, and we can help “get the ball rolling.”

From an audit and internal review perspective, Lanzko’s The Audit Portal is a tool designed to help manage those internal reviews, create consistency and create benchmarks to become a more strategic organization. With a tool in place, Audit data is not just lost to a spreadsheet or attached as an appendix to a report. There is great information being lost in the traditional audit. We change that and provide meaningful, actionable information to improve operations.


Posted in Best Practices, Commentary.

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Insanity: Claim’s Departments Can’t Expect Different Results Without Changing Their Organizations May 9, 2012

Posted in Commentary, My SPOT.

Maybe I care too much about our industry or am just frustrated by the lack of attention to quality claims handling, but this is annoying. Why should claims make up half of the most frequent market conduct issues for the Property & Casualty industry as listed by Wolters Kluwer for the 5th straight year? As part of their review they track and analyze the results from state market conduct examinations. As with their prior studies, claims issues continue to dominate the list of state concerns. In my latest post I analyze the last 5 years of the Wolters study and find an upsetting trend – nothing is changing. This is a challenge to claims organizations to improve! Check it out.

What Would Steve Jobs Do In A Claims Organization? March 15, 2012

Posted in Best Practices, Claims Technology, SPOT on Ops.

So what would Steve Jobs say about our claims industry? Well, having heard about his reputation I think I will leave what he would say out of this post. Regardless, I think Mr. Jobs would see an industry with tremendous opportunities to innovate and improve the way they deliver and manage claims services. In our most recent post, we explore a claims world in as it may be in the world of a master of product design and marketing.

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Negotiation Strategy: Going to the Balcony February 13, 2012

Posted in Mediation & Settlement, Negotiation, SPOT on Legal.

Sometimes taking a break from the heat of negotiations is a good way to jump start the process. In our latest post from contributor Nancy Hudgins, The Claims SPOT explores ways to cool those emotions in a heated claims negotiation. Take a look and tell us how you would react?

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Getting More in Your Negotiations January 24, 2012

Posted in Book Review, Mediation & Settlement, Negotiation, SPOT on Legal.

Take a look at Contributor, Nancy Hudgins review of the Stuart Diamond book on negotiation. We can always use ideas on how to improve negotiations and these look like some good ones.

Why Don’t Claims Organizations Track Claims Through The Process The Way UPS Tracks A Package? December 28, 2011

Posted in Bad Faith, Best Practices, Claims Technology, Commentary, SPOT on Costs, SPOT on Ops.

Today as a customer you can track your packages from the moment they leave the store to the second they arrive at your door. During that time you can see where they are in the process. Truly amazing. Why can’t claims organizations do the same thing? How much better would a claim be if we could track it through the system in the same way UPS can track a package. Something to think about when reading the latest from theClaimsSPOT.

2 Problems To Prevent Before They Get Out Of Control: The Lily Pads Revisited December 7, 2011

Posted in Best Practices.

Waiting to the last minute can be a costly venture. In out latest post we tell the story of the farmer who waited to clear those innocent lily pads from his pond. He kept going on to what he thought were more important things. Unfortunately he waited to long and the lily pads took over the pond and cost him a lot more to clear. We all have lily pads we don’t want to clear from our desks. It’s time to look for them and clear them off before they strangle the life out of your pond….I know a little poetic but read on and you will get the idea.

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Want To Really Save Money In Mediation? Here’s The Secret: Practice Your Negotiations November 17, 2011

Posted in Mediation & Settlement, Negotiation, SPOT on Issues.

Like most things in life, the more you practice the better you will get at it. Try and practice negotiations wherever you are and you will become a better claims negotiator. Take a look at our latest post from Nancy Hudgins on the art of practicing your negotiations.

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2 Company Types And Their Approach To Claim Audits: The Have To’s And The Wants To’s  November 9, 2011

Posted in Best Practices, Claims Auditing.

Companies can choose to audit because they have to or choose to audit because they want to. Companies that want to audit are destined to provide better customer service, happier employees, and improved results. Our latest post asks the question: Which company are you?

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Military Service, Leadership & Claims: A Conversation With CNA’s George Fay, Executive Vice President, Worldwide P&C Claims October 20, 2011

Posted in George Fay (EVP Worldwide P&C Claims- CNA), The Inside SPOT.

As part of our continued series, and in conjunction with Claims Advisor magazine, we add to our Inside SPOT interviews of leaders in the claims industry. These articles have been previously printed in Claims Advisor as part of their Executive Concerns. George Fay, Executive VP of P&C Claims for CNA. Mr. Fay has a very interesting background as a Military Investigator. How he brought that to the claims world makes for yet another example of how diverse our industry is. Please enjoy and comment on this interesting article.

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