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Promote Creative Thinking To Get The Most Out Of Your Claims Staff

So how do you train the next leaders in claims? How about challenging their creativity!

If you do not know about TED, I strongly recommend you take a look. To quote them directly:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

I recently watched the clip below from the TED archives and was so fascinated by the concepts I just had to relate them to claims.  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 found and rewarded?

I am a big proponent of new ways of looking at claims and trying to get people to think out of the box (see Change Hats With Someone And Free Your Mind To Make Your Claims Operation Better and Is your claims department becoming a bus company?). With increases in technology, more claims specialization and the constant pressures on staffing, the ability to freely think, analyze and resolve claims creatively is being challenged.

Sir Ken Robinson is considered a “Creativity Expert” and led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. He has most recently published a book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, which is a deep look at human creativity and education.

Good workers but not creative thinkers

Take a look at the video below with Sir Ken. He is truly and a dynamic speaker and the will engage you quickly.  In this clip, Sir Ken 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?

Two suggestions to help promote creativity

So how do you promote creativity? How do you get the claims staff to try new ideas? It is difficult to encourage creativity when claims have to be regimented and everything is being monitored and standardized. Regardless, there are ways to attack the creative mind to open up new ways to manage claims.

  1. Challenge staff to be more creative when looking at problems. When facing a difficult situation try and put together an old fashioned brain-storming session to allow free flowing ideas no matter how crazy. The idea here is to promote creativity and come up with new ways to solve problems.
  2. Another way to try and teach creativity is to tell war stories. Have a war story lunch and see who has resolved a claim in the most creative way. I am sure you will be surprised at how creative people are and retelling those stories will help stir the imaginations of others.

How do you think creativity plays a role in claims? What have you done to encourage free thinking?

Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

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2 Responses

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  1. Guy Hoffman says

    Along these same lines, just finished a great book called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, the founder & CEO of While the book has nothing to do with insurance or claims handling for that matter it is all about customer service and customer experience. My biggest take-away is that customer excellence is less about process and more about culture than anything. Happy, well-trained, encouraged, and supported team members deliver exceptional results. The insurance industry and all businesses for that matter can learn a lot from this book and the author’s philosophy. I know that I did.

  2. Leah says

    We are called to be open minded in so many areas these days but not in our jobs. Expectations are set and no one really wants to listen to any “New” ideas. It seems to be too much trouble and someone may have to change something if the idea is a good one. Plus someone other than the guy at the top may receive some credit for a job well done. The one with the highest education at the top does not always favor this. Those in more powerful positions feel they know best and not the person actually doing the job. I think businesses fail to see each individual working for them, as an individual, a person, not a number on a payroll. Bosses need to humble themselves, become more human, more “in touch” with those working within the company. This means getting to know who works for you. We tend to listen to ideas from people we know……

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