Insurance, Industry Blogs

Let’s Give Thanks to Those Who Feel Thankless

You can ask anyone that has ever handled a Claim and they will always respond in the same way.  There is at least one time, if not many, when they’ve felt stuck in a thankless job.

If we think about what an adjuster does at the very core of their job, we might find out why this is the case.  And more importantly what we can do as Claims leaders to better support our teams.

First things first, the first time an adjuster is speaking to a customer is after they’ve filed a Claim.  

That means something terrible has happened to that customer.  They’ve been in a car accident, there’s damage to their home, someone’s been hurt, something bad happened at their business.

No matter the scenario or insurance type, that person is having a bad day.  Quite possibly the worst day of their life.

Now let’s add a bit more stress on that customer.  They now have to “deal with insurance.”  A product they probably didn’t want to buy in the first place and they certainly never wanted to ever have to use.  

And odds are the customer has never had to place a claim previously.  So they’re entering the unknown.  Which is never a good thing.

In steps the adjuster.  This adjuster has the ability to be an absolute rockstar.  To help that person pick up the pieces of their life and get things back on track.  

That adjuster helps a family get the car back on the road quickly so they can still make that family road trip vacation.  That adjuster gets a business back up and running after a fire damaged the building so that the owner can get his employees back to work to support their families.  That adjuster gets a family out of the hotel they’ve been temporarily living in after their home was severely damaged by a burst pipe.

In each and every one of these stories the adjuster did an amazing job to help the customer.  But really the adjuster got the customers back to normal.  

That’s where the customer was before the loss.  That’s where they should be after the Claim.

That’s the expectation.

It’s not like other industries when an employee does an amazing job and the customer has something new and shiny for which they can thank the employee.

Don’t get me wrong.  On the whole, insurance customers are extremely appreciative once the Claims process is behind them.  But does the adjuster often know this?  Or feel this?

OK, this is where Claim leaders can make a huge impact on the adjuster’s life.  And no I’m not exaggerating here.  

It can be a matter of changing that adjuster’s feelings about themselves and their job as “just processing claims” to helping customers through the toughest points in their life.  It’s a matter of changing it from “just a job” moving from claim to claim to a fulfilling career based on service of their customers.

Let’s talk about how we can make that impact.

First, most Claims departments I speak to do in fact seek feedback from their customers about their Claims experience.  This is typically done by way of a post-closed Claim survey.  Some forward thinking Claims departments even seek insight from their customers about the major moments throughout the Claims process.

As the norm is to survey after the Claim, the feedback received may be 30, 60, 90 days or even older.  

In addition, I often see surveys that are very generic.  They’re not personalized to the adjuster that the customer worked with.  Not only does this hurt response rates (meaning less actionable data) but it also means it doesn’t tie the adjuster specifically to that customer.

Worse yet the adjuster may not see the individual results of these surveys.  

Sure they may see on an adjuster scorecard or monthly report that 97% of their customers are likely to renew, 95% of their customers are satisfied, and 93% of their customers agree that they responded timely.  

This is great information for Claims leadership to make data-driven decisions about improvements to processes and how better to coach up the people on the team.  But what does it really do for the adjuster?  If that adjuster’s 93% of customers agreeing about their timeliness jumps to 97%, what does that mean to the adjuster?  Does it make them feel any better about themselves or their job?

And finally some of the most moving portions of surveys I’ve seen have been the open-ended customer comments.  Where they tell their stories about the road trip vacation, getting the business reopened to help their employees’ families and getting out of the hotel and back to home sweet home.

But do the adjusters see all of these?  And if they do, is it weeks or months after the fact that it doesn’t directly affect them?

Let me give you some “what-ifs” to see how this may impact the lives of your adjusters.

What if you were to make your post-close survey real-time and personalized to the adjuster?  What if you had automatic notifications about a happy customer and their comments being delivered directly to the adjuster as the customer makes them?

What if all of the “thank yous” and comments are housed in an adjuster scorecard as well as a team and department scoreboard?

What if all of the survey data populates a leadership dashboard with a custom algorithm that stack-ranks all of the adjusters in a team or department, so that the leader can recognize and reward top performers and coach up those that are struggling based on their specific needs?

I know that‘s a lot of “What-ifs” but really ask yourself.  What would those mean to your team?  And that’s not a rhetorical question, please shoot me an email as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re still struggling let me give you a real world example.

Clara just resolved Mr. Isaac’s homeowners Claim that he had to file when his home burned down.  Mr. Isaac receives an invitation from Clara via email (as that is his preferred contact method) to take the Claims survey.  (BTW, this invitation is automatically generated so Clara didn’t have to do anything additional because we know she’s already busy enough).  

Mr. Isaac opens the email because it’s coming from Clara, whom he’s been working with for the past 6 months.  He leaves a heartfelt message thanking Clara for getting the family back in the home prior to the holidays.

The moment that Mr. Isaac hits submit Clara is getting a notification about the feedback.  Clara’s supervisor, Sally, is also getting a notification.  The comments and data are being populated to Clara’s adjuster scorecard that Sally uses during their weekly one-on-ones.  And it’s also being populated on the executive dashboard and the department’s adjuster leaderboard that is reviewed by the Chief Claims Officer and CEO.  All at the same time!

From there, Sally sends Clara a congratulations on receiving the great feedback quoting Mr. Isaac.  During their weekly one-on-one, Sally brings up the positive feedback again.  At month end the Chief Claims Officer presents monthly awards based upon the executive dashboard and leaderboard and Mr. Isaac’s comments lead to Clara being “Adjuster of the Month.”

Now I’ll ask you:

Will Clara be working in a thankless job, or will she feel appreciated and know that she is working a fulfilling career that is impacting the lives of her customers?

If you want to ensure the best Claims experiences for your customers, you have to start with your adjusters’ experiences.  As Sir Richard Branson says, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

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