Archive for October, 2011

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a scene invstigation may be worth thousands of dollars

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  When it comes to insurance claims it can be worth thousands of dollars.  

During my tenure as a Quality Assurance Director for a large multinational insurer, I was surprised at the frequency of claim files lacking a quality scene investigation.   In many cases, even a trip to Bing Maps or Google Earth would have sufficed, but even this was conspicuously absent.  

Coming from a school where scene investigations weren’t optional, it was always frustrating to see so much money left on the table as the result of incomplete investigations and poor liability decisions. I many instances investigations were limited to phone calls with claim parties, who themselves may not fully understand the concept of duties owed, duties breached and comparative negligence.    

Much like the X’s and O’s a football coach puts on a blackboard, the scene investigation provides the visual for both what happened and what should have happened.   From the timing of the traffic signal to  debris and skid marks, a trip to the scene of an accident provides much needed evidence to properly formulate a liability decision.  

Consider the case of an insured making a left turn and being struck by the claimant.  In far too many cases there are assessments of 100% liability against the insured.   While this may provide an easy path to closing a claim, it is extremely rare for any accident, other than a traditional rear-ender, to be all or nothing propositions.   

 

According to Jury Verdict Research, a national organization that tracks such data, rear end auto accidents accounted for only 45 percent of auto cases adjudicated, with the remainder comprised of intersection collisions, lane changes, chain reactions, and parking lot scenarios. In other words, a lot of claims where there was shared liability. 

To effectively conduct the scene investigation, it is important to gather as much information as possible.   Speaking with the insured, claimant and witnesses are all key components to gathering facts.  During these statements, which should be recorded with permission, questions should be geared towards not only what happened, but searching for possible liability mitigators.   

As discussed in Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary, some such questions include direction of travel, position of the sun, weather, passengers, radio volume, cell phone usage, recognition of oncoming traffic, signal malfunction or visible obstructions.  

In the following example, consider the impact of a thorough scene investigation:

The claimant calls in a loss and says that they were going straight, had a green light and your insured turned in front of them.   A call to the insured says that they turned left because they thought there was enough time.   Far too often this is where the investigation stops.  The claim notes often reflect “Insured turned left in front of claimant, insured 100% at fault”.  But should it stop there? 

Consider the following additional facts gathered during the course of the same investigation:

1-      The speed limit was 45 and the claimant was in the #3 (outermost) of three westbound lanes.

2-      The time of loss was 6:15 p.m.   Sunset was 6:35 p.m.

3-      The light cycle was 60 seconds green and 10 seconds yellow with a 3 second delay between cycles. 

4-       The claimant was headed due west, into the sun.

5-      The claimant was an 18 year old female, who attended college and had three guest passengers.

6-      The claimant radio was on and there as active conversation in the vehicle. 

7-      The damage to the claimant vehicle was centered in the front.

8-      The damage to the insured was in the right, rear door. 

Given this additional information, the investigating adjuster would consider duties owed and duties breached by each party.   While the insured failed to yield the right of way, they did clearly establish control of the intersection, crossing three lanes in front of an inexperienced driver who may have been distracted.   While the percentages of fault may be subjective, what is evident is that this was not a clear liability accident. 

By going to the scene it is possible to visualize just how far across the intersection the insured had proceeded.   By canvassing, it is possible to find witnesses who may be able to point out other contributing factors such as speed.   It is also possible to see that that the hedgerow between east and westbound traffic may be so tall that it impedes visibility, potentially creating municipal culpability.  

In this particular case, the claimant retained an attorney.  The guest passengers retained the same attorney, which would have become a conflict of interest as soon as any fault was placed on the claimant.   As a fiduciary, it is incumbent upon the insurer to protect the financial interest of the insured, which can’t be accomplished with a marginal investigation.   This, of course, can result in actions against the insurer should there ever be a judgment in excess of the policy limits.  

Basic blocking and tackling, such as scene investigations, provides adjusters with the means by which to formulate appropriate liability decisions so as to ensure accurate settlements.    By getting back to basics and focusing on quality outcomes, insurers can quickly gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

Christopher Tidball is a claims consultant and the author of Re-Adjusted:20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary.   He combines his twenty years of claims investigative and leadership experience with innovative technology to provide an immediate impact to organizational results.  To learn more, please visit www.christidball.com or e-mail chris@christidball.com

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October 25, 2011 at 7:03 am 1 comment

Using the right benchmarks to increase subrogation recoveries

According to professional subrogation experts, missed subrogation opportunities exist in 10-15% of all closed files, making this a $15 billion dollar industry.   In my experience overseeing a large organizational subrogation process, the 15% strikes me as low, as it may not fully encompass cases where the adjuster settlement was based upon total liability as opposed to proper identification and assessment of comparative negligence. 

When considering benchmarks, there are time bound and results oriented metrics which all have an impact on an organizational bottom line.  The most commonly used benchmark, which dates back to the original Ward studies in the 1990’s measures Total Dollars of Net Subrogation Recoveries as a % of Total Indemnity Paid Losses for Personal Auto Collision.  It is important to note that this benchmark is only as accurate as subrogation identification, which often lacks within carriers resulting in collectible files being closed with no recovery.  

In the years since, there has been some focus by carriers on improving their subrogation process which has led to an increase in recovered dollars.   According to a recent NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) study, net recoveries to total paid collision is 27% for standard carriers and 14.5% for non standard carriers. 

 A potential flaw with the current benchmarking methodology is its heavy reliance on collisions.  While 72% of recoveries are indeed related to collision, it is shortsighted to not give consideration to all line coverage’s where subrogation is a viable option, in particular UM, UIM, UMPD, PIP and Medical Payment’s.  

 While spearheading the efforts to improve subrogation results for one of the world’s largest insurers, some key metrics emerged as having a dramatic impact on bottom line recoveries. 

  •  Recognition percentage – dollars identified as recoverable from paid dollars by claims adjusters.  The key here is having a pool of adjusters who understand the concept of subrogation, local jurisdictional knowledge and having the ability to negotiate shared liability settlements.  In the benchmarking study, subrogation recognition ranged from a high of 45 files to a low of 5 for every 100 new claims.   Specific to my experience, the optimal collision referral rate, while dependent upon state negligence laws, should be around 35% in a pure comparative state, 25% in a modified comparative state and 15% in a contributory state.
  •  Recovery Rate – dollars actually recovered from total paid dollars.  Measure this in terms of both gross recovery as well as costs after factoring in expenses.  When factoring comparative negligence and improper referrals, the recovery rate should be somewhere in the range of 85-90%.   This requires adjusters properly identifying subrogation, assessing comparative negligence and pursuing only what they are entitled to.  
  •  Recovery Rate per FTE. Include in this both the gross dollars as well as net dollars and expenses incurred.  There is a wide variance among adjusters and type of coverage, but a good target would be $1,000,000 per subrogation adjuster.  
  •  Cycle Time- time from subrogation identification to recovery.   The industry average is about 200 days, yet the average time to issue final payment is about 10 days.   With the ability to fast track arbitrations and leverage technology, this could be compressed to well less than 100 days.   Each day that the money sits on the table there is a quantifiable impact to the actuarial triangles.  
  •  Subrogation Allocated Loss Expenses (ALE) – file related expense dollars paid to recover subrogation dollars.  It makes no sense to spend $500 dollars in overhead to recover $400.  Based on organizational size, tenure and structure it often makes sense to balance an approach of insourcing fast track subrogation while utilizing external partners for more complex recoveries.  
  •  Subrogation Unallocated Expenses – non-file related expense dollars paid to recover subrogation.
  •  Recovery Multiple – ratio of recovery dollars to expense dollars
  • Files closed with no Recovery-percentage of files referred to subrogation that are closed with no recovery.   While there can be legitimate reasons, carriers invariably tend to close files prematurely particularly in cases involving uninsured tortfeasors who tend to be a challenge for collectors. 

Some benchmarks that carriers could utilize to most effectively gauge their subrogation performance could also include a formula that divides total staff into total recoveries for a recovery amount per FTE.   This should be used in conjunction with disposition numbers such as total closures and cases closed with no recovery.  

When looking at the percentage of files closed with no recovery, it is critical to understand the internal end to end claims workflow.  Many carriers use internal adjusters, often with little debt collection experience, to pursue uninsured tortfeasors.   A good barometer of how much money is being left on the table is the frequency by which second, third or even fourth looks are sent out to the open market where a vendor will review it, often at no charge.    

AT&T utilizes a process by which upwards of 27 vendors are used for tertiary and quaternary reviews.  They post all results daily, creating a climate of competition.   What carriers need to realize is that on a third review, they may recoup another 2-3%, while a quaternary review may yield an additional percentage point on top of that which is critical in a market with tight margins.

One key aspect that is not often considered in subrogation benchmarking is that of claims.   To truly understand the end to end process, the following metrics can be very beneficial in identifying opportunities to maximize recoveries. 

  • Percentage of files referred to subrogation by line coverage. 
  •  Percentage of files where collision was paid but no PD was paid with no associated referral to subrogation.
  •  Percentage of claims where liability was assessed at either 0% or 100% or similar moniker in claims system such as insured not at fault/insured at fault. 
  •  Referral of supplementals and rental invoices to subrogation.

Many carriers will look at just a fraction of the available metrics, often focusing on those that are easily obtainable, such as bottom line recoveries or percentage of collision referrals.   This approach can have unintended consequences, such as adjusters referring to meet a number rather than doing their investigation.   The challenge with any metric is to ensure that there is quality control in place, and counter measures to offset the potential of unintended consequences.

Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant and the author of Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary.   He is an industry veteran utilizing his experience within multiple Top 10 P&C claims organizations to assist others with claims process improvement initiatives.  To learn more please visit www.christidball.com or e-mail chris@christidball.com.

 

October 20, 2011 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Understanding the 9’s in 9-9-9

Love him  or hate him, Herman Cain has made a splash with his 9-9-9 plan, which calls for a 9% flat rate income tax, a 9% corporate income tax and a 9% national sales tax.   While there has been a lot of subjective speculation on how the taxes would impact Americans, there hasn’t been a lot of true investigative economic analysis on the real impact. 

Starting with the personal income tax, Cain calls for reducing this to a 9% flat rate across the board.  Currently 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax.  This will change, forcing them to finally pay their fair share.   The affluent, many of whom pay more than a third of their income to the federal government, would also see their rate drop to 9%.  

The corporate income tax, currently at 35% is among the highest in the world.  This excessive taxation has been a catalyst for jobs being pushed overseas, resulting on our nation losing its competitive edge in the marketplace.   There is also a significant connection between the personal and corporate tax rates as small businesses are often run by individual owners whose income flows through their personal taxes.  It is these small businesses that traditionally account for two thirds of all new job creation.    

In case you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been a lot of job creation in the last couple of years.   Businesses of all sizes have been hamstrung by a never ending slew of new rules, regulations, frivolous litigation and taxes.    Lower taxes in conjunction with Cain’s call for the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and Obamacare will result in economic growth not seen since the income tax reductions of the 1980’s under Reagan and capital gains reductions of the 90’s under Clinton.  

The most controversial part of the 9-9-9 plan is undoubtedly the national sales tax.   Many are equating it to a value added tax, which it is not.   A value added tax, such as those proposed by a number of leading Democrats would add a tax to the existing price of goods and services.   Cain’s tax differs in that it supplants taxes that will be removed.   A value added tax would keep the corporate rate at 35% and then add a tax on top of that.  Cain’s plan lowers the corporate tax to 9%, and even when adding on another 9%, the 18% rate is about half of what is currently paid today.  

Another critical component requires the understanding that all goods purchased in the United States have an embedded tax of 22.4%.   Corporate taxes, embedded into the price of goods, are passed onto the consumer.   When a loaf of bread is purchased, nearly one quarter of that loaf is the result of an embedded tax. 

When taxes are lowered and regulations rolled back the free market forces will cause a decline in the actual price of goods.  The reality is that the loaf of bread, and all other goods, will cost less under Cain’s plan than they do today.  

But the plan is not without flaws.   The biggest risk is that the 9-9-9 becomes 20-20-20 when political winds shift and Washington decides they need more money.     After all, why give Washington another potential source of revenue when they can’t even live within their means now?  

Another risk is that 9-9-9 may not result in enough revenue to run the government.   While challenging, the silver lining may be that it forces Washington to restructure, eliminating redundancies and outsourcing what can be more efficiently in the private sector.   

Regardless of one’s position on 9-9-9 it is encouraging to see new ideas from Washington outsiders who actually have run businesses, made payrolls and created jobs.  

Christopher Tidball is an executive consultant and the author of Kicked to the Curb: 20 Essential Rules To Coming Out On Top When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down.   To learn more, please visit www.christidball.com or e-mail chris@christidball.com

 

October 19, 2011 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

Setting to stage to uncover staged accidents

Staged accidents often have an insured and claimant working in conjunction with one another.  In some cases the vehicles will have evidence of mutual contact, such as paint transfers.   In others, two previously damaged vehicles are used to perpetrate the fraud.  More often than not, the at fault vehicle will have an assigned risk or minimum liability policy and an insured who readily admits fault.  

A common variation on the traditional staged accident is the “phantom vehicle” that struck the insured late at night, in a remote location.   The scenarios may involve rear-end impacts of claims of being pushed off the road into an object, such as a tree or light pole.   Rarely is there a police report, unless it is required by statute to file an uninsured motorist claim.  

Generally, the staged accident is arranged by a “capper” who is nothing more than a middleman or broker between claim parties and attorneys.   Typically, the capper will find willing participants who will use their own vehicles, or borrowed ones, to stage the accident.   Rarely will there be any witnesses.  

The capper will give each party a fee of a few hundred dollars, as well as a “script” of statements to make to the insurance company.   In many instances the parties are all known to one another, often residing in the same household, or at a minimum in the same neighborhood.   

Once the stage has been set, the “accident” occurs and it is called into the insurance carrier and the “injured parties” are placed with an attorney, who often is a willing accomplice.   The attorney, in turn, refers the “injured” to medical providers for “treatment”. 

By this time, the claimants have all been paid their fee, or at least a down payment.   They have signed retainers and have checked into the medical clinic where they have filled out sign in sheets for the duration of their treatment, which of course has yet to occur.  

At a given time interval, the clinic provides all medical records to the attorney who submits a demand to the insurance carrier.   The insurance carrier reviews the demand, negotiates a settlement and sends a check to the attorney, who in turns negotiates down the medical bills with the doctors and pads his own take even further.  

It’s a simple scheme, and one that I became all to familiar at the outset of my claims career in South Central Los Angeles, an area notorious for insurance fraud.   It is also one that can come unraveled if carriers conduct a proper investigation!

As with any investigation, it is imperative to speak with all parties to the claim.   In person statements are best, as it requires face to face contact and the adjuster can quickly see if a script is being used.   It is also best to separate all parties.  If a claim is legitimate, then most certainly being separated will have no impact on the statements, as all versions will coincide.    If a claimant pulls out a script, the adjuster should take it prior to commencing the statement.  Again, if a claim is legitimate, there is no need for a script.  

Questions should be extremely detailed.   Beyond dates and times, there should be detailed descriptions of the loss location.   If the police were called, ask for a physical description of the officers.   Did EMT respond?  An ambulance?  What hospital were they taken to?   When it comes to treating providers, ask for descriptions of the medical facility, treating providers, medical equipment, modalities performed and even the route taken from the claimant home to the doctor’s office.  

There should be a detailed description of the accident itself, including the direction in which they were sent in relation to the force.  Remember, an occupant will always go towards the direction of force which is often left out of the script.  

The vehicles themselves should be inspected by the same person and measured for damages.   If two vehicles strike, then there will be evidence such as metal striations to indicate the principal direction of force and paint transfers.    A white car striking a silver one doesn’t leave red paint transfers!

Backgrounds, including index bureau searches, should be conducted on all parties and both the doctor and attorney should be checked through the appropriate state agencies for any prior shenanigans.   Link analysis technology is also a great tool for determining prior relationships between parties.

While these cases can be difficult to prove, it is exponentially easier to get attorney’s to drop them if they get the sense that the investigation is causing the scheme to unravel.  After all, there are plenty more unwitting insurers out there to pursue, so why mess with those who are going to make things difficult? 

Tomorrow: 10 Questions to ask during the staged accident investigation.

____________

Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant and author of  Re-Adjusted, which focuses on insurance claims process improvement techniques.   He is a twenty plus year industry veteran who has held various claims, quality assurance, process and leadership positions in multiple Top 10 P&C .  To learn more, please visit www.christidball.com or e-mail chris@christidball.com

October 17, 2011 at 5:26 am Leave a comment

Benchmarking: The devil is in the details

It is often said that the devil is in the details and perhaps nowhere is this truer than the insurance claims process where benchmarking and metrics define both quality and results.   This is particularly evident in the subrogation arena; where an estimated 15% of all claims are closed with a missed subrogation opportunity at an annual cost of $15 billion dollars. 

In my experience overseeing large organizational claims and subrogation processes, this actually strikes me as low, as it may not fully encompass cases where the adjuster settlement was based upon total liability as opposed to properly identifying, assessing and negotiating accurate comparative negligence. 

When considering benchmarks, there are time bound and results oriented metrics which all have an impact on an organizational bottom line.  The most commonly used benchmark, which dates back to the original Ward studies in the 1990’s measures Total Dollars of Net Subrogation Recoveries as a % of Total Indemnity Paid Losses for Personal Auto Collision.  This is probably the most common benchmark but is only as accurate as subrogation identification, which often lacks within carriers resulting in collectible files being closed with no recovery.   After the original study, it was concluded that high performing carriers collect about 23.7% while the total universe is at 11.6%.

In the years since, there has been some focus by carriers on improving their subrogation process which has led to an increase in recovered dollars.   According to a recent NASP benchmarking study, net recoveries to total paid collision is 27% for standard carriers and 14.5% for non standard carriers. 

A potential flaw with the current benchmarking methodology is its heavy reliance on collisions.  While 72% of recoveries are indeed related to collision, it is shortsighted to not give consideration to all line coverage’s where subrogation is a viable option, in particular UM, UIM, UMPD, PIP and Medical Payment’s.   In addition, there are even more overlooked opportunities for health, worker’s compensation and property insurance. 

Some key metrics that can be considered by carriers include the following:

  • Recognition percentage – dollars identified as recoverable from paid dollars by claims adjusters.  The key here is having a pool of adjusters who understand the concept of subrogation, local jurisdictional knowledge and having the ability to negotiate shared liability settlements.  In industry benchmarking studies, subrogation recognition generally ranges from a high of 45 files to a low of 5 for every 100 new claims.   Specific to my experience, the optimal collision referral rate, while dependent upon negligence laws, should be around 35% in a pure comparative state, 25% in a modified comparative state and 15% in a contributory state.
  • Recovery Rate – dollars actually recovered from total paid dollars.  Measure this in terms of both gross recovery as well as costs after factoring in expenses.  When factoring comparative negligence and improper referrals, the recovery rate should be somewhere in the range of 85-90%.   This requires adjusters properly identifying subrogation, assessing comparative negligence and pursuing only what they are entitled to.  

 

  • Recovery Rate per FTE. Include in this both the gross dollars as well as net dollars and expenses incurred.  There is a wide variance among adjusters, but a good target would be $1,000,000 per subrogation adjuster.  

 

  • Cycle Time- time from subrogation identification to recovery.   The industry average is about 200 days, yet the average time to issue final payment is about 10 days.   With the ability to fast track arbitrations and leverage technology, this could be compressed to well less than 100 days.   Each day that the money sits on the table there is a quantifiable impact to the actuarial triangles.  

 

  • Subrogation Allocated Loss Expenses (ALE) – file related expense dollars paid to recover subrogation dollars.  It makes no sense to spend $500 dollars in overhead to recover $400.  The following model exemplifies when it may make more financial sense to outsource more complex portions of recovery operations. 

 

  • Subrogation Unallocated Expenses – non-file related expense dollars paid to recover subrogation.

 

  • Recovery Multiple – ratio of recovery dollars to expense dollars

 

  • Files closed with no Recovery-Percentage of files referred to subrogation that are closed with no recovery.   While there can be legitimate reasons, carriers invariably tend to close files prematurely particularly in cases involving uninsured tortfeasors who tend to be a challenge for carrier subrogation adjusters. 

Some benchmarks that carriers could utilize to most effectively gauge their subrogation performance could also include a formula that divides total staff into total recoveries for a recovery amount per FTE.   This should be used in conjunction with disposition numbers such as total closures and cases closed with no recovery.  

When looking at the percentage of files closed with no recovery, it is critical to understand the carrier’s workflow.  Many carriers use internal adjusters, often with little debt collection experience, to pursue uninsured tortfeasors.   A good barometer of how much money is being left on the table is the frequency by which second, third or even fourth looks are sent out to the open market where a vendor will review it, often at no charge.    

While not an insurer, AT&T uses one of the most robust and effective collection strategies available.  They don’t rely on one vendor, but rather upwards of 27 vendors, that are used for secondary, tertiary and quaternary reviews.  They post all results daily, creating a climate of competition.   What carriers need to realize is that on a third review, they may recoup another 1-3%, while a quaternary review may yield an additional percentage point on top of that which is critical in a market with tight margins.  At the end of the day, what remains uncollected is sold on the open market. 

One key aspect that is not often considered in subrogation benchmarking is that of claims.   To truly understand the end to end process, the following metrics can be very beneficial in identifying opportunities to maximize recoveries. 

  • Percentage of files referred to subrogation by line coverage. 

 

  • Percentage of files where collision was paid but no PD was paid with no associated referral to subrogation.

 

  • Percentage of claims where liability was assessed at either 0% or 100% or similar moniker in claims system such as insured not at fault/insured at fault. 

 

  • Referral of supplementals and rental invoices to subrogation.

Many carriers will look at just a fraction of the available metrics, often focusing on those that are easily obtainable, such as bottom line recoveries or percentage of collision referrals.   This approach can have unintended consequences, such as adjusters referring to meet a number rather than doing their investigation.   The challenge with any metric is to ensure that there is quality control in place, as policing adjusters is often required to make sure that they are doing the right thing.   

Christopher Tidball is a claims and subrogation consultant and the author of Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary to Extraordinary.   His career in claims spans two decades as a Claims Adjuster, Manager, Quality Assurance Director and Claims Process Leader.   For more information, please visist www.christidball.com or email chris@christidball.com

 

 

 

October 13, 2011 at 7:22 am Leave a comment

Driving the right outcomes

Driving the right claim outcomes can seem like a monumental task at times.   With adjusters, managers and executives facing the often competing priorities of customers, goals and shareholders it’s tough to juggle so many balls at once.   Often, the metrics by which they are measured drive the results that they strive for; but, are they always measured on the right metrics?

What’s more important; contacting a customer in two hours or putting a million dollars on the company’s bottom line?   While many basics, such as contacts and inspections, are addressed during the course of a claims investigation many other critical aspects are often left out that can cost the carrier money. 

How many files have you reviewed where there was clearly a liability issue but the file lacked a police report, witness statement, clear photographs depicting the point of impact or a scene investigation?  How many more files have you looked at that may have contained some or all of these critical items but the adjuster decided to pay 100%, despite the obvious comparative negligence. 

Intersection accidents, lane changes, parking lot accidents, he said/she said scenarios are all types of claims that have the potential to help companies striving to improve claims payment accuracy.   To achieve improved results, it is incumbent upon managers to provide a consistent message pertaining to quality.

Over the years, working in multiple capacities for multiple insurers, I have met adjusters and even managers who have limited understanding of such things as comparative negligence, empty seat defenses and joint & several liability.   Considering this, it should come as much of a surprise that industry statistics show nearly 15% of all claims are closed with a missed subrogation opportunity costing carriers billions of dollars annually.   The reality is that these figures are based upon carriers’ measurements against others who are also missing 15%, so the true figure is likely much higher. 

There are only so many hours in a day and often competing priorities, such as disposition, push adjusters to make hasty decisions, often with a bottom line impact.    Managers can only do so much, as much of their time is spent on administrative issues which come at the expense of quality.   The companies that truly set the bar for results have one thing in common; they rely on business partners to help them carry the heavy load.  

Take subrogation, an area often overlooked as a potential profit center.   Far too often money is left on the table because processes haven’t been established to put the right claim in the right hands.    This doesn’t mean adding to staff.   To the contrary, it means proper allocation of resources, which increases efficiencies allowing for greater economies of scale.   By utilizing innovative technology and proven workflow enhancements, insurers can improve productivity, quality and accuracy which reducing cycle time and leakage. 

Christopher Tidball is and executive claims consultant and the author of Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary to Extraordinary.  Learn more at www.christidball.com or email chris@christidball.com

October 12, 2011 at 6:54 am Leave a comment

Just Win, Baby

In a world where change is a constant, there still remain certainties in life; death, taxes and the role that blocking and tackling play in determining success.  Of course, the latter is never static as there is no right or wrong way to use blocking and tackling to effectively execute business decisions or operational outcomes.  Perhaps this was never as apparent as with Al Davis, the unconventional owner of the Oakland Raiders who passed away this weekend. 

“Just win, baby” became the battle cry of Davis, who took his team to five Super Bowls (winning three) during his reign of the “bad boys” from Oakland.   In a day and age where some have called for youth sports to stop keeping score because it creates winners and losers, Davis rallied his team and fans with calls to win at any cost because he understood that winning matters.

This was his philosophy from the beginning as head coach of the Raiders in 1963 and during the run of Raiders dominance in the AFL.   After his hard knock approach to leadership became the catalyst for the merger between the AFL and the NFL, the philosophy of winning continued to produce results, albeit sometimes in an unconventional way.

While many view Davis as an outlaw of sorts, this Raider broke down many barriers.  In 1968, Eldridge Dickey became the first black quarterback selected in the first round.   Twenty years later, Art Shell became the first black head coach in NFL history.   Just years earlier, Tom Flores became the first Hispanic head coach, leading the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1980.   This was about the time he hired Amy Trask, the first female executive in the NFL. 

Not one to hold press conferences, his good deeds often went unheralded.   As Lyle Alzado was dying of brain cancer, it was Al Davis who paid his medical bills.     Those who were too old, such as George Blanda, found a home with the Raiders for whom he played until he was 48.    Those who were too young, such as John Madden, were taken under Davis’ wing and delivered several division championships and a 1976 Super Bowl.

In the eyes of Al Davis there were two rules, prominently displayed on the team blackboard in the locker room.  Rule 1- Show up on Sundays.  Rule 2- Stay out of trouble with the law.   The unwritten rule in Raider Nation was that if you obeyed Rule 1 then Rule 2 was flexible.

Despite his unconventional methods, blocking and tackling was essential for success on the field.   He placed less importance on playbooks and more on playmakers than most teams.  He believed that the right people would make a difference.   As discussed in Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary to Extraordinary, success will be derived from having the right people in the right position.   The Raiders consistently proved this, with greats such as Ken Stabler, Lyle Alzado, John Matuszak and Ted Hendricks. 

Perhaps his greatest legacy will be that he showed his peers that doing things differently can make a profound change.   He understood that the only constant in life is change and that change management can transform organizations.   He not only transformed the Raider Nation, but the entire National Football League with a maverick style that, while not always popular with fellow owners or league executives, will be missed. 

Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant and the author of Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Organization From Ordinary to Extraordinary and Kicked to the Curb: 20 Essential Rules For Coming Out On Top When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down.   He is an insurance industry veteran with twenty plus years at multiple Top 10 P&C carriers.  To learn more please visit www.christidball.com or e-mail chris@christidball.com

 

October 10, 2011 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

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Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at chris@christidball.com

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