Archive for January, 2013

13 Claims Resolutions for 2013

With 2013 upon us, it is time to sit down and make resolutions for the New Year. Most certainly there will be the typical; losing weight, finding a mate or being a better person, which will last for the average three weeks. But what about making resolutions that you can stick to because they will have a big financial impact on your bottom line?

Let’s face it; this year is a new book with 365 pages upon which to write our future.   Perhaps the best place to start is with improving revenues in an increasingly challenging economy.   Better yet, how about picking resolutions that are guaranteed to make you money without costing you any new money? While this may sound too good to be true, the reality is that these 13 simple resolutions are guaranteed to have a BIG impact on your bottom line.

13 for ‘13

1)      Find Free Loot– According to government records, there is $35 BILLION in unclaimed funds owed to individuals and businesses.  You can search for your own personal goldmine at www.unclaimed.org.

2)      Delegate more frequently and efficiently.   It is human nature to try and do everything ourselves, but often there is a better way.   After all, there are only so many hours in the day and wouldn’t it be nice to spend more of them with family and friends rather than toiling behind your desk at work trying to create the magical elixir to improve claims outcomes.

3)      Try something new– It is easy to fall into the trap of the status quo.  After all, humans are creatures of habit.  We don’t like change, as change disrupts our routine.   But, like death and taxes, change is one of life’s only certainties.   Don’t wait for the change; be the change.   Use 2013 to be the catalyst to take your claims organization from ordinary to extraordinary!

4)      Business Networking – Get yourself on the map by improving social networking with sites such as Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn, which can be used to improve business networking. 

5)      Give something back to your community– Our communities are some of our greatest assets, providing support and essential services to businesses and residents alike.   Give consideration to things that you can do to better serve that mission.   From donating time at school or running for elected office to supporting charities, missions and foundations, there are a number positive things that come from making our communities better places to live, work and raise our families.

6)      Set SMART goals- Metrics need to be defined as :

  1. Specific – Rather than “improve subrogation”, the goal should be set to a specific outcome, such as a 10% improvement in subrogation referrals over the prior year.
  2. Measureable– Organizations must have a objective, rather than subjective, mechanism for accurately measuring metrics.
  3. Attainable– Goals should be realistic.   For example, the industry average rate of comparative assessment is 4%.  Industry leaders, such as ClaimIQ users, are between 25% and 35%, depending on jurisdiction and level of expertise.   A realistic goal isn’t to move from 4% to 35%, but perhaps a smaller increment, such as 4% to 10%.
  4. Relevant – Metrics should be relevant to the position.  For example, putting salvage disposition in a subrogation adjuster performance evaluation may not be relevant to their job function.
  5. Time bound– Again, specificity is critical to outcomes.  Time parameters tend to improve outcomes.  Rather than saying we need to reduce BI severities by the end of the year, it should  be phrased that we need to reduce leakage in BI evalutaionts by 10% by December 31st.   Of course, the calculation of the metric must be based upon objective data and the tools to reduce such leakage need to be part of the organizational strategy to achieving such goals.

7)      Think outside of the box – With a culture often entrenched in the status quo; it doesn’t take much to raise the bar.   But when that bar is raised, it becomes easier to take charge of an entire industry, as evidenced by the supremacy of Southwest, Toyota and Apple in their respective sectors.

8)      Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – Of course, once the bar has been raised, it becomes par for the course to emulate success.   Certainly copying is a form of flattery and at times it may work, but doesn’t it stand to reason that those who have already raised the bar once will simply do it again.  So rather than simply try to play catch up, take the risk necessary to leap frog your organization into the lead!  As discussed in Blocking & Tackling, the Playbook for the Winning Claims Organization, the surest way to do this is through a combination of people, processes and technology.

9)      Hire Right – People are the core of any organization; claims or otherwise.   The caveat is that the right people become our greatest assets, the wrong people our greatest challenges.   While people are key to outcomes, industry supremacy will not come from people alone! The key is to develop critical qualities that define your best and brightest and then use a combination of hiring strategies and personality testing to bring the right people into your organization, and more importantly, retain them.

10)  Process Fundamentals – There is a reason that football teams punch the ball up the middle more frequently than any other play; because it works.  A quick handoff to the running back is the surest way to get yards.  It is not fancy, it is not glamorous, but it works.   Sure, teams will mix it up, but at the end of the day it is fundamental strategy that gets the job done.  The same can be said in claims organizations where the basics are often forsaken with the hopes that technology will be the savior.   Can technology help?  Yes.  Can it replace fundamentals? No.   Technology will improve results in direct correlation to how well there is basic execution by personnel.   Consider the billions of dollars left on the table by the industry as the result of improper liability assessments and missed subrogation opportunities.   People need to be the front line; process improvement and efficiency needs to be the playbook.   Technology will just make them better.

11)  Leverage Technology – Innovation becomes the key differentiator among organizations that effectively block and tackle.   Technology allows for adjusters to be more productive and efficient, ultimately improving claims accuracies while reducing expenses.   Consider the simple act of reviewing an attorney demand.   A well schooled adjuster will be able to identify deceptive billing practices, such as upcoding or unbundling.   But this takes time and adjusters are busy.   Leveraging technology to do the heavy lifting allows them to more effectively push claims to closure while driving down indemnity and expenses but catching deceptive billing practices, fraud, pre-existing conditions and malingering.

12)  Keep Your Eye on the Ball – On December 31, 2013, where will you be when the ball descends in Times Square?   Focus on the ball during the course of the year and chances are your results will be significantly improved.    While this may seem obvious, it is much easier said than done.  Distractions in claims organizations abound and far too often the easier path is the one of least resistance.

13)  Have Fun! There is nothing worse than an organization that sucks the fun out life!  At its core, claims organizations are a difficult environment.   From customers who may not be happy to shareholders demanding better results, claims personnel often bear the brunt of their ire.  After all, it is us who spend the money.   Creating a positive environment may seem challenging, but with the right people driving the bus it can be accomplished.

With the New Year upon us, now is the time to begin writing our book for 2013 to make it the happiest, healthiest and most prosperous year ever!  As Thomas Merton once said, “As the sun rises on a new year, may we see all the possibilities, hold firm in our beliefs, and dare to bring our dreams to life.

*****

Christopher Tidball is a claims veteran and consultant to the P&C industry.   He is a freelance writer, speaker and author of multiple books including Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary and Blocking & Tackling: The Playbook for the Winning Claims Organization.    For more information please visit www.christidball.com or email the author at chris@christidball.com.

 

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January 2, 2013 at 10:16 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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