The 2017 CLAIMS EDUCATION CONFERENCE Presented by American Educational Institute, International Insurance Institute and Society of Claim Law Associates.
The conference where AEI designees are recognized for their achievements
MAY 16-19, 2017 HILTON NEW ORLEANS RIVERSIDE
Interview: Carl Van, ITP, President & CEO, International Insurance Institute, Inc.
Carl Van will present “Critical Thinking – Strategic Planning.” on June 25, 2014. Carl was interviewed by the folks at America’s Claims Event. You can also view the interview on the ACE site too! Click here to view.
ACE: Can you explain the connection between critical thinking and being a successful claims leader?
CV: The point we are going to make is that the best decision makers, whether they are claims adjusters analyzing coverage, damages and liability on a claim, or claims leaders making business decisions for their organization, are the ones who think things through. That is what it is all about. It is not about always being right, it is about considering the relevant information, avoiding the non-critical thinking pitfalls, and making the best decision possible.
ACE: Please describe a Critical Thinking approach for strategic planning within a claims operation.
CV: There are too many possible steps to list here, so I’ll just stick to the main ones.
The first and most important step is to define what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to introduce a new procedure, improve an existing procedure, or fix a problem?
Another important step is to list out your assumptions. What are you taking for granted that you know (or just accepting) to be true? Are you assuming that the new form you started using is causing turn around time delays? Are you assuming that by increasing adjuster authority will result in a reduction in inventory? Whatever assumptions you are starting with, list them out.
Right after that is to test those assumptions! In most cases, when big mistakes are made, it is not an error in the thought process that causes the problem. It is usually some assumption that was made (and never tested) that turned out to be false and every decision made based on that assumption would lead you astray.
Another step involves gathering the data you need to make the decision, as well as ideas to consider, using a wide net.
The goal is to make the best decision possible with the information you have, using the critical thinking process, avoiding the 10 critical thinking pitfalls.
A good strategic plan should have these characteristics:
Steady: Strategies need to be altered as the business changes and knowledge grows; however, they cannot be overly reactive or “knee jerk.” Steady, well thought out changes are best.
Achievable: Effective strategies draw on the particular strengths and skills of an organization. People who like change are just as important as people who don’t like change; you need them both! Strategies should include considerations of how they will be implemented. They need to include things people will actually do.
Tangible: If your strategies are not in concert with your goals, then either your goals are unrealistic and/or unimportant, or your strategies are ineffective. You have to have something to show for your efforts.
Understandable: Strategies that work in the claims environment are easily articulated so that they can inspire the people who will be asked to carry them out.
Evolving: Claims organizations that think strategically have alternatives and learn to consider a wide range of choices. They also build upon successes and relate those successes throughout the organization.
True-Life: The best strategies are based on and supported by real data. File reviews, phone call monitoring, settlement times, objective system generated data, etc. Effective strategies tell believable stories.
Focused: As a claims organization, are you saying one thing yet doing another? Are you encouraging risk, yet penalizing for making mistakes? Are you touting customer service, yet providing no training and evaluating only on claims specifics? Are you encouraging innovation, yet dictating every detail in every process? Are you asking people to be agents of change, yet overwhelming them with process?
Negotiated: Successful strategies have buy-in from all levels. The best way to do that is by getting many points of view, from both people who like change and people who don’t like change, and sharing the thinking behind the strategy as it evolves. Stop dictating.
Determined: No organization can do everything or be all things to all people. Strategy means making choices about what you will and will not do. Your strategy should make it clear how claims activities will be prioritized, and how it will use its resources. Deciding you need training does not mean you have to develop it and deliver it all by yourself. Are you a training organization or a claims organization? Get help when needed, but do what you do best.
ACE: Please put these ideas of critical thinking and strategic planning in the context of a real life case study.
CV: We will be working on one in the presentation. We will be dealing with a claims organization that needs to improve the responses toward customer service complaints. We will take a look at the issue, decide on what we want to accomplish, list our assumptions, test those assumptions, generate ideas for improvement and discuss how to put them into place.
ACE: What is the central message that you hope to convey at the America’s Claims Event?
CV: That taking the time to think things through (8 “t” words in a row!) is worth the effort. Making good decisions takes a little discipline, a little knowledge, a little patience, a little training…and a sometimes a little luck.
Critical Thinking – Strategic Planning
About America’s Claims Event The 18th Annual America’s Claims Event is the ONLY industry event where senior managers, practitioners & experts involved with claims operations can get the insight they need to implement effective and tactical strategies for their claims handling process. More than 400 professionals and decision‐makers from mid‐size to large Fortune 500 companies attend the event to engage in idea exchanging and peer‐to‐peer learning. Attendees gain deep insight from the experts and obtain unparalleled access to proven solutions to confront their operational challenges.
Interview: Carl Van, ITP, President & CEO, International Insurance Institute, Inc.
Carl Van graduated from California State University, Sacramento where he received his bachelor’s degree in Insurance. He has been in the insurance claims industry since 1980 where he held a variety of positions. Mr. Van is the author of over 75 technical and soft skill workshops being taught throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Mr. Van is creator, presenter and producer of all claims training videos at Claims Education On Line, which include Time Management, Customer Service, Negotiations and Critical Thinking, all specific to claims professionals. Mr. Van is the Dean of the School of Claims Performance, and has served as both board member and Regional Vice President of the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators.
Carl Van will present “The Three Driving Factors for Improving Claims Employee Performance” on June 19, 2013 at 12:45pm.
1. What is your definition of a truly exceptional performer?
A truly exceptional performer is one who understands the big picture of what they are supposed to be accomplishing, cares about doing an excellent job, and has the job knowledge and skill to do it well. They question the status quo, but don’t waste time waging war on company policy or procedures. They are “givers” rather than “takers.”
2. Explain how this definition applies to claims professionals.
In claims, we have an issue with the “big picture” part of that definition. Usually, in our Claims Customer Service courses, we ask claims professionals to use words or phrases to describe their jobs. They will say things like, “investigate”, “negotiate”, “answer the phone”, “handle mail”, “complete diary tasks”,” write estimates”, and about a thousand other things. What is almost never uttered is “Customer Service.”
Claims is a customer service business. We don’t build anything, and we don’t make anything. We are a 100% customer service business. We don’t fix cars, someone else does that. We don’t mend wounds, someone else does that. We don’t rebuild houses, someone else does that. We arrange for those things to happen, and that is the customer service piece. Sometimes we pay people, and sometime we don’t pay them and explain why. Even that is part of the customer service we provide.
The very best claims professionals are those who are technically sound, but it the end, understand we are here to help people. An adjuster who doesn’t understand that will say, “If you don’t sign this form, we can’t pay you.” An adjuster who does understand that will say, “If you can sign this form, we can begin paying you.” An adjuster who doesn’t understand that will say, “It sounds like you’re confused. An adjuster who does understand that will say, “Maybe I didn’t explain things clearly, let me try again.” An adjuster who doesn’t understand that will say, “We’re going to take depreciation.” An adjuster who does understand that will say, “Let me help explain why we take depreciation.”
3. What are the “three driving factors for improving claims employee performance” that you will talk about at the America’s Claims Event this coming June?
Performance is made up of two things, Attitude and Ability. Attitude is 80%, and Ability is 20%. It’s the Pareto Principal; the old 80‐20 rule. Driving up that performance can have many avenues. I will be speaking on these three areas: Creating a culture of customer service awareness; setting a standard that improvement is part of the job; and providing the training and support for people to reach their potential. Many claims organizations will say they do all these things already, when the truth is that it is their greatest weakness.
4. In what tangible ways can your ideas be implemented at the office?
Every interaction in a claims office is a potential training opportunity. Office meetings, break room conversations, casual conversations about procedure changes, etc. are all perfect times to create a culture. Declarations in newsletters, e‐mails, memos, wall signs and the like are very weak methods to garner support for a culture improvement compared to an open discussion in an office meeting.
5. What is the one key takeaway that you hope audience members will get from your talk at the event?
That improvement is possible, available, and much less expensive than not doing anything. You can hire all of the talented people you want, but in the end, if there is not a system in place to shape that talent, it’s all a waste of time. In management we seem to accept that it is normal to have only a couple of exceptional performers, rather than believe we are in control of creating them.
The Three Driving Factors for Improving Claims Employee Performance
Carl Van Biography
About America’s Claims Event The 17th Annual America’s Claims Event is the ONLY industry event where senior managers, practitioners & experts involved with claims operations can get the insight they need to implement effective and tactical strategies for their claims handling process. More than 400 professionals and decision‐makers from mid‐size to large Fortune 500 companies attend the event to engage in idea exchanging and peer‐to‐peer learning. Attendees gain deep insight from the experts and obtain unparalleled access to proven solutions to confront their operational challenges.
Register Today for the MUST ATTEND educational and networking conference for the claims industry
17th Annual America’s Claims Event June 19-21, 2013
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Articles in this issue: Individual article links to come shortly
- Claims Professional Books
- Carl Van YouTube Channel
- New Claims Music
- Claims Blog
- New Customers
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The Eight Characteristics of The Awesome Employee
Or click here for the Kindle version
GRETNA, LA—Pelican Publishing Company is proud to announce the release of The Eight Characteristics of the Awesome Employee, written by Carl Van.
Van will have readers looking for the awesomeness they have within themselves to renovate and rejuvenate performance in any job by incorporating his eight simple characteristics: attitude, time management, interpersonal skills, continuing education, customer service/empathy, desire for excellence, teamwork, andinitiative. The difference between a good and an awesome employee isn’t the individual’s talent, intelligence, educational background, or job knowledge; it is attitude. His often humorous, real-world examples steer the reader along the path to becoming more productive, more satisfied, and more successful in any job.
Discover the route to utilizing attitude to renovate and rejuvenate your performance in any job. Your transformation to awesomeness can be achieved by incorporating Carl Van’s eight simple characteristics into your daily performance:
- time management
- interpersonal skills
- continuing education
- customer service/empathy
- desire for excellence
By using Can’s straightforward road map to success, driven by easy-to-understand examples of performance issues, you can develop these eight keys to becoming the employee you were meant to be. Each section focuses on one general characteristics and provides on-the-job examples that will lead the way, including quotes from popular songs for the journey of your career.
Carl Van is a poplular keynote speaker and opening presenter at claims conferences in the United States and Canada. He is the author of more than seventy-five technical and soft skills training workshops. He has dedicated his life to studying how people think and interact and has developed classes and programs to improve the success of individuals as well as business groups.
“A few years ago I published a trade book entitled, The 8 Characteristics of the Adjuster. After some encouragement by a couple of publishers to rewrite the book for the general public, I finally did and expanded upon the original.
The new book, The Eight Characteristics of the Awesome Employee, is about as long as the original adjuster book, and is written directly for employees as opposed to those at the management level.” -Carl Van