With the New Year approaching, it is always a good idea to reflect on the last year and think of new ways to do business. Whether this is in a claims aspect, or relevant to your business in general, change is always a good thing.
Oftentimes we become too comfortable and familiar with the normal relationships we have day in and day out, and at certain points it is a good idea to take a peek at your business as a whole and come up with new ways to do things more efficiently. Below are some points of interest that may be applicable to your business:
- Outside vendor relationships
Let’s say that your pal Bill’s company is the company that provides all of your work laundry, carpets, and other industrial items. Bill has done business with your company for years, and there have never been any complaints. His prices seem to be in touch with the industry averages, and the products he supplies you with work just fine. Overall you are satisfied with his work and when there has been an issue in the past he has been able to resolve it with little conflict.
This is an example of a good working relationship. But, your lack of research has maybe let you down. Bill’s company may have many competitors and those others in the market may have something that is of benefit to you and your company. Bill’s biggest competition is Dave’s company. Perhaps Dave has better work shirts, made of better materials that are lighter to wear and more breathable for your employees. Maybe Dave’s company has better wear resistant carpets with the latest technology that can further reduce slips and falls for your workers and customers. Despite what Bill has told you, maybe Dave’s prices are very close to Bill’s prices, but the technology is better. This better technology leads to fewer trips out to your workplace for repair and replacement. The less service calls you have, the cheaper the cost is on an annual basis.
This may be a small aspect of your yearly costs, but there is an important lesson here: To always be aware of the latest companies out there and what they can offer you. If you never reach out to them, you may never know what they can offer you. This doesn’t mean that Bill does a bad job, but healthy competition can keep Bill on his toes so that he is offering you the latest and greatest thing out there, which can only benefit you and your company in the end.
- Your Current Carrier/TPA/Broker
The same can be said with your carrier that is handling your insurance claims. XYZ Company does a great job with your claims. You have never had any major blowups with any of your claims, but again this doesn’t mean that they are on the cutting edge of claim technology. A lot of carriers out there are now fiercely competitive, both in price and with their claim technology. Carriers want you to be interactive with them, allowing you access to their systems in an ease to create that “teamwork” atmosphere. The more you are involved, the more proactive you will be—at least that is their hope. Even though you may have never had an issue, again you do not know what is out there unless you go look for it.
The same can be said with the current Broker that handles your business. You may think you have adequate service, but how can you know until you see what else is out there? You may find other brokers that are quicker, better, and more efficient with your issues that you need addressed. So take a look around, and maybe talk with some other Brokers to see what they have to offer. If nothing in particular tickles your fancy, then by all means remain with the current relationship that you have. But at least you looked in to it, and can be satisfied with the service you have when compared to what else is being offered.
- The Current Claim Team that Handles Your Insurance Issues
Sticking with XYZ Company, you think they do a good job and you are satisfied with the current team that handles your claims. Despite the fact that you may have never met them face to face, they are personable and professional, and seem to know what they are talking about.
But what about everyone else that is in that office? Who else works there, and what do they have to offer your company? Insurance people are known to go from place to place, and you may never know that Frank, who is new at XYZ but has years of claim experience, lived in the city where you do business and has handled claims there for a number of years. He knows the city, the type of people that reside there, and more importantly he knows of a lot of physician groups and vendors that may be overlooked at XYZ for whatever reason. Frank could be a great asset to the team that handles your claims.
Most carriers will keep a profile on their adjusters. This will have their educational achievements, professional licenses, and claim experience levels to best match up insured clients to their own staff in order to create the best team possible for said client. But if you never ask, they will rarely change anything, since the squeaky wheel will be the only one that gets the grease.
To see what you have to choose from, you can ask the claims supervisor if they can send you a current roster with profiles. You may be able to find a new addition to your team that can turn out to be a great asset for 2013 and beyond. If Nancy handles your claims, and all of the sudden Frank gets moved in and Nancy goes on to handle another insured account, trust me Nancy is not going to lose any sleep over it.
Adjusters can handle several clients at once, and getting swapped out for another adjuster is not going to generate any ill will. The worst that could happen is that Frank is not as awesome as you thought he could be, and you can always swap them back out again. Bear in mind there may be a bit of a learning curve for Frank in the beginning, but give him a chance because you may find a great resource just by “trading” the staff of adjusters that addresses your claim needs every day.
Change can be good, and competition can be healthy. It is hard to adapt to change in the beginning, but you have to be patient and let it run its course. It is only when you do not change that you can never be evolving into something greater.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: [email protected].
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