I have been a very good adjuster this year. As you know, I have endured yet another year handling claims. I have dealt with leadership changes, protocol adjustments, reporting layout changes, staffing issues, and so on. I worked so much I barely was able to use my vacation time, per usual. It seems like this year was more stressful than others, with the constant law changes, and a lot of employee turnover, but I weathered the storm and did the best that I could.
You know what time of year it is. Every year I ask you to help me out, and honestly sometimes you do. It’s not that I am ungrateful! Trust me, with this economy I am happy to be working. I’m only asking for a few little things to make the days less stressful. Please do what you can, and I promise to be a good adjuster all of 2013. My wish list is below; please call me if you have any questions.
- Easy to Use, Efficient Claims Technology
Santa, I would love to have some software that is less cumbersome to use day in and day out. I know advancements have been made since the days of DOS operated systems, and these have been great. But it seems like with every new technology that gets rolled out, it means that I have to input more and more information. This is great when running reports and doing other tasks, but it takes up hours of my day inputting every little thing off of a clickable menu to add into the profile of a claimant. Is all of this really essential to the handling of the claim? I really don’t think so. All I am asking for is a little user friendliness for the adjuster. Clicking the mouse is great, but not when I have to scroll through hundreds and hundreds of ICD-9 codes looking for a head contusion.
- Less Micromanagement
The executives of my company must have been real good girls and boys last year, because it seems like there are more of them than ever. Sometimes I feel like Peter Gibbons from that movie Office Space when he mentions that he has 8 different bosses. Santa, I know you just want to make sure everyone is happy, but it is very hard to work when I am not sure which boss I will be reporting to on any given day. Each boss has their own style, and apparently it is my job to interpret those nuances and make them happy. Some bosses like wordy, lengthy reports while others prefer succinct emails as updates on files. Some bosses need to authorize me setting up an IME on a file, and others even want to pick the doctor for the case. Even worse, I cannot make a decision on a file as to whether it is even compensable or not. Santa, you know I have been doing this job for 15 years. I think I am competent enough to determine if a minor back strain with no lost time from work is compensable or not.
- Decreased Claim Count
In addition to the above, I would love it if I had less files to handle on any given day. By doing this, I would be able to do my job so much better, instead of just putting out whatever fire popped up on this particular day. Now I know this may mean that my company may have to hire more people, but I think that is a good thing. Lots of people are looking for work. Smart, young, educated people who would have fantastic claims careers. So give them a shot, and let them on board. The more adjusters the merrier.
- Decreased Phone Calls
Since I have been mentioning adding more staff to my company, can’t we also add a team of people whose job it is to answer incoming calls? I mean, they could be capable of giving out our fax number, or our billing address. You see Santa every phone call takes precious time away from my actual job of investigating and handling claims. Sure, these annoying phone calls might only be 2 minutes in length, but it I get 20 of them per day, imagine all the time per month I am wasting! I’d even be willing to help out the phone people if they cannot handle the call. Tell them they can transfer the call to me anytime they want to. But please, consider the creation of this new department. I would be a hero to my claim team.
- No More Report Layout Changes
I know that change is important, and inevitable, but why does management always change the reporting protocol and layout at the exact time when I figure out the old changes? Now, I have to learn a new layout all over again. Not only does this slow me down, but I have to attend 3 separate training sessions, going through each new field one by one, and this is taking up a lot of my time. Now when I get back to my desk, I have 5 new voicemails I have to return by the end of the day, or else I get in trouble and my boss gets upset with me. What was wrong with the old layout? Must we constantly keep reinventing the wheel? Reporting is just meant to be a guideline of what is going on with the claim, not a breakdown of day to day activity that covers the span of the last 7 months.
- Recognition for Doing a Great Job on a Claim
Santa this is very important. My boss rarely if ever comes by my cubicle to tell me that I did a good job on a certain file, and that our client is very happy with the way I have been handling their claims. A tiny compliment like that would make my day—even my week! This doesn’t cost the company a dime, unless of course they would like to take me out to lunch to thank me for a job well done. I really like lunches outside of the office, and I think it might motivate me to continue to do a good job. It is surprising what a free soup and sandwich can do for my morale.
- Workplace Flexibility with Telecommuting, Working from Home, etc.
Now I know this is a long shot, but maybe just maybe could we try a few work at home days during 2013? As you know, I have an hour commute each way to and from the office, usually in heavy freeway traffic. I have adjuster pals of mine at other companies that get to work 2 days per week at home. Not only do they not have to drive to work on those days, but they tell me they actually get more work done, because the distractions of the office aren’t there. So give it a shot, it might make all of us more efficient in the end.
So there you have it Santa. I think the above seven wishes would be awesome. I know that you probably cannot make all of them come true, but I would be happy with 2 or 3 out of 7. Well, who am I kidding—I would be happy if even one of these things were implemented! So do what you can big guy, and I promise I will be the best adjuster you have ever seen in 2013 and beyond. Until next time, have safe travels on your big day and we will talk to you next year.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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