Members of the claim management team play an essential role in handling a workers’ compensation claim. When they perform their job successfully, they can make the right decisions to pay all benefits promptly. The result is an efficient workers’ compensation program that reduces program costs.
Challenges arise during the interactions a claim handler has during any given day. This includes working with team members, interacting with the injured employee, and navigating the sometimes complicated relationships with other interested stakeholders. Now is the time to recognize a successful team member’s trait when each claim handler is a successful team member.
Prioritizes Project Outcomes
Claim handlers face many challenges during the workday. Even if they arrive to work, things can go “sideways” the minute they turn on their computer and start reviewing missed calls. A successful claim handler needs to take control of the many demands they face daily and perform the following steps as they take into consideration the priorities of the team:
- Prepare a complete list of items that need to be accomplished;
- Rank each item based on importance to the team – giving greater weight to the vital tasks
- Highlight the most urgent items – the “A1 priorities;”
- Avoid competing priorities;
- Consider time and effort; and
- Be realistic. Everyone has only 24 hours in a day.
Now is the time to prioritize.
Productive and Focused on the Team’s Work Without Distraction
Last year we all learned how to pivot when faced with change. This included being forced to work remotely and not have in-person interaction. Successful claim handlers need to take the lessons of last year and apply them to their work.
- Turn off the background noise if necessary. This can include turning off your personal phone to avoid unnecessary distractions;
- Clean up your workspace. This allows you to know where something is. In a paperless environment, this can include closing applications on your computer that are not being used;
- Take it one day at a time – one thing at a time. The concept of “multi-tasking” is often a myth. Studies show when this habit occurs, people tend to take longer to complete a project;
- Take a break – get some fresh air. It is important to be true to yourself and avoid burnout. Taking a short walk can help “re-charge the batteries.”
Taking the time to prioritize pay dividends.
Follows Agreed-Upon Priorities and is Dependable
Successful claim handlers need to follow the direction of their supervisor and upper management. When a claim handler is not following the lead of directions, they are giving the team cannot move forward.
It is also essential to be a dependable team member. This goes beyond showing up for work and ensuring one is not taking extra time on breaks. Items to consider should include:
- Responding to all email and voicemail messages promptly;
- Letting others know when you are not in the office. This can include changing your voicemail greeting and “out of office” reminder on email; and
- Being a fully engaged professional at all meetings – even when it is a meeting you do not need to attend.
Shares Expertise and Exhibits Flexibility
Adapt, improve, and overcome. This needs to become the mantra of anyone interested in becoming a successful claim handler. When these steps are taken, one can improve workplace efficiency and close open files.
This also includes developing expertise in various claim management issues. The areas of emphasis are endless. This can include understanding and sharing tips on essential issues such as:
- Claim investigation techniques and how to make valid denials;
- Understanding concepts in “arising out of,” “in the course of” matters, and applicable defenses to a claim;
- Determining when a claim should be referred to defense counsel and selecting the right attorney; and
- Accurately calculating an average weekly wage;
Being flexible and sharing your knowledge improves the collective whole. Now is the time to become a more robust claim handler.
Participates in Team Improvement Activities
Like an athlete, practice makes perfect. Practice also needs to be an ongoing process that never stops. High-performing claim handlers have mastered the art of never resting on their laurels by seeking to improve their skill and ability.
Claim handlers have a difficult job because they are faced with an ever-increasing list of demands from internal and external clients. By taking the above steps, they can increase their abilities and become a better team member. They also help the entire team and help improve workers’ compensation claim programs for their clients.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is the founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center, which offers the Certified Master of Workers’ Compensation national designation.
Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/
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