Did You Send A Holiday Card?

december 26, 2017 – Michael Marsh

The end of the calendar year brings with it holidays that many in the United States observe, celebrate. For two years, 2020 and 2021, many across the world have struggled with challenges, both physical and mental. From COVID illness to death, from vaccination status to masks, from when to speak out and when to remain quiet. Two very long years. Many illnesses. Far too many deaths. Regardless of one’s personal view on the cause of the pandemic or the best approach to take to minimize exposure to disease, we have all been touched.

As the 2021 holiday season approached, I was moved to try to look at the bigger picture. Where are we all going? What’s the meaning? When will it end? These questions typically don’t have hard and fast answers, and this year is not outlier.

I have been moved by the actions of others to shape my approach to this series of holidays and action plan for 2022. In summary, do for others.

Many that I talk with make donations. Donations of time to their local place of worship or as volunteers at the local rescue mission to serve meals to those in need. Others are comfortable donating money or items of value to local organizations. Sweaters. Coats. Socks. Boots. Gloves. Food. Helping people in need. We can all do something. I try to do a bit of each: monetary, goods and time donations. The Rescue Mission, the Food Bank, Kids’ Chance, Rookies of ’79, the school district Angel program and others have my support each year.

Each year I try to spend some time looking at the past year’s plans, successes, epic failures and just plain humorous moments. Are there lessons to be learned? Did I do enough? Where might my efforts lead to more fruitful results? The week after Christmas and before the ringing in of the new year is in my world one of the most important of the year. Try it. If you are with a partner, do the process together…each separately do your self-evaluation and one segment for your shared vision and actions. Taking time to review what we have done, the context in which we have lived, and what we envision for the coming year can be very powerful.

One of the powerful moments in my 2021 was once again meeting Dr. Claire Muselman. Claire was a speaker at the Montana Governor’s Conference on Workers’ Compensation, again addressing the concept of recovering worker engagement in the claims process. Dressed in a dress of flashy sequins and high heels for a mid-afternoon talk, Dr. Meselman was both memorable and outstanding, getting hundreds of claims folks to stop for a minute to consider the claims process from the worker’s point of view. Claire is a powerful voice in our industry. We need more people like Claire.

Why mention Dr. Muselman? Because her giant smile and universal message of support for the 99 percent (recovering workers with no component of fraud) led me to an additional thought this holiday season:

Did you send a Holiday card to your recovering injured workers?

The tens of thousands of claims professionals, some in offices, many others working in a spare bedroom at home in from of a computer screen, have guidelines, account instructions, audit guidelines and delegation of authority requirements to follow. Buttons to push. Diaries and reminders to show as completed. Nearly endless details to fulfill the basic Best Practice requirements of so many different employers, insureds, agents and brokers.

The question however may be more broad than simply fulfilling the Best Practice requirements. It needs to also include a personal connection. If we are to truly ‘engage’ the recovering workers with whom we work, is there enough time allotted to enabling this engagement? Are you as a supervisor assisting your adjusters to create those engagement opportunities?

On the measurement scale of recovering worker engagement, where do you personally fall? Where is your organization? When was the last time that your organization hired an unbiased outside firm to randomly interview 1% or 2% of your recovering workers with currently open claims? Does your annual review and incentive process include a component for recovering worker feedback about how they were treated?

To finish off the year, please think about this question: Did you send a Holiday card to your recovering injured workers? This may give you a great deal of insight where you and your organization may fall on the spectrum of recovering worker engagement.

Takeaway: A good measure of one's commitment to recovering injured worker engagement in the claims process to to measure how close or far you are from living and working in context of the question: Did you send a Holiday card to your recovering injured workers?

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