INC Confirms Old Adage

May 9, 2024 – Michael Marsh

The workers' compensation claims process STARTS WITH YOU!

I have long been a reader of INC magazine and online publications. My involvement in tech issues goes back to the early 1980's and little boxes that were called "IBM Compatible computers".

I've found that there are some, if not many, parallels between the articles published by INC for a 'newer' generation (newer than my 65+ year old body at least) and the age old profession of claims adjusting. In this article from INC, they are reinforcing an age old adage in the claims profession, use your mouth far less than your ears.

The claims process BEGINS and RESPONSIBILITY lies with the claims professional. First contact in the workers' compensation process is perhaps the most important step. This is why the lowest common denominator (commonly referred to as "best practices") requires immediate contact between the claims professional and the injured worker. Al of the client instructions vary, some state "Immediate" while others are as forgiving as "3 business days". Regardless of the number of hours from first report to first contact, the action of first contact is hugely important.

While I have been an outspoken advocate for face to face first contact, and have developed a claims company that strives to achieve face to face in all lost time situations, it is unrealistic to achieve that standard 100% of the time. Where face to face is not possible or unrealistic (we do have some weather in winter in Montana), the fall back is interactive video or the (*gasp*) telephone.

That first interaction is so very important. We train our claims professionals that the words exchanged at the beginning of the workers' compensation process will resonate throughout the entire claim. What are we trying to achieve with the first contact? Will the interaction leave the worker in a BETTER MIDSET to recover from their injury, or will it leave them frightened, angry or distrustful. It should be every claims professional's first order of priority to use this first interaction to lay a baseline for the worker's confidence, engagement and forward thinking not only of the period of recovery but directing their eyes in a positive way to the workers' compensation claims process exist door.

One does that by asking many questions. Let the worker talk about themselves, their family, their injurious experience, their fear and consternation of how they are "going to get by on work comp". In many cases, we've learned that allowing the worker to talk about their circumstances gives them a much enhanced view of the claims professional. They feel supported. They have a higher level of trust than they came to the comp system (many with wildly incomplete or incorrect preconceptions).

I encourage every claims professional to read this INC article and contextualize the presentation from the eyes of the injured/recovering worker.

The article:

Takeaway: Like in all interactions, using ears much more than mouth can result in a greater level of understanding and information. It also is an excellent method to use when beginning the claims process, setting a trusting and engaged environment for the worker to recover in. Also, read outside of the claims space there are many excellent lessons across all industries that can be utilized in the claims ecosystem.

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