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Tenure is NOT a Core Competency

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

The most common response we get when we introduce Casentric to a casualty leader sounds something like this: “We have experienced adjusters” or “Our adjusters already do this.” In other words, we don’t need help. You have almost certainly felt this way when presented with alternatives for handling bodily injury claims and possibly even responded this way yourself. I know. I did when I was in your shoes.

So What Does Tenure Get You?

This response is natural. We value experience because with it comes (or at least should) knowledge. Injury claims are complicated and having adjusters who have handled them a long time leaves you less exposed to unspotted risks. It also requires less time explaining things. Candidates that can slide into a role with little attention or effort are more attractive.

The problem with this perspective, however, is that our data shows no connection between good settlements and the number of years someone has been handling injury claims.

When we point this out, we are greeted with one of two responses. The first is acknowledgement that tenure can breed bad habits in claims the same way it does

everywhere else. The second is surprise. The same kind of surprise you experience when you’re told those shoes don’t go with what you’re wearing. You thought they really worked well.


What we have found is that process beats tenure every day. Right steps lead to right outcomes. Tenure doesn’t create process. It does seem to create biases. This isn’t to say years on the job isn’t helpful. We enjoy working with tenured folks because they typically have the type of knowledge that helps them more quickly consume our content.

When it comes to the negotiation skills training we provide…..well, old habits die hard….even when we can demonstrate they are harmful. It’s sort of like finding reasons why you can’t quit smoking today.

As newer and younger adjusters enter the casualty ranks, knowledge won’t be the key. Negotiation will be. I have spoken with numerous leaders who all relay the same set of issues. Newer and younger adjusters are inclined to be uncomfortable with negotiation. Email and voicemail is becoming more and more common as a way to convey offers.


Saying Goodbye to Tenure

Tenure is rapidly vanishing in the industry. One of the most common challenges we hear as we speak to leaders across the industry is in finding adjusters. CLM recently covered this issue in their magazine. This places the industry on the edge of a fundamental change. The question at this point is not whether it is coming, but how it will be managed. Newer adjusters entering casualty organizations generally don’t have the experience level or the training that was available years ago.


The Difficult But Unavoidable Choice

But you don’t need someone who can convey an offer. Nearly anyone can be given that task. You need folks who can negotiate. Rapidly growing medical and injury inflation demands it. The trends of the past 10 years are more than enough evidence of this. Average injury severity has surged under the efforts of tenured staff.

The choice now is how to respond to the demographic change. Focusing on recruiting is obvious. Focusing on shifting competencies isn’t. You need individuals and a process that support negotiation as a core competency. This is why we don’t think that the industry needs another bill review or medical review vendor. The industry needs to build successful negotiation skills. If you’re interested to learn how we help our clients do this, contact us.

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