Okay, maybe the title of this blog doesn’t have the ring of a certain credit card company’s tag line, however, it should. At Casentric, we think a lot about what makes top performing adjusters better.
You might ask how we define a claims organization’s top adjusters? Top performers are those who consistently achieve the best negotiated settlements with claimants in third party bodily injury cases. They follow a process that works and can demonstrate that it works. This is important because, by documenting that process, you can train others for greater success.
You might wonder how we evaluate negotiated settlements. Casentric has developed a methodology and metrics for, among other things, evaluating settlements that normalize results across injury types and severity.
Do you know who your best performers are? The results might surprise you! Casentric’s analysis of results shows that adjusters who use CaseXpert® and follow a process to negotiate settlements achieve results that are consistently one-third to one-half the amount of other adjusters. We can understand how those results were accomplished and use that information to help others learn.
Here are some of our observations about adjusters who consistently produce the best settlement results measured in dollars and severity:
Following Casentric’s advice, top performers spend less time evaluating and preparing for negotiation than they did previously. It would be common, and even expected, to think that a better result would come from more effort, not less, but this isn’t the case. Top performers relay that CaseXpert® reports contain everything they need for negotiating with plaintiff attorneys and that it simply didn’t make sense for them to prepare their own independent and separate analysis.
With Casentric’s focus on negotiation as a core skill, our training stresses the value of keeping plaintiff attorneys engaged in negotiations to reduce the likelihood of attorneys using threats of suit to pressure adjusters for more money. In this regard, top performers don’t respond to threats from plaintiff attorneys with increased offers. Instead, they challenge the rationale of litigation threat in a way that deflates it. For example, top performers will ask, “How will filing suit change the questions we are asking?”.
Top performers focus on questions to ask and use such questions to manage negotiations with plaintiff attorneys. Note: CaseXpert® reports include questions to ask plaintiff attorneys, which helps adjusters think more strategically about their conversations with plaintiff lawyers.
Top performers focus on the injury first and use medical facts to confirm how injured the plaintiff really is. This means leveraging practical insights from a claimant’s records, such as the lack of impact on the claimant’s ability to work or demonstrable functional loss. This is significant because discussion of injury cases should begin and end with the claimant's true function level, which is the most fundamental element of their claim, rather than how much they treated for diagnoses and complaints.
Top performers don’t attempt to know every detail of a case because it’s not necessary. While adjusters spend considerable time seeking to "know" the case, top performers understand it’s more important to know what they will focus on and make the centerpiece of discussions with a plaintiff attorney. In a way, it’s similar to what plaintiff attorneys do in focusing on medical costs.
Top performers choose two to three key elements to discuss in their discussions with plaintiff attorneys and keep others in reserve to layer in as the negotiation progresses. In other words, they don't throw everything at once at the plaintiff attorney. This helps the adjuster to be confident about what they discuss. Trying to know everything about a case does not result in an adjuster being prepared. When confronted with "surprises" in negotiations, the solution is to listen, ask questions and use the responses as a reason for follow-up discussions.