7 Ways to Build a Claims
Culture of Continuing Education
By Kevin Quinley, CPCU, AIC, ARM
Independent adjusters can differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace by pursuing continuing education. Like it or not, we are a
credential-oriented society. A jumble of initials
after one’s name does not guarantee competence, but NOT having them does not inspire
Consider continuing education as the independent adjuster’s R&D budget. What can management teams do to weave
continuing education into the culture of independent adjusting firms? Here are seven
1 Bake it into performance reviews. Make continuing education one component of annual employee appraisals. Management gurus from Peter Drucker to Tom
Peters have said, “That which gets measured gets done.” Therefore, if you want it to
get done, then you must measure it.
2 Coach it up. Make continuing education a periodic “coaching topic/opportu-nity” with reports. Repetition, repetition, rep .. Well, you get the idea.
3 Elevate achievers and make a positive example of them. Publicly recognize and
praise those who pursue and complete continuing education.
4 Show the dough. enact corporate monetary rewards/incentives for Ce program completion. Money is still a nice carrot, as is footing the bill for the employee
and his or her spouse to attend annual conferment events and conventions.
5 Calibrate workloads to make education pursuit realistic. An adjuster struggling with 250 “heavy” files will not have the time, energy, or inclination to take an
AIC or CPCU course. Be sure to monitor caseloads. Keep them reasonable. Allow
adjusters time off to take classes, courses, to study and to sit for exams. Additionally, encourage the claims staff to take advantage of company programs that support
continuing education. Provide reasonable time and reimbursement support for Ce
pursuits. Periodically remind employees of the benefits and of ways in which the
company supports the effort to build their subject matter knowledge.
6 Make it convenient. Offer Ce classes or briefing sessions in-house, on company time. enlist someone to lead an AIC or SCLA class in a conference room once
a week. Be prepared to bring in an outside facilitator if no one in-house can fill the
role. Schedule “lunch and learn” brown bag sessions about claims topics. This could
entail inviting local defense attorneys, physicians, rehab specialists, fire investigators, and other experts. Provide space and time within your office suite for ongoing
claims training and education.
7 Lead by example. Be involved in Ce as a “boss” and make sure your reports
know that you value the activity. Nothing beats leadership by example. Do you think
that because of your title or nice office, continuing education was something that
you checked off the list? If you believe it is an “early career” activity—but not something you would bother with at this stage—then think again!
even the “boss” can roll up those sleeves and dust off the textbooks! When the
claims staff sees that the top managers pursue continuing education, they will put
stock in the time investment. It sends a powerful message that, “Our culture here
involves continuous learning, regardless of your job title.”