I’ve had the privilege of speaking at a number of industry events this year and one of the topics that frequently comes up is how much this industry is changing. Technology has transformed the way adjusters, claims managers,
risk managers, subrogation specialists and SIU investigators do their jobs. They
have more tools available to track customers’ buying habits and investigate their
losses. Social media has become an important source of information for claims
managers and attorneys. Policyholders can now self-adjust some losses using
their mobile devices — allowing them to schedule services almost immediately
when a claim is filed.
The industry is about to undergo another major change as 25 percent of the
claims workforce retires in the next three years according to a study by McKinsey
and Co. Consider the years of experience that will be walking out the door —
individuals who can look at a claim and know immediately it will involve complex
issues that must be addressed early on to prevent costs from getting out of
control on the back end.
They know which vendors are best suited to handle specific types of claims.
They are CAT adjusters who have handled claims from Agnes, Hugo, Andrew,
Gloria, Irene, Katrina, Sandy and countless other storms, as well as tornadoes and
wildfires. These seasoned pros know how a car is put together, what damage
from a rear-end collision really looks like, how much water can pour into a
basement from a toilet overflow, and whether or not a fire started with a knocked
over candle or was deliberately set. They recognize the red flags in Workers’
Compensation cases and how to mitigate them for the benefit of employers
These men and women have more than paid their dues in an industry that
required them to work 24/7 at times, miss family holidays and events, and put
their policyholders’ needs ahead of everyone else. It is frequently a difficult and
thankless job, but it is a noble and important calling even though many may fail
to realize its significance.
This month we look at how the talent gap will affect insurers going forward.
It will change their work structures, their corporate environments and how they
service their clients as the next generation of workers comes into the field with
their own goals and ideas. We also look back at some of the lessons learned from
Katrina — which devastated so much of the Gulf Coast 10 years ago this month.
To all of you who put on your Superman and Wonder Woman capes
before you head out the door each morning, thank you for working in such a
challenging and dynamic industry and for demonstrating the value and service
insurers provide to so many policyholders every day.
Patricia L. Harman, Editor-in-Chief