The Millennial Claims Writer:
Training a New Generation
WRITING WELL IS STILL AN ART
By Gary Blake
There is some angst among claims executives about the takeover of a new generation. One of the biggest worries is how
a generation raised on cell phones, text
messaging and emoticons will ever be able
to become effective writers, despite the existence of numerous template letters and
forms. They are on the doorstep: vocationally oriented millennials whose education
may not have embraced the liberal arts
smorgasbord of reading, writing, literature
and other aspects of what was once considered a well-rounded education.
It has become a national cliché that writ-
ing skills have declined over the past decade
or so and that writing errors appear fre-
quently in the media where they were once
rarities. While many millennials are very
competent writers, there have been enough
examples of millennial claims writing defi-
cits to hint at specific poor writing tenden-
cies among this group.
Following are four tips that will help
millennials and others become the “go-to”
claims professionals as they learn to effectively communicate with policyholders.
1. Spend time trying to learn a
new hire’s background as a writer.
Questions might include: What are a few of
your favorite books? How thorough were
the writing classes you took in school? How
do you feel texting, e-mail, emoticons or
other social media sources have affected
your ability to write clear, concise para-
graphs? Are you interested in becoming
an effective claims writer? You might even
ask a new hire to spell words like “notice-
able,” “embarrass” and supersede.” Don’t be
shocked if only one in 20 can spell all three.
2. Cover some writing issues
that may seem obvious to more
Templates are not perfect and may sometimes not live up to contemporary writing
practices. Some template letters have faulty
inside addresses and use old-fashioned formats more associated with the typewriter
than with the word processor (e.g., semi-block form).
Millennials need to be aware of using
impersonal phrases (e.g., “To Whom it May
It is estimated that in the next several years, 25 percent of the “old- guard” claims professionals will retire and eventually be replaced by millennials – those who were born between 1980 and 1999.