are much different from those where it is
not legal. There may be claim exposures
where state and federal law conflict.
A claims professional has a responsibility to remain unbiased and objective
when weighing facts. Where one’s beliefs
exist on the spectrum of opinions about
marijuana from supporting medical use
to feeling marijuana is a gateway drug
to more behavioral and addiction issues,
those personal opinions must not conflict
with providing a fair and objective investigation and weighing of facts. If an adjuster’s beliefs are at odds with the legal situation, such that a conflict arises, it should
be disclosed and a possible recusal from
the matter should be considered.
There are tough issues out there these
days. Claims professionals must remain
objective and comply with legal and ethical standards that apply.
Manage risks in dealing with difficult
people. In the face of a difficult, mad or
irate person, professionalism depends
upon employing strategies to mitigate
risks and diffuse or avoid escalation. This
is true for businesses, as well as claims professionals. In the face of a difficult person,
a number of strategies can be employed:
1. Listen well to the customer.
2. Hear their need and assess how responsively and thoroughly their need can
3. When it is not possible to satisfy the
customer, and the “feeling brain” struggles for dominance over for the “thinking
brain,” remain calm.
4. Do not take it personally. Recognize
5. If behaviors escalate and calm is no
longer the reality, concluding an interaction can be the safest and prudent outcome for that time.
6. Determining an alternative time to
discuss the matter can offer a chance for
emotions to diffuse.
7. When parties are unable to resolve
complaints and conflict themselves, alternatives are reasonable to consider, including involving supervisors, and even
law enforcement when necessary.
Make sound claim decisions. Through
Good risk management
the cooperation between the insured, the
local authorities, and our office, we were
able to provide the insurer with solid ma-
terial related to the investigation for their
is smart business
Through the lens of this investigation, despite a less than savory impression for this
type of business establishment by some,
their actions reflected those of a competent professional in their manner of interacting as well as good risk management to
mitigate any exposures. With the inherent
controversial nature of this business product, their responsible actions held a sense
of credibility necessary to help support a
fair and reasonable outcome.
Claims adjusters must work to deliver
on the promises that exist in an insurance policy. By understanding the needs
of a unique customer, and responsively
providing the promised services, the industry can help ensure fair and just outcomes, even in the face of unique products, services and exposures. Professional
interactions and good risk management
are smart business.
Susan Daniels ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the
president of the National Association
of Independent Insurance Adjusters
(NAIIA), and is the president of Alaska-based Northern Adjusters. Mike Neroda
( email@example.com) is a senior property
casualty adjuster at Northern Adjusters,
an employee-owned business.
IN STATES WHERE MARIJUANA HAS BEEN
LEGALIZED, THE LIABILITY QUESTIONS ARE
MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THOSE WHERE IT
IS NOT LEGAL.
253-213-5095 | 800-916-7038
WA lic# 2856