They have many balls in the air at one
time: caseloads, phone calls, e-mails,
meetings and projects. Today’s claims
professional faces distractions and chal-
lenges that adjusters of 30 years ago did
not: social media, e-mail, web surfing,
smart phones, instant messaging, etc. So
many stimuli vie for adjusters’ attention
that it is tough to focus on tasks requiring
#6. Adaptability to change.
In claims operations as in corporate Amer-
ica, the more things change, the more they
stay the same. Today’s adjuster work envi-
ronment is dynamic. Change comes daily,
often without warning.
You get a new boss. The company
switches to a new software that you must
learn from scratch. Procedures change for
the company or for clients. Layoffs ensue.
Your employer is acquired by or merges
with another company. Two of your adjusters quit or transfer to another department. You have to relocate to another
branch. A key attorney you rely on for
claim defense retires, relocates or repositions her practice to the plaintiff side. Your
settlement and reserve authority is slashed.
The boss returns from a corporate retreat,
brimming with ideas from the latest book
by the business guru du jour, holding THE
panacea for operational problems.
To paraphrase a bumper sticker, “stuff
happens.” Change is inevitable in the dynamics of a claims department. The ability to roll with the punches and to adapt
to change is critical.
Scott Kilgras, a senior claim representative with Mutual of Enumclaw in
Medford, Ore. says, “the hardest thing
about being an adjuster is balancing two
very different sets of personality traits.”
First, he notes, a claims adjuster must
be dispassionate. Amidst confusion, uncertainty and wide ranging emotions,
an adjuster must see evidence logically,
avoid addressing problems personally,
and approach decisions on a fact-based
and logical basis.
Second, Kilgras adds that an adjuster
must balance the logical dispassion with
genuine warmth, sincerity and empathy.
“Many unsuccessful or unhappy adjusters
don’t lack the training to do the job,” Kil-
gras states, “they lack the basic personal-
ity traits to be claim adjusters.”
It’s a wonder that we call these six traits
“soft” skills. They’re hard to master but crit-
ical to success in any business environment.
Successful claims professionals will
blend a toolbox of technical expertise
with finely honed soft skills to launch
their careers and drive their companies
Kevin Quinley, CPCU, is the Principal of
Quinley Risk Associates LLC. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.