It is now just over three weeks to Christmas. This may be a scary thought to some, wondering where all of the time has gone; it was only 11 months ago that we were starting the year. Along with the headlong rush to Christmas is the headlong rush to advance claims, either because we are going away and we want to have them stable before we go, or to achieve settlement using the impending break as a milestone to create a sense of urgency to get the claim over the line.
It is interesting that we can sometimes achieve so much in a short period of time, where there is a constructed deadline (even if it is relatively artificial), and yet at other times the claim drifts for months. Insurers are always keen on claim life and ensuring that claims are settled as quickly as possible. This typically means a happier insured and a lower claim handling cost – a claims manager once said to me “a claim never got any better for getting older”. Often the impediments to a fast claim are out of the loss adjuster’s control: the insured doesn’t supply information, the insurer takes too long to make a decision – there are a hundred reasons why there are delays.
However, invariably the loss adjuster contributes to the delay in some form. Everything must be prioritised and we can’t respond to every email and phone call the instant it comes in. Personally, this has been especially the case this year with the aftermath of the Kaikoura earthquake and the various floods (including Cyclone Debbie). Every day there is a queue of work to be done and inevitably something I would like to do today that I can’t do until tomorrow, or next week (or later sometimes). Fortunately, most people are understanding, or at least don’t know that what they experienced could have been better.
But, as I conclude the year over the next few weeks, and hopefully see some progress with my file load, I can start to turn my mind to next year. We should all be aiming to improve. None of us is perfect and for all of us there are things that we do that we can improve, however they can invariably only be improved if we consciously think about what it is we do and invest some time into thinking about how we can make ourselves better. Maybe now is not the perfect time for some, but we should make time at some point to have that reflection.
I tend to rush from thing to thing and be reactive rather than proactive. I think that I would be a better adjuster if I could do things more deliberately, rather than just responding. That is a challenge as it means planning my time in a way that is difficult when you feel like you have insufficient time, but no improvement is made without hard work.
Whether now, or over the upcoming break, or in the New Year, I encourage each of you to think about what improvement you could challenge yourself to make to become a better adjuster.
Kind regards Leon Briggs, Chartered Loss Adjuster President – AICLA