The 80/20 rule is a common saying in insurance. It refers to the theory that about 20 percent of insureds generate 80 percent of claims. When dealing with too many “worst case scenarios,” however, claims professionals can develop a myopic view of insureds. This is where formal and hands-on learning come into play. Donna J. Popow, Esq., CPCU, AIC, explains how education helps cultivate a better understanding of claims handling and the business overall. She also says that striking a balance between hectic workloads and professional development is easier than one might think.
Claims professionals often report being overworked. How attainable is education and specialized training in this pressure cooker environment?
I started in claims in 1977 and I don’t think a year went by that we weren’t complaining of being overworked. Having said that, I do think the change in the way claims are handled has put an increased burden on file handlers in terms of file documentation and additional reporting and data entry work. So I can empathize with overworked claims personnel and acknowledge that companies are doing more with less. It is always debatable as to whether claims organizations have ample resources.
Specialized or more formal training equips you with expanded business acumen. By their nature, claims people tend to focus entirely on the claims world. However, you will get a broader view of the industry through education. In turn, this makes you a more valuable employee. A formal program, assuming that you have picked an area in which you are either currently involved or should be, will increase your technical competency.
Formal education for any insurance professional will position that individual and, by extension, the employer to be more competitive. If an independent adjusting firm can say that 95 percent of their staff have an associate in claims designation from the Institutes, then that is a clear metric. An employer can point to this, and their clients should see that those people are making a concerted effort to stay on top of things. Also, education gives you a better understanding of global issues that impact insurance both today and in the future. Continuing education is clearly a high-value proposition.