From the April 2012 issue of Claims Magazine • Subscribe!

Springing Into Action

This past winter was hardly bleak, but there is undeniable magic in the air—or, as I found while watering a hanging planter, a random bird’s nest with tiny eggs tucked inside. Yes. Just like that, one’s life can resemble a Disney movie, blue birds chirping, sans the vast inexplicable fortune and talking animals capable of sewing and carpentry.

Perhaps like me, you have a twinge of spring-induced ADHD. Who can blame us? Much like those grinning tulips vying for your attention, we here at Claims understand the daily hustle and bustle leave nil room for luxuriating or digging through muddled information for clues or vague pointers. This issue features a smattering of a wide swath of timely topics (be sure to check out our litigation roundup) to bolster your knowledge and spark conversation with your peers or perhaps that unsuspecting passenger seated next to you on a flight. We want to ensure this spring marks a renewal in your commitment to yourself, your career development, and your pride in honing your craft as a claims professional.

In my March note, I alluded to managing reputational risk. The Goldman Sachs resignation letter heard ‘round the world illustrates what can happen when management fails…miserably, and also how mitigating certain risks will ultimately lead to an organization’s demise or renaissance. I urge you to read Denise Tessier’s recent blog, “Don’t Duck Reputational Risk in ERM,” which can be easily found in the PropertyCasualty360.com repository. In it, she explores how Aflac quickly and creatively responded to a massive reputational risk.

“Not only did Aflac avoid potentially disastrous financial losses, they turned the incident completely around into an incredible marketing opportunity,” Tessier wrote. She went on to illustrate how effective mitigation involves both prioritizing risk management and realizing the threats, which could range from fraud to poor morale and mishandled claims and litigation. Of course, more indirect sources include those oft-lamented bad-apple stories of rogue (and rude) adjusters that tarnish the industry’s image.

Ideally, your claims organization should outline policies and procedures relating to risks in a concise, ever-evolving manual. Beginning on page 20, Tessier masterfully arranges a canvas from which we can paint guides as unique as the organizations themselves while paying close attention to the basics of compliance and best practices with each delicate brush stroke. Because, let’s face it, so many liabilities arise not from a lack of earnestness but rather from insufficient forethought and, sometimes, not taking pride in one’s work.  

What role does ‘taking pride in a job well done’ play in motivating your employees these days? We’ll circle back with some familiar faces in the May issue to discuss the role of establishing an effective “tone at the top.” I hope you’ll enjoy spring break—whether that entails attending the PLRB/LIRB conference in Orlando Fla. or carving out time to quietly reflect on and renew your commitment to learning. While you’re at it, think about those around you who are getting it right and tell us about them. (Ahem, see below) For now, I’m tired of talking. Let’s hear from you!

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