Burnout rates are an increasing crisis that the insuranceindustry must examine closely, according to recent findings fromthe Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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“The BLS identifies burnout as inherent in the stressful natureof claim adjusting processes,” said Lee Fogle, vice president ofInsurance Services Office. “High case loads are compounded bypressures to meet increasing regulatory requirements and byperformance standards that often involve excessive clericaltasks.

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“The current situation is not helped by the aging work force asa whole,” he continued. “The average age for claim handlers iscurrently over 40 and the BLS predicts that the need for new claimhandlers will increase by 19 percent over the next 10 years.”

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In response to the BLS statistics, ISO conducted a Measure ofExcellence study at a major insurance company. The study hasidentified areas in which improved processes and technology canstreamline claim management, reduce case loads, and lower stressfor claim handlers. ISO highlighted some key elements fordecreasing the likelihood of adjuster burnout, including improvingthe visibility of the claim process, establishing trainingprograms, and evaluating claims more accurately andefficiently.

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There are a number of remedies for employee burnout, accordingto Claims-Portal.com, an online resource for claim jobs and otherinformation. Creating an atmosphere that promotes health andemphasizes balance can go a long way toward reducing stress. Thesite also recommends allowing employees to chat about mattersunrelated to work as a means of decreasing tension.

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Job diversity is important, particularly for employees who mustperform repetitive tasks. This also can benefit employers bybroadening employees' skills and making them more versatile.

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Another way to avoid burnout is to increase the amount ofcontrol that an employee has in his work. An employee who feelsthat he has a choice in what he is doing, even if it is a smallchoice, is more likely to feel better about his job.

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Lastly, Claims-Portal recommends appropriate staffing levels.“It is okay to ask your employees to give 110 percent occasionally,but not every day,” the site warns. In addition, companies need toprovide competitive personal leave and vacation benefits, andremember to recognize and reward employees for theiraccomplishments and contributions.

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