Even before the BP oil spill, many recognized that we live in a world increasingly intolerant of mistakes and, even worse, attempts to cover them up.

Whether it’s Sarah Palin making up the word “refudiates,” Mel Gibson’s taped rants, or BP’s initial lack of sensitivity toward the human anguish caused by this summer’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the backlash can be immediate and mighty. “Everyone it seems,” said writer Nancy Franklin, “is a media hound and a media watchdog and a media attack dog.”

How can claim departments learn from the communication gaffes of others? Maybe the best answer is to be proactive in making sure that a variety of systems are in place to keep an eye on all aspects of the department that feed into interaction with customers.

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