There may be no player in the NFL with more detractors than Tim Tebow. Make no mistake; he has a big following. There is, however, a contingent, including many sports analysts, who have questioned Tebow’s abilities from the time the Denver Broncos traded up to draft the quirky young quarterback from Florida.
There was much speculation that the kid, who brought a state championship to Saint Johns (Florida) County and a national championship to Gainesville, couldn’t make it in the NFL. Sure, he could work in Urban Meyer’s spread offense, but could he transition to Denver’s offensive style? They said his mechanics were off, his technique needed polishing, and that he would be nothing more than a flash in the pan.
So, how does this translate to a claims organization? Simple, aside from Tebow being an inspiration and a positive role model, he shows that there isn’t one way to do things. After all, his unorthodox style has been media fodder since the day he was drafted. Now, with a 6-1 record as a starting quarterback for the division leading Denver Broncos, he is giving people reason to pause.
Far too often claims professionals are muddled in the minutiae of processes and procedures, without recognizing that the best results come from those who think outside the box. There is a tendency to live in a world where benchmarking is all that matters, and results must fall within the parameters of the proscribed metrics without recognizing the potential unintended consequences.
Make no mistake, numbers do matter. Just as Tebow’s job security depends on numbers, in particular winning, so too does that of a claims professional. Files have to be closed, profits have to be made, policyholders must return, and customers must be satisfied. Are these things achieved by simply looking at the numbers?
If claims disposition is 100 percent, then does that mean that they were settled accurately? If monthly reports show that 100 percent of all customers were contacted within 24 hours of loss report, then does that mean that the right questions were asked? If supplement rates are dramatically reduced, then does that mean that better estimates are being written? The problem is when numbers are chased instead of results attained.
What Tebow shows is that winning can come in all shapes and forms. The same can be said for claims, where ultimate outcomes can be reached in a variety of ways, some good, and some bad. Chasing numbers for the sake of chasing numbers is bad. Getting results in a never ending quest to provide winning outcomes is good.
Perfection is hard to attain, but striving for it is an achievable goal. In 1972, the Miami Dolphins seemingly set the bar for perfection in the NFL, running the table on their way to winning the Super Bowl. While impressive, it was not perfect. Perfection would be the 1933 Providence Huskies whom not only went undefeated but, never gave up a point.
The best way to measure a claims organization is by establishing a solid quality assurance program. Not the kind of program where a manager randomly reviews a file, but one of impartiality, where total file quality is measured, benchmarked, and improved upon. Like the ‘33 Huskies and ‘72 Dolphins, the quest for perfection needs to be bred throughout the organization. A culture of transformative change and innovation needs to be embraced.
Playing Follow the Leader is easy. Across the business universe, however, the true success stories come from those who have bucked the trend, defied the odds, and came up with new and better ways to do things. Southwest Airlines changed the way people fly; Amazon.com Inc. changed the way people shop; and Apple changed the way people communicate. Herb Kelleher, Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs were not followers; they were innovators who did things differently.
Whether or not innovation changes the way an organization conducts business remains to be seen. The one certainty, however, is that those who take the lead in fostering change will gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Tim Tebow may not be John Elway but, as football fanatics are finding out, he can win. The Broncos just had to adapt to his style, instead of forcing him into their way of doing things. Maybe, just maybe, they are on to something.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi