The U.S. again has garnered worldwide acclaim for success in the 2012 London Olympic games. While there were some questions early on about Lady Liberty’s ability to outperform the Chinese, there was no doubt in the end as to the prowess of our nation’s Olympic athletes. 

From the 2012 “Dream Team” defeating Spain and Michael Phelps record breaking medal count, to dominance in the sand and amazing feats on the bars, the diversity of success should be a model for the world. It should also be a model for our claims organizations, where putting on an Olympic performance should be a daily occurrence. 

Consider the myriad of triathlons faced in these organizations on a daily basis.  

  • People, processes, procedures.  
  • Coverage, liability, damages. 
  • Hiring, promotion, retention. 
  • Training, development, research.  
  • Contacts, inspections, resolution.  
  • Communication, Customer satisfaction, policyholder retention.  
  • Investigation, evaluation, settlement. 

Now consider the tri-athletes who must effectively execute each and every day. While these adjusters, managers and executives may not have the finesse Gabby Douglas or the wow factor of Misty May Treanor, they must have the ability to fundamentally block and tackle in every aspect of the claims process. 

But there is also an important lesson that we should learn from our Olympic stars; they didn’t do it alone. The Dream Team, while extremely talented, leveraged the genius of Coach K and a whole slew of support staff and sponsors. It is these behind the scenes, often transparent, business relationships that help take sports heroes from ordinary to extraordinary. The same holds true for your claims organization, where leveraging partnerships can create a competitive advantage. 

Consider the claims organization that develops a state of the art auto physical damage repair process.  While there are many such relationships, the success is derived from the relationship between the carrier and network. 

So too would this hold true for things like forensics experts, defense counsel or technology companies.  As is stated in the Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary, success is derived from people, processes and technology. It is this triathalon of the business world that allows claims organizations, or any organization for that matter, to begin to exceed the wildest expectations of customers, shareholders and employees.  

Consider the example of a run of the mill bodily injury claim. In many organizations, the adjuster reviews the claim, settles the property damage, reviews the attorney demand and attempts to settle the claim without the need for litigation. But, was there an effort worthy of the Olympics in doing so?

During my tenure overseeing process and quality for a large multinational insurer, such claims were common place. What wasn’t commonplace was consistency, such as what we saw during the Olympics.  

It was rare that comparative negligence was assessed, despite juries’ nationwide assessing shared fault nearly half the time. Medical bills were often considered at face value, even though it was evident that treatment and charges appeared to be excessive. Attorney demands became a starting point for adjusters to negotiate against themselves. Across the board, opportunities accounting for millions of dollars were identified. 

Yet, our organization wasn’t alone. This is a common occurrence in many claims organizations faced with multiple competing challenges. With a tough economy, people are doing more with less. The workload of today is greater than at any point in recent history. Hence the need to leverage technology to assist the adjusters in achieving accurate outcomes, while limiting leakage.  

There is no question that conducting the “right” investigation takes longer than just doing a basic investigation. But, it is imperative that this basic blocking and tackling occur. Think of the Dream Team leading by just one point going into the final quarter against Spain. Would a marginal performance have sufficed?  The team focused on fundamentally executing the basis to bring home the gold. This is no different than our organizations where the basics need to be continually taught and reinforced.  

Olympic athletes train for years to shave a mere tenth of a second off of a 50 meter freestyle.   That tenth of a second is the difference between being a medal winner and going home empty handed. It is this level of detail that should be paid to training claims organizations on achieving the gold standard in investigation, evaluation, negotiation and settlement.   After all, like swimming, gymnastics or fencing, adjusting claims is an art.  

Adjusters should also have the tools to assist them in making the proper decisions, such as the price of a quarter panel, the cost of a surgical procedure, bundling of medical codes or the duties breached by a claimant. It is this combination of tools and skills that sets apart the extraordinary from the ordinary, giving some insurance carriers the ability to bring home the gold. But, unlike the Olympics, there is a chance for everyone to bring home the gold with the right people, processes and technology in place.