Walt Disney once said: “All of our dreams can come true if wehave the courage to pursue them.”

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So why not let 2015 be the year that these dreams come tofruition? With a new year upon us, have you given consideration toyour professional goals and resolutions for 2015?

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According to experts, the most popular resolutions of losingweight, finding a mate, or being a better person last an average ofthree weeks. But what about making resolutions that you can stickto because they will have a big financial impact on your bottomline?

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Let's face it, this year is a new book with 365 pages upon whichto write our futures. Perhaps the best place to start is withimproving revenues in an increasingly challenging economy. Betteryet, how about picking resolutions that are destined to generatemoney without requiring an investment of new funds?

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While this may sound too good to be true, the reality is thatthere are 15 simple resolutions out there that are guaranteed tohave a significant impact on a company's bottom line.

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Read on for the full list.

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Money

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1. Finding free loot is always a favorite of mine! According togovernment records, there is $35 billion in unclaimed funds owed toindividuals and businesses. You can search for your own personalgoldmine at www.unclaimed.org.

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2. How about finding money for your claims organization? Did youknow that 15 percent of all claims are closed with a missedsubrogation opportunity? There are key steps that can be taken toensure that adjusters are proactively identifying recoveries duringthe course of the claim. There are also some reactive steps thatcan be taken by capturing critical data points that have a highprobability of identifying these missed opportunities on closedfiles. A simple place to start in the auto insurance sector is theidentification of paid collision features with no associated PDpayments.

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3. Did you know that only 3 percent of claims are closed with acomparative negligence assessment? According to Jury VerdictReporter, more than half of all claims adjudicated involveintersections, slip and falls, and other scenarios where sharedliability is likely to be assessed by a jury. By leveraging technology and training, organizations can addsignificantly to their bottom line through improved comparativenegligence recognition and assessment.

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4. How about trying something new? The P&C industry is oftenviewed as being comfortable with the status quo. After all, humansare creatures of habit. We don't like change since it disrupts ourroutine. Like death and taxes, however, change is one of life'sonly certainties. So don't wait for the change; be the change. Use2015 as the catalyst to take your claims organization from ordinary to extraordinary. Themost successful organizations in any industry are the facilitatorsof change. As Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) so eloquently put it inCaddyshack, “Just be the ball.”

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5. Take business networking to a new level. Facebook, Plaxo, andLinkedIn are all great places to leverage for both personal andprofessional information. Consider these 33 ways to use LinkedIn to grow your business.

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Smart goals

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6. Set SMART goals. Metrics need to be defined with thefollowing five aspects:

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Specific. Rather than “improve subrogation,”the goal should be set to a specific outcome such as a 10 percentimprovement in subrogation referrals over the prior year.

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Measureable. Organizations must have anobjective rather than subjective mechanism for accurately measuringmetrics. For instance, it is often assumed that there is a lot ofinsurance fraud in Miami, but what if you could actually measureand track exactly where there is real fraud in Miami or any othervenue by using industry data?

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Attainable. Goals should be realistic. Aspreviously mentioned, the industry average rate of comparativeassessment is 3 percent. By leveraging key technology, such asClaimIQ, users typically find attainable results of 15 to 25percent depending on jurisdiction and level of expertise. While notsuggesting that this is an attainable goal overnight, it isrealistic for those who make the decision to leverage proventechnology to drive long-term results.

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Relevant. Metrics should be relevant to theposition. For example, putting salvage disposition in a subrogationadjuster performance evaluation may not be relevant to the jobfunction. This holds true across the claims organization where amyriad of processes are measured. The key to success is to ensurethe right metrics are applied to the right positions.

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Time bound. Again, specificity is critical tooutcomes. Rather than saying we need to reduce BI severities, itshould be phrased that we need to reduce leakage in BI evaluationsby the end of the year by a specific percentage. The key to successlies with implementing a method of identifying the leakage throughproven medical bill audits that address benchmark medical pricing,relatedness and duration of treatment coupled with deceptivepractices such as upcoding, unbundling or modifier abuse.

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Innovation

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7. Look for others who can show you something you don't alreadyknow! Often looking outside of one's industry can provide a wealthof ideas to raise the bar. Look to companies such as Samsung,Southwest, Amazon, Verizon, Toyota or Apple to see how thesecompanies have transformed entire industries.

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8. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Of course, once the bar hasbeen raised, it becomes par for the course to emulate success.Certainly copying is a form of flattery and at times it may work,but doesn't it stand to reason that those who have already raisedthe bar once will simply do it again? So rather than simply playingcatch up, take the risks necessary to guide your organization intothe lead.

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9. Refine hiring practices. People are the core of anyorganization—claims or otherwise. The caveat is that the rightpeople become our greatest assets, the wrong people our greatestchallenges. While people are critical to outcomes, industrysupremacy will not come from people alone! The key is to developcritical qualities that define your best and brightest and then usea combination of hiring strategies and personality testing to bringthe right people into your organization, and more importantly,retain them.

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Football play

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10. Process fundamentals. There is a reason that football teamspunch the ball up the middle more frequently than any other play;because it works. A quick handoff to the running back is the surestway to get yards. It is not fancy, it is not glamorous, but itworks. Sure, teams will mix it up, but at the end of the day it isfundamental strategy that gets the job done. The same can be saidin claims organizations where the basics are often forsaken withthe hopes that technology will be the savior. Can technology help?Yes. Can it replace fundamentals? No. It takes a combination ofpeople, processes and technology to drive improved accuracies andoutcomes. Technology improves results based on its execution bypersonnel. Consider the billions of uncollected dollars as theresult of improper liability assessments and missed subrogationopportunities. People need to be the front line; processimprovement and efficiency comprise the playbook. Technology willjust make them better.

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11. Don't be afraid of innovation, which becomes the keydifferentiator among organizations that effectively block andtackle. Technology allows adjusters to be more productive andefficient, ultimately improving claims accuracies while reducingexpenses. Consider the simple act of reviewing an attorney demand.A well-schooled adjuster may be able to identify deceptive billingpractices, such as upcoding or unbundling. But this takes time andadjusters are busy. Leveraging technology to do the heavy liftingallows them to more effectively push claims to closure in a shorterperiod of time.

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12. Keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the important thingsthroughout the year and chances are your results will improvesignificantly. Distractions in claims organizations abound and toooften it's easier to take the path of least resistance.

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What's next?

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13. Have fun. There is nothing worse than an organization thatsucks the fun out of life. At their core, claims organizationsprovide a difficult environment. From customers who may not behappy to shareholders demanding better results, it's the claimspersonnel often receive their ire. After all, we spend the money.Creating a positive environment may seem challenging, but with theright people it can be accomplished.

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14. Look to 2020. I once had boss who encouraged me to look wellinto the future. His mantra was that we had people to handletoday's tactical work and our job as claims leaders was to lookstrategically five years into the future. What will the worldof claims look like in five years? How will factors liketelemetrics, glassware and even flying cars change the landscape ofinsurance claims? How will we use our knowledge of what is to cometo gain a competitive advantage?

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15. Leverage business partners with a proven record of success.True success takes a myriad of partnerships with those who haveaccess to a wealth of resources and best practices that can assistclaims executives in driving execution and outcomes.

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With a new year upon us, now is the time to exhibit the courageto pursue dreams and make 2015 the happiest, healthiest and mostprosperous year ever!

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Christopher Tidball is a casualty claims consultant andauthor of multiple books including Re-Adjusted: 20Essential Rules to Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary toExtraordinary! He spent more than 20 years as an adjuster,manager and business leader with multiple top tier insurancecompanies. To learn more, visitwww.christidball.com.

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