Supervisors actively involved in reviewing the files of their direct reports can drive better outcomes and improve claims performance, according to a recently released report from Towers Watson. While 86% of the survey participants said they "empower their supervisors to make decisions and provide direction to their teams because it delivers the most value," the supervisors often fail to capitalize on that authority because they spend too little time reviewing their direct reports' files.

While supervisors said they budgeted 2 to 6 hours a day for supervisors to review files, in reality the majority (51%) were spending only 2 to 4 hours on this task, while 26% spent 4 to 6 hours, and 20% only 1 to 2 hours. The two key barriers to superior claims performance were identified as ineffective supervision (60%) and passive claim handling (77%).

The study identified a critical link between effective supervision and vital claim functions such as customer service and cost containment. Supervisors who review cases can provide valuable guidance on which cases will require less time and effort to resolve and which will require more time and attention. According to the study, "proactive supervision facilitates and encourages proactive claim handling (and best practice execution), and the two are inextricably linked."

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