By: Scott Rogers, Chief Client Officer, Sedgwick
Most employers find that a partnership with the right third party administrator can help them meet their risk management goals and create a positive experience for their injured employees and customers. In Part I of this article series, we looked at how to evaluate and select the right claims administrator for your program.
We concluded that the most important part of selecting a claims partner is ensuring that all the capabilities and technical resources can support your objectives and that the organization has the flexibility to grow and change with you. We underscored that it is an important decision with potential financial implications as well as implications to the way that your employees or customers feel when something unfortunate occurs.
In Part II of this series, we look at how you can maximize the performance of the third party administrator once a selection has been made.
Below are eight steps you can take to help support the delivery of quality services:
Allow time for a thorough and thoughtful transition. When a new partner is selected, there is understandably a desire to accelerate change in pursuit of immediate results and improvement. In reality, it is critically important to allow sufficient time for program migration. Remember, you are creating change for your employees and your customers, and you only get one chance to get it right. Even with a well-defined plan, data transition can easily take 60 to 90 days. Also, it is important for employers to remain active in the process to ensure a fundamental understanding of the new program(s) and systems while also ensuring that the culture of your organizations is accurately reflected in the new program. Carrier approval also is required in many situations.
Communication is key. Change isn’t always easy. The need for thoughtful, comprehensive and method-appropriate communication can truly make or break a transition. Engagement of the appropriate levels of leadership and all of the appropriate internal business partners is a must-have in order to achieve enterprise-wide adoption of your new program. A general rule of thumb is sooner is better and repetition ensures compliance.
Establish Expectations and Accountability. You’ve made the difficult and important decision to change partners; you know what those reasons were so make sure your new program/partner has clear expectations on day 1. Use the concept of stewardship proactively. Baseline your entire program before you go live; establish goals and key performance indicators (KPIs); measure them on a consistent basis and as appropriate, intervene to redirect. Remember, the claims professionals are delivering your program day to day. Be sure to communicate performance as it relates to goals and KPIs; at a minimum, this should take place on a monthly basis.
Empower claims professionals. Claims professionals are exceptionally talented individuals who must take a unique set of facts and apply regulatory requirements and client service instructions, all while recognizing the needs and concerns of an individual who has had something unfortunate happen to them. This requires empathy and compassion, along with the utmost communication and negotiation skills. Results are best achieved when these individuals are empowered to take action and find mutually beneficial and acceptable solutions. This includes providing claims professionals with ample settlement authority.
Service Model. Most service organizations suggest that they are a provider of custom solutions and can deliver the right service model for your organization; however you need to validate that. Leverage your service provider’s expertise, technology and geography to develop a solution that is not only custom but custom built for you. To do that, you must be an active participant in its design. Build a service model that is not only best in class but also that aligns with your program goals, corporate culture and outcome expectations. Whenever possible and financially feasible, establish a dedicated service team. These individuals are more likely to become intimately familiar with your business and become a true extension of your risk management team. This will lead to higher levels of satisfaction and lower turnover.
Host partnership meetings. Some employers find it beneficial to host annual partnership meetings. These are frequently held offsite and include all members of the claims team. These meetings allow the employer an opportunity to share an update about the company’s plans for the coming year and highlight how claims management contributes to the company’s overall success. It is a time in which relationships are solidified and performance is recognized. Some employers select a theme and are very creative in planning what becomes a highly anticipated event.
Recognize and reward performance. Claims professionals take tremendous pride in what they do and understand the delicate balance that must be achieved by improving outcomes while delivering an enhanced consumer experience. As important as it is to establish expectations for the partnership and drive accountability for results, it is equally as important to recognize those professionals who help achieve those goals. Recognition takes many forms, e.g. financial rewards, celebratory dinners; however the idea of simply writing a personal note thanking a colleague for exceptional performance has an amazing impact on the colleague, their morale and the culture of your program. Recognize high performing colleagues regularly, no less than quarterly is recommended, and do it publicly. If possible, hold annual program meetings with all of your dedicated staff, both yours and your service partners, to recognize colleagues, celebrate performance and establish new goals for the upcoming year.
Be the Program of Choice. All employers are advised to create a culture and environment that all claims adjusters want to be a part of. These employers tend to attract the highest level of claims talent and individuals work hard to become and remain a member of the team. These employers are the ones who empower their team members, allow ample settlement authority, recognize and reward performance and express thanks for a job well done. Mutual respect and partnership will reflect in excellent results.
The claims industry offers highly rewarding careers. Claims professionals have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of those in need each and every day. The job is demanding and requires a mastery of communication, negotiation, analytical and financial skills.
As employers, you are in a unique position of attracting and working with these talented individuals as a way to further your overall risk management and corporate objectives. You have a lot of leverage in the operation and management of your claims program; and certainly, it is an endeavor that warrants your attention and experience. Such actions not only lead to higher levels of program performance, in many cases, it is simply the right thing to do.
About Scott Rogers
In his role as Chief Client Officer, Scott Rogers serves as an industry and Sedgwick thought leader, working with his peers to explore the intersection between client needs and innovative claims management solutions. Scott brings his passion for creating value through efficiency to every client relationship, elevating his role beyond client services to that of trusted advisor. His operational knowledge, ability to anticipate industry trends and keen focus on individual customer challenges empower Sedgwick to deliver a successful, outcomes-focused approach for every program.
With over 20 years of industry expertise, Scott has spent the last decade as an executive vice president, leading several business units across the U.S. and developing our industry-leading retail practice group. This role provided Scott the opportunity to establish industry-specific risk management best practices for the retail sector, including direct responsibility for customer relationships, claim results and managing colleagues across the country. Building on the extraordinary success of our retail business unit, Sedgwick is now leveraging Scott’s skills across other industry verticals, delivering thought leadership, program innovation, superior outcomes and a world-class customer experience.
Sedgwick is a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions. The company provides a broad range of resources tailored to clients’ specific needs in casualty, property, marine, benefits and other lines. At Sedgwick, caring counts®; through the dedication and expertise of nearly 27,000 colleagues across 65 countries, the company takes care of people and organizations by mitigating and reducing risks and losses, promoting health and productivity, protecting brand reputations, and containing costs that can impact the bottom line. Sedgwick’s majority shareholder is The Carlyle Group; Stone Point Capital LLC, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Onex and other management investors are minority shareholders. For more, see www.sedgwick.com.