Friday, February 1, 2008

Steamed at Claimant’s Counsel? Write Right!

"That @#$# claimant attorney! And that ^&*% adjuster at XYZ Mutual!!!"

When writing to claimant/plaintiff counsel or to another insurer toward which your interests are adverse, strive to keep the tone both courteous and professional. Your relationship with the opposing attorney or carrier may impact the efficiency – and transaction cost (read: attorney fees) associated with the claim.

Cultivate a positive relationship that lets the claim develop with a focus on your insured’s or client’s interest, not the adjuster’s personality. While “chumminess” is unnecessary (and night be seen as unprofessional), cooperation and politeness will further the prompt resolution of the claim on its ,merits without the cost and headaches that policyholders can endure when adjusters needlessly spar or let their egos get the better of them.

The content of the adjuster’s communication to the opposing lawyer or insurer hinges on the purpose of the communication. A letter conveying a settlement offer has one tone. A letter responding to a deadline might have another. A message transmitting information should be concise and polite.

Never write a letter or email to the claimant/plaintiff attorney or to another insurer that you wouldn’t want a jury or the policyholder to see!

10 comments:

Stephen Miller said...

Or better yet, pick up the phone and call your adversary. I've never seen a claims professional win a letter-writing campaign with counsel.

Kevin Quinley said...

Good advice, Stephen. Email is often over-used as a communication medium. Plus, if things get heated over the phone, the comments are not archived and "memorialized" as much as if the same comments were in writing.

Stephen Miller said...

While I take your last point, Kevin, I would also caution readers, particularly those who might find themselves in a bad faith action, that phone calls can be recorded. There's simply no substitute for staying calm and collected, and leaving your venting for the watering hole at the end of a long day's work.

insurancecopywriter said...

When I get really annoyed, I'll address them this way. Say you made me mad, Kevin, not that that would happen, but I'd address the letter "Kevin, Kevin, Kevin." It politely gets my point across--we are not going down any more garden paths together.

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