Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Adjusters Go Hollywood! Ciao, Baby!!

Claims adjusting – the new glamour profession in Hollywood?


OK, so maybe we are not going to see claim folks on TV in prominent roles. We can, however, turn on the DVD player and see that adjusters have had a variety of movie parts through the years. Cases in point:

Edward G. Robinson in Double Indemnity Robinson plays a claims adjuster who goes on a memorable rant to Fed MacMurray about the many roles that adjusters serve.

In The Truman Show, an insurance adjuster played by Jim Carrey discovers that his life was a television show; his every move monitored by cameras; every person in his life a performer, and his world a gigantic soundstage.

The Incredibles. Mr. Incredible, a/k/a Bob Parr (voice by actor Craig Nelson) is relegated to working as a claims adjuster at an insurance agency after a rash of lawsuits result from the former superhero rescuing a train from a major calamity.

The Adjuster Claims adjuster Noah Render spends his waking hours serving clients, from arranging temporary housing to … fulfilling their sexual desires. Enter affluent couple Bubba and Mimi, who -- under the pretense of making a film -- trick Noah and his wife into renting out their home. Little does Noah realize that he's about to learn an ironic lesson in this disquieting independent film.

Low and Behold Insurance adjuster Turner goes to work in New Orleans, sifting through insurance claims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He ignores the people around him until he meets Nixon, whose simple request in finding his daughter's lost dog will change how both men view strangers, the disaster and each other.

Black House An insurance claims adjuster investigates a decrepit house and discovers terrible secrets inside involving suicides and murder. The more he learns, the more the terror mounts, building to a blood-soaked ending. Time to call in a restoration specialist!

Future movie – Get Him to the Greek. A fresh out of college insurance adjuster is assigned to accompany an out of control rock star who is traveling from London to his next gig in Los Angeles. (How do we get an assignment like THAT?!)

Next time someone tells you that claims adjusting is a boring job, just remind them of all the "glamor" that our profession has on the silver screen!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Solution to Claims “Brain Drain”? Likely NOT in New Tech Tools…

Don’t look now, but even insurance claim execs say they are worried about an imminent “brain drain” in the claims area. A recent Towers Perrin survey of P&C claim officers reveal that 82% feel that attracting and retaining top talent is the Number 1 priority for success in the claims industry (“Recruitment a Priority for Claims Officers: Survey,” Business Insurance, 3/24/08).

What to do? Interestingly, Towers Perrin concludes its study by urging insurers to deliver better outcomes via new technology. It does not exactly specify the nature of this “new technology” or how it can stem the incipient brain drain among seasoned claim professionals. Towers Perrin mentions better analytics as an example of the technology solution.Maybe I’m the only one curious and skeptical here. Towers Perrin cites high-level concerns over an exodus of claim expertise. Its solution is …. New technology.

Methinks this may have something to do with the fact that it’s easier for a consultant to sell “new technology” than to sell the ideas of: treat your claims people better, pay them more, enrich their jobs and institute better mentoring programs for younger adjusters with attractive career paths. The latter are squishier and take time to implement. They may not involve any whiz-bang technology.

A “brain drain” in the claims area is likely due to the graying of the workforce, job burnout, a sense of compromised career options and inadequate investment in mentoring, training and succession. The root cause of the claims brain drain does not (primarily) lie in technological factors. Even though selling tech solutions may yield higher margins for consultants, I don’t think technology – at least by itself -- will solve the brain drain phenomenon in claims.

Your thoughts?