Written by Mark Sawyer, Senior Vice President, Claim Performance Solutions
In search of the ideal model, disability claim organizations are constantly adjusting their processes, sometimes with success and other times…not so much. Viewing these efforts from a unique vantage point, Brown & Brown Absence Services Group often sees organizations that implement change born of good intentions be met with less-than-optimal results. While the reasons for this can vary and by no means should be oversimplified, after years of observations, we have found the root cause of this outcome is often the result of one thing: a lack of alignment within key operational functions.
When partnering with our clients to provide consultative support, we strive to present our findings in ways that integrate with the broader dynamics of a highly performing claim organization. While we may have been asked to assess one particular function – such as a new-hire training program – we emphasize realizing the benefits from enhancements to this key accountability almost always requires some degree of realignment within the other dimensions. Each dimension of a highly performing claim organization is critical to sustainable success, yet there are three that, without complete alignment, will likely inhibit efforts to enhance other areas within the operation: clear expectations, new hire training, and a quality assurance program.
The anchor of any successful disability claim operation is its ability to communicate a clear vision and specific, measurable expectations for each role. In the case of a claim manager, the foundational role in any claim operation, these expectations should be articulated as the key behaviors that drive desired outcomes. This type of behavior-based model will create consistency and objectivity throughout the organization. Clear expectations engage employees by defining success and supporting their growth and development.
New hire training
A robust new-hire training program must be aligned with and structured around the clear expectations of the claim manager role, providing the new hire with the foundational skills and knowledge to exhibit the desired behaviors from day one. The curriculum should not just teach the new learner what to do and when to do it, but also provide proper context for why the topic or concept is crucial to succeeding in the role. A successful training program remains incomplete unless accompanied by a framework supporting the transition to the post-classroom training mentoring environment as well as a structured process to support the journey to full proficiency.
Quality assurance program
If the claim organization has been successful in defining behavior-based expectations and building a new-hire training program structured around those expectations, the final hurdle to reaching the desired alignment requires an effective quality assurance program that assesses the degree to which the claim manager exhibits the desired behaviors. By analyzing trends and opportunities identified through a robust quality program, the organization will drive continuous improvement by:
- Uncovering root causes of individual and organizational performance gaps
- Coaching and supporting claim managers toward higher performance
- Developing and implementing solutions to address gaps
- Assessing the impact of the fully implemented solutions
- Establishing new expectations and accountabilities
While a quality assurance program may be effective at assessing an organization’s current risk-management quality, the true power of the program comes from leveraging the findings to create a continuous improvement process.
Successful claim leaders understand the importance of building an organization that engages in a perpetual cycle of self-assessing, enhancing, and realigning. Without it, there will likely be unnecessary confusion, inefficiency, and constant challenges to attaining organizational objectives.
Our highly experienced consulting team utilizes a deep understanding of disability claim process strategy and best practices to identify opportunities and develop solutions to facilitate sustainable operational efficiency and effectiveness for disability organizations. To learn more about how we can support you in this effort, visit bbabsence.com/disability-advisory-services.