Most people despise their insurance companies, even if they don’t have specific reasons. And as a result, most people who hear that I’m a claims adjuster find themselves with something nasty to say about insurance, and sometimes even about my job.
It’s hard to explain to people what I do. I’ve had someone who is very close to me berate me about a claim he had with another company, years ago, where he felt he had been cheated… even though as I listened to the details I realized that the insurance company had actually overpaid his claim. (His argument was essentially one of principle — the insurance should do this, when it was never designed to do that and never claimed to do that.)
I’m not great at all aspects of my job. I hate talking on the phone, which I have to do all day. I hate taking a gray area based on incomplete evidence and staking a hard-and-fast view in it (for example, insisting that I know for sure that my insured is no more than 80% at fault for an accident when my evidence is a ten-minute q&a with my insured, a ten-minute q&a with the other driver, and a police report riddled with inconsistencies). Nobody ever likes the 80%. My insured will almost always think he’s not at fault at all, and the other driver will almost always think my insured is completely at fault.
I’m writing this blog during my mandatory lunch break, because I can’t afford to take time away from the job today. (I sometimes do “micro-breaks” of a minute or two in between claims; it’s actually recommended by our Health & Safety people, if not particularly encouraged by the line of business. Today, I’m trying not to take them because of workload.
As of this exact moment, I have 31 e-mails that still need attention;
28 29 voicemails that still need attention; 21 claims that are “overdue” one way or another, and 11 more that are due today. I have four new claims as yet untouched, and five “file reviews” for claims that are closed but that need my attention because someone has called to complain about something that may or may not have had anything to do with me and my role in their file. I have three ongoing “special” projects that involve complex technical matters.
By tomorrow, I will certainly have at least three more new claims, a few more “file reviews,” several more voice mails and e-mails, and I am scheduled to address regular follow-ups on 12 more claims.
I estimate that to finish all of this would take me at least 30 hours of work, and that’s if everyone just left me alone to get the work done. Between now and when I leave work on Friday, I get to put in about 12.5.
There’s not much solution to this problem, and I know that all I’m doing is complaining. But I’m complaining with a goal in mind.
I’m asking all of you — the next time you deal with a claim, please remind yourself that your adjuster is overworked and overstressed, and if he or she is telling you that something is not covered, there is at least a reasonable chance that they don’t actually want to tell you that. Theywantto get you paid and to keep you happy and to get your claim off their desk. They want resolution as much as you do. So please, show a little patience, and show a little love.
On the other hand, some of my co-workers are total jerks. It’s okay by me if you cuss at them. Just a little bit.