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Are Apologies New Risk Management Technique?


New Risk Management Technique Involves Apologies?

Claims Magazine recently featured an article pondering the benefits of apologies by claims adjusters.   Shockingly, there are 37 states that prevent apologies from an insurance company being held against them in court.

Text Graphic Of Sorry Apologies In Nighty Background

The article centered around property claims.  A quote from the article “Depending on the timing and authenticity, an apology can potentially reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit being filed and result in reduced defense costs and damages. ”  Apologies in the Workers Comp arena would seem to have very little effect.  Workers Comp claimants have more repetitive contact with their adjusters over a longer period of time. Apologizing for a mistake early in the process would be that beneficial.

There are no known states that provide a “safe harbor” for Workers Comp adjuster apologies.   Workers Compensation is handled in most states by an Industrial Accident Board or an Industrial Commission.Th ere are no safe harbors for apologies to Workers Comp claimants.

Senior Couple Apologies Looking At Bill Papers

There are many more payments made for weekly benefits and medical bills when compared to a property liability.  Adjusters may find it much easier to admit the mistake and verbally apologize.  Formally apologizing  would be a mistake that could likely be held against the adjuster later in the file.

Adjusters are the leaders of the file.  Apologizing may leave the injured employee less than confident concerning the adjuster.   If the injured employee loses confidence in their adjuster, the easiest place to turn is to a plaintiff attorney to make sure they are receiving the proper benefits.

A very late TTD check is quickest way for an adjuster or claims staff to cause a loss of confidence.  If the adjuster cannot process a check timely. the injured employee will more readily mistrust the actions of the WC claims adjuster.

The adjuster is the main communicator on the file.  One has to wonder if an apology should ever be one of the communications.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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