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.
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. There are no safe harbors for apologies to Workers Comp claimants.
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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