Asking For Claim Numbers Can Wreck Any Workers Comp Relationship – J&L
Yesterday, I was trying to locate a claim for a long-term client. I was following the subrogation status on a claim for them. I was told that I had left out one number in a 22-character claim number.
The claim was not showing up on a loss run the client ran for me to review. This situation harkens me back to what I have not done in Workers Compensation for 30+ years.
Why I Never Ask For Or Reference Claim Number – A Little Secret
When an injured employee calls in, asking for a claim number does one thing – it reminds the caller or emailer that they are a number, not an individual. In 30 years, I have not looked up any injured employee by a claim number – never, ever.
Injured employees with resolved claims were interviewed by WCRI for a study they were conducting. Dr. Savych produced a landmark study on what happens to injured employees post-claim.
One word came up that determined whether an employee felt the claims process went well. That word was “trust.” If the employee trusted their employer before the accident, claims usually resolved more quickly.
Asking for a workers’ comp claims number may be a great way to pull up a claim. I have always looked up the injured employee by:
- Date of birth
- Accident Date.
I never used the claim number. I thought that it impersonalized a somewhat personal transaction.
An Example of Claim Number Alienation
Approximately eight years ago, I, unfortunately, ran into a deer while traveling at 65 miles per hour. Calling in a claim to my auto insurer at midnight from a hotel room was beyond stressful.
After going through the usual phoned-in claims reporting question, the adjuster gave me a long claim number that I did not write down accurately.
The next morning, I called back in to see about obtaining a rental car. My auto insurance carrier phone rep asked for the claim number. I, due to stress, and sleeplessness misplaced the claim number.
The phone rep kept asking for it. I said that I have my policy number on my proof of insurance. or could he/she not look it up by my name and date of the accident? After 15 minutes of waiting, they came back on the phone with my 20+ digit and letter claim number. I was told it was critical to use that number when calling in after then.
I never called the company again and switched auto carriers at the next renewal.
Bottom Line – I felt like just another number – not really a personal interaction.
Best Way To Find a Person’s Claim
Pulling up the claim by the injured employee’s name and the employer was always the best way for me. I did not ask them for something that the carrier or TPA had given them to remember and reference. I always asked for info that existed before the claim, not after.
The great adjusters and claim reps seem to always develop some time of personal relationship with the injured employee unless of course if they were represented by an attorney.
Did you ever notice when you deal with a doctor’s office, they do not ask you for a patient number? I wonder why?
Bottom Line – This advice may seem a little picky. Try it and you will see how it changes your relationships with your injured employees. Avoid asking for claim numbers.
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