Canadian Underwriter

Message from the President

November 30, 2015   by Fred Plant, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters' Association

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Ours is a noble profession and you should be proud of the important work you do everyday – delivering the product of the Property & Casualty Insurance Industry in Canada.

One of the many benefits of being National President of the Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association is access to reach the readers of Claims Canada through this column every two months. Feedback from the last edition confirms that we have many active readers and I very much appreciate your comments, criticisms and encouragement. All of this feedback helps shape the direction of your profession.

You have likely heard the phrase: the only constant is change. That certainly applies to the insurance industry. As adjusters, we have to adapt continuously to change. But there are options. You can be swept up in what seems to be a perpetual tidal wave of change and let it take you where it may – or you can study the cause and determine how to influence its direction. The former is far simpler than the latter. Some go screaming. Others utter not a whimper. What about you?

One of the changes facing adjusters is the reduction of our working day to a handful of “measurables.” What are we doing to influence these forces in our lives? Is it possible or even necessary to reconcile cost and measurables with proper investigation and indemnity? How far will we push the amount to pay on a claim without any proof of anything being furnished? There is a strong sense that the determination of “success” merely means compliance with process. Simply put, process overtakes purpose.

As a profession, we are somewhat unique in that the people who are in charge of setting the parameters for the measurement of our work (the product) are typically not on the ground delivering it. Often, those who set the price for buying our product are not the people who actually use our product.

In my view, many of these processes do not factor in the human aspect (people dealing with people) of what we do as adjusters. They also fail to take into account the need for the investigation and claim settlement/payment effort to be open, transparent, even-handed and appropriate.

The golden thread of good faith is woven into the fabric of the insurance contract. Many of the people increasingly in charge of claims decisions overlook this fact. They are stretching that thread too thin as they, like in so many other industries, attempt to “roboticize” and reduce to “process” all that is involved in a claim from start to finish. That may work in the manufacture of automobiles; it does not work where human interaction is necessary. And personal interaction is absolutely necessary in the claims business.

My final words are reserved for remembrance of a dear friend and colleague, Sharon (nee Myles) Walker, who, on November 26, was taken far too early in life by that scourge called cancer. We were fortunate to have had her for the time we did. She will forever be in our minds and hearts. “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred Lord Tennyson

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