business writing News

Are Your Letters Filled With Old-Fashioned Phrases?

Old-fashioned words and phrases clutter up claims letters, detract from a professional image and do not belong in your templates or free-form missives. I’ll list a few of these phrases and comment on each. You’re invited to disagree and to …

How Weasel Words Weaken Your Writing

While it is proper to admit not being sure of a fact, some claims people get carried away with the use of “weasel words,” sprinkling them liberally throughout letters to claimants, attorneys, physicians and commissioners. As I review writing samples …

Conquering the Apostrophe

After the comma, the second most difficult punctuation mark to master is the apostrophe. Apostrophes are troublesome because there is no universal agreement about the rule that states that single nouns, including those ending in “s”, add ” ‘s.” There …

Improving Workers’ Compensation Correspondence

Like their brethren in property/casualty and life/health, workers’ compensation claims professionals write a lot. They write to physicians, lawyers, claimants, employers and many others. Like so many others in the world of claims, many workers’ comp people mistakenly think that …

How to Format a Claims Letter

How do you format a claims letter? Insurance companies seem to be in search of a reliable, reasonable format that will help their letters achieve a consistent, easy-to-read “look.” The following are some tips on gaining consistency in a business …

Breaking the Rules of Writing

In almost every writing skills seminar, there comes a moment in which a participant finds that one of the notions about writing that he or she has held since elementary school is either no longer valid or is dead wrong. …

Comments on the Comma

By far, the trickiest punctuation mark in claims writing is the comma. There are eight comma rules, which we didn’t enjoy in high school, and knowing them will give a boost to every letter you write. Every day, thousands of …

7 Tips on Planning, Structuring and Writing Best Practices Guidelines

Not long ago, a judge decided a bad faith lawsuit in favor of a plaintiff because the lack of a timely settlement could be traced back to the carrier’s not having any written claims procedures or guidelines in place. The …

The 8 Deadliest Words and Phrases in Claims

As someone who teaches on-site seminars in “Effective Claims Writing,” I read hundreds of letters, memos, safety evaluation and site inspection reports, workers compensation evaluations, e-mail to brokers and loss control recommendations. Rarely do I see a document that completely …

New Author Intro and Why Claims Writing is Still Important

I am delighted to be writing a twice-monthly column on claims writing for Claims Journal. This first column will lay out writing issues to be discussed, types of letters written by claims professional and claims areas – such as auto, …