Gary Blake 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 …

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 …

What Spell Checks Don’t Check

The first spell-check system was developed by a group of six linguists from Georgetown University in the late 1970s for the mainframe computers produced by IBM corporation. If, however, you think that Microsoft Word’s Spell Check will alert you to …

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a participant finds that one of the notions about writing that he or she has held since elementary school is either no longer valid or is dead wrong. …

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, …

Insurers Shouldn’t Neglect Good Business Writing Skills

Insurers focused on improving customer service through new technology shouldn’t forget that good writing skills can also impact a company’s bottom line. Offering business writing education to new hires and continuing education to current employees are just two ways that …

A Tip for Organizing Large Loss Reports

Large Loss reports are filled with details, but many of those details are not organized properly, despite the use of subheads throughout the report. Subheads signal to the reader what is to come. So, a subhead on ATTACHMENTS lists all …