Insurance executives should be asking a lot of questions right now. They should wonder why their outside law firms haven’t adopted available technology that could eliminate expenses for routine legal work. They should ask their law firms why, despite taking in millions of dollars in legal fees each year, they have not invested a penny in creating predictive analytics tools. They should also ask why they have to start off each and every case as if it was the first of its kind.
In Digitizing Claims Litigation: Providing Insurers with the Power and Control They Deserve, I am going to share what I have learned while developing my insurance litigation management software. To build it, I had to study project management, document automation, knowledge management, predictive analytics, alternative fee arrangements, transparency, and more. While other industries are thriving using these systems, the insurance defense legal industry has lagged behind.
If all of the parties in this industry can come together and apply these solutions to insurance litigation, everyone will benefit. Find out why in Digitizing Claims Litigation: Providing Insurers with the Power and Control They Deserve.
Emailing is the modern day cigarette. Everyone knows they shouldn’t do it; however, everyone keeps doing it. Everyone hates the fact that they spend all day in their email inbox, but each morning they check email from sunrise to sunset.
Some people want to do a better job each day, and some don’t. This article is for those who want to “work” less and produce more. Tell your boss about these seven reasons why you will close your email inbox today and start searching for a modern software collaboration tool for insurance claims litigation.
Seven Reasons to Stop Emailing About Claims Litigation Today
1. Emailing with Attorneys is Expensive
If you are an attorney, why are you reading this article? Every time you type an email you start the clock running on hundreds of dollars per hour. Seriously, why would someone do anything other than emailing if she could simply type her way to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for her law firm?
I’m guessing that more claims professionals are reading this article than attorneys. Claims professionals don’t generate revenue based on how many words they type.
If you are a claims professional, print out some legal bills. If you see the words “draft” or “prepare” in the entry, there’s a good chance that the billing entry is for an email. If you see the word “analyze” or “review” in the entry, there’s a very good chance that the billing entry is analyzing an email from your company or another attorney.
If we make the fair assumption that a quarter of these entries relate to emails, then calculate how much of your legal bills come from emailing. Is it 10 percent? 25 percent? 35 percent? Once you acknowledge how prevalent billing for email is, ask yourself “is email the most effective and efficient way to communicate about litigated claims?” If you haven’t seen any better results coming out of the legal department for a few years, then the answer to that question is right in front of you.
2. Your Email Inbox is Simply Your Organization of Everyone Else’s Agendas
The best way to outsource your problems is to send an email. Once you send an email documenting a problem, you are temporarily free of any responsibility. That sounds good until you realize that the same thing is happening in your inbox, too.
If your job description is to deal with everyone else’s problems, then email is the best way to communicate. If your job description is to efficiently close claims, then email is your primary obstacle to excellence.
Claims professionals should focus on their company’s problems first, and their vendors’ problems second. If all they are doing is responding to emails, there is not enough time in the day to push their company’s agenda – effectively and efficiently resolving litigated claims.
3. Emailing Promotes Procrastination
In America, all emails have the fundamental right to equality. Regardless of their level of priority or urgency, all emails have the right to enter your inbox the same way as any other email.
In all seriousness, that little red flag or exclamation point does not reflect the true distinction between essential tasks and everything else. Each day, insurance claims professionals and attorneys should clearly identify the essential tasks they can execute to have the most impact on the insurance company’s litigated claims. Cutting and pasting an email and saving documents to your claims system does nothing to resolve your hundred or more litigated claims, so why did you do that all day?
Unfortunately, no constitutional amendment can resolve email’s right to equality. The first way to resolve this problem is to recognize that meandering through your email inbox is not the most essential task you could be doing right now. The second way to resolve this problem is to find a more effective process for executing the requirements for your job description.
4. Emailing is Much Slower than Picking up the Phone
Emailing is not the problem. What we do with email is the problem. Emailing should be the exception in communication. Emailing is not a reasonable replacement for the telephone.
Do you stand in your mail room all day and keep checking to see if you have received mail? Of course not. Then why do you spend all day in your inbox waiting for emails and then responding as quickly as you can? Waiting in your email inbox all day is the same thing as waiting all day in the mail room – an inefficient and ineffective way of achieving your daily goals.
Put the boundaries in place today to make email the exception to having a phone call.
5. Emailing is Reactive Instead of Proactive
I touched on this in the last few points; however, it is worth stating in another way: emailing is reactive, instead of proactive. Most of your emails are a response to another email. If you’re bound to stay within the boundaries of the prior discussion, you limit your ability to collect your thoughts and provide fresh insight on a proactive way to executive your objectives.
The best defense is a good offense. In football, you can rarely score a touchdown when you’re playing defense. The whole goal of the defense is to get off of the field so that the offense can score touchdowns and win the game. There are four downs in football. If the Patriots’s defense stops the Seahawks’s offense from gaining ten yards after four downs, then the Patriots put their offense on the field to score. They don’t let the Seahawks’s offense keep trying to score on their defense.
Once you stop playing defense all day, you will see that you don’t have to play so much defense. The first step to playing more offense – and winning – is to stop centering your day on reacting to your email inbox.
6. Emailing is Not Private or Secure
Would you be comfortable with posting all of your email messages on a blog for everyone to read? If not, then stop emailing now before it is too late. There are an infinite number of ways that people can read almost every email you send, and you control virtually none of them. You have probably heard this a million times and will continue to let it go in one ear and out the other … until you get fired for something you wrote in an email.
Here are a several easy ways your email can be available for everyone to read: (1) the recipient loses her phone, and someone else guesses the password (or the phone is not locked in the first place); (2) the recipient forwards your email to someone by mistake; (3) the recipient uses a non-private WiFi network at a Starbucks and someone accesses all of her emails while she’s drinking her latte; (4) one of the many services providers and data storage locations between you and your recipient is hacked; and (5) your or your recipient’s iCloud account is hacked.
You probably did not flinch because you already knew about the vulnerabilities; however, later today, you will send a privileged and confidential message using email. Ultimately, the problem is not that you are deceived into thinking email is secure; the problem is that you continue to use email even though you would be devastated if your messages were shared for everyone to see.
7. Emails are a Terrible Way of Storing Important Information
Imagine if Congress passed a law next year that taxed your income at 95 percent. If you made $100,000 in 2015, Congress was only going to allow you to keep $5,000. You would probably start a revolution or move to Canada.
So why do you allow 95 percent of litigated claims data to be lost in emails forever? When a litigated claim is completed, you are usually left with a few searchable fields that you could retrieve in the future: claimant, policy number, claim number, address, attorney, settlement amount, and maybe a few others if you are lucky. What about all of the other information that your company paid thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for? Where does that information go? Email taxes that information in perpetuity, leaving you with barely any accessible information after a litigated claim is closed.
Unfortunately, all of that lost information is extremely valuable. It can help you automatically predict how a certain plaintiff’s attorney will resolve the case. It can also help you statistically model which defense attorney to assign the litigated claim to. If you replace emailing with customized fields for collaboration, you can use case facts to reach a statistically sound outcome at the lowest possible cost.
If you have to search through your emails to determine how your next case will be resolved, good luck. Plaintiff’s attorneys and other companies are increasingly using analytics to predict exactly what will happen based on a given set of facts. Your “gut feeling” or opinion will mean very little to an opposing attorney that knows your company’s statistical settlement history better than you do.
Tell your boss you are shutting down your email inbox for seven of the eight hours in the work day. You are going to save your company a lot of money by not allowing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of attorney emails invade your inbox. You will call your partner (attorney or adjuster) to communicate about the case.
Additionally, you are going to search for a collaborative online software tool that optimizes the litigation process so you can spend more time on the essential things that help you execute your job description – efficiently and effectively resolving claims. Let your boss know that, because of the new system, she will never need to worry about you leaking privileged information because you have taken control over how it is shared. Lastly, tell your boss that, with your new software collaboration tool, you are going to be able to take all that valuable information and turn it into actionable analytics that will result in breakthrough results for your company.
If your boss rejects your offer, polish up your resume because there are plenty of innovative insurance companies looking for people just like you.
Read the first four articles in the series by Wesley Todd:
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