Gary Blake News

Claims Writing Coach: Avoiding Clichés

Clichés are trite written or verbal expressions that are used over and over, eventually wearing themselves out and communicating very little. At first, a phrase is coined and gains popularity (e.g., “Enclosed please find,” “do not hesitate to call,” “point …

Using Microsoft Word’s Comment Feature to Point Out Issues in Letters

Microsoft Word allows you to comment on another person’s document. I find it helpful to point out mistakes or comment on the structure and phraseology of some of the claims letters I am shown during a webinar or seminar. The …

Linking Your Thoughts With a Semicolon

People are always confusing the semicolon with the colon, but they are quite different. All of the comma rules, in one way or other, are separating a dependent clause from the rest of the sentence (e.g., The manager, who led …

How to Improve the Format of Policy Language in Denial Letters

One of the most cumbersome aspects of a denial letter is the often-abrupt transition from letter to legalistic policy language to establish what the policy says regarding a particular type of incident. Claims people refer claimants to the policy in …

Word Choice in Claims Letters, Part 2

Here are a few additional word choice issues I see as I give my webinars and seminars on claims writing across the U.S. Watch for these as you phrase your letters: “Our offer is firm and non-negotiable.” Isn’t this redundant? …

Word Choice in Claims Letters, Part 1

The following bullets point out random errors in word choice. You may not lose a client because you make a poor word choice, but you’re not helping the relationship along either. Here are several word choice issues to watch for …

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 …