It’s one of the great ironies of modern life: more of us carry phones, but fewer of us use them to actually talk to one another. We text, we tweet, we email, we play Angry Birds. But we seem to have an increasing aversion to conversation – and for insurers this comes at a cost at claims time.
A recent RGA study of North American group disability carriers revealed some eye-opening trends: a growing number of insurers are not performing disability claimant telephonic interviews at all. Even when interviewing is part of the claims process, many claim analysts rely on a script, which often results in rote “yes” or “no” responses, rather than doing the preparation and active listening that can clarify the claim and communicate important information to the claimant.
In an era of big data, telephonic interviews remain the disability claim analyst's most effective tool. Disability claims are complex; the contract language can be difficult to understand, and underlying circumstances can be difficult to assess. In many ways, a claim is like an iceberg, with most of the bulk hidden below the waterline. Initially, the carrier can see the information revealed in forms, but what lies beneath – other medical, occupational, and personal factors – often has greater influence on the likelihood of a return to work.
A phone call can help reveal the full picture. The claim analyst can create a rapport that prompts the interviewee to volunteer more information, including the true nature of an absence or the claimant’s motivation to return to work. An effective interview can help the claim analyst draw out not just the work the claimant cannot perform, but also what he or she can do. This is vital in developing the case management plan and coordinating appropriate resources.
Three Keys to Effective Interviews
RGA’s U.S. Group Re is developing a new e-learning module and game for clients that coaches personnel on ways to conduct effective claimant interviews. Key insights from the module are mostly common sense, but provide important reminders for claims staff:Read More +