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Managing personnel, claims lead insurer claims officers' challenges


Managing both personnel and claims within their companies presents chief claims officers with a host of challenges, according to the results of Towers Watson & Co.’s eighth Property & Casualty Claim Officer Survey, released Tuesday.

Retaining critically skilled workers and maintaining employees’ morale ranked high among chief claim officer concerns. Over three-fourths of those surveyed — 76% —said workforce management is their top claim-related challenge. Attracting and developing critical-skill workers was cited by 66% of those surveyed as the greatest challenge, followed closely by maintaining employee morale, which was cited by 59% of respondents.

Claims management was also cited as a challenge. While the vast majority of insurers — 93% — said they handle more than three-quarters of their claims internally, 71% of those responding said more than half of their claims staff began their training and development at other insurers using different management practices.

“This poses a true test for claim functions and requires additional training for new hires,” said Frank Ramsay, Hartford, Conn.-based North American claim management practice lead for Towers Watson, in a statement.

Many insurers agree on some aspects of litigation management, with two-thirds hiring panel counsel for litigated claims and the remainder using both staff lawyers and panel counsel. They split more widely, however, on who manages a file through litigation, with 39% allowing the current claims adjuster to continue to manage the file while almost one-third — 32% — move new suits to a claims litigation specialist, and another 20% transferring control of the claim to defense counsel while maintaining adjuster oversight.

The eighth Towers Watson Property & Casualty Claim Officer Survey of 41 chief claims officers and was conducted June 4 through July 18. The largest group of insurers represented was made up of those with between $200 million and $750 million of written premiums, at 39% of respondents, followed by insurers below $200 million at 34% and those above $750 million at 27%.