Carl Warren & Company’s president and CEO—not to mention finalist for CLM’s Claims Management Professional of the Year and E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year—explains the secret to the company’s success as it celebrates its 70th year in business.
On the importance of having “skin in the game”:
Our company is owned by the employees via an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and, therefore, everyone has a stake in the company’s success. We have made significant investments in our employee-owners, we are currently debt-free, and we have won several awards including the 2013 National ESOP Company of the Year. Through the ESOP, we are able to retain employees because it becomes part of their retirement plans. By retaining those employees and building our bench, we also are able to retain our customers who are a great reference for new ones.
On emerging trends in the industry:
Over the past decade in particular, the shift away from the billable unit has continued regarding third party administrators as well as attorneys. Providing our services as a flat fee per file, year, or per person enables risk managers to budget more precisely, and accountability for productivity and efficiency is enhanced.
Additionally, more and more of us have started to utilize cloud technologies. For us, in particular, this provides the ability to share documents across the country in real-time with one another and with counsel, which enables parties to be more efficient, facilitates discussions, and leads to more collaborative decisions.
Electronic review of attorney bills also has gained in popularity. While the number of service providers has narrowed, it is not a ‘fad,’ and we have built bridges to at least five of them to process bills more efficiently per the request of our clients. All of this leads to better analytics regarding expenses, reserving, and claims cycle times because we are all more efficient.
On the qualities she looks for in an adjuster:
The best adjusters and managers know how to communicate, have the ability to calmly diffuse negative situations, and are patient. If an adjuster makes a “no coverage” determination or is about to deny a claim, he or she needs to communicate that quickly and with good substantiation. The same holds true for managers when discussing issues with their adjusters, mentoring them, and coaching them on claims strategies. If that manager sets clear and reasonable expectations, they are setting their team members up for success.
On her approach to education:
We are utilizing webinars and various one-day conferences as a way to deliver quick, just-in-time training on current topics. We send employees to CLM, RIMS, PRIMA and other events in their regions and even nationally so that they can learn about trends, case law, and new techniques to better manage claims outcomes. This also enables adjusters to only be away from their desks and claims inventory for a few hours at a time and, thus, customer service isn’t interrupted.