On August 11, 2022, Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei hosted the eighth installment of the 12-part webinar series, The Perfect Claim. The goal of this series is to discuss the entire claims process from start to finish so viewers can learn how to resolve claims more efficiently. This webinar specifically focused on what to do after presenting the loss.

In Negotiating the Claim, Partner Anthony DiUlio provides tips for negotiating a claim as well as resolving claims for higher values, faster closures, and faster responses.

Tips for Negotiating the Claim: Who, Where, Why, How?

WHO – The first step in preparing to negotiate a claim is to understand and practice empathy to foster relationships. Empathy is the beginning of understanding the people around you, including your counterpart’s situation and thought process.

While empathy is helpful in getting your counterparts to think like you, empathy does not mean everyone has to agree. But, by trying to think like your counterpart, you can also start to shift their understanding toward your own thought process.

It’s also important to remember that when presenting a claim, you don’t need to focus on what to say. It’s more important to focus on your demeanor, how you deliver yourself, and how to present your claim.

WHERE – After practicing empathy, the next step is understanding where the negotiation is going to take place. For instance, negotiating in person is very different than negotiating over email or over the phone.

While email can further assist in documenting all steps in the claim process, emailing allows room for pushback. Thus, negotiating in person is the optimal communication method, preferably done during the first inspection.

WHY – The goal before starting to negotiate is to gather enough information as possible from the other side so you can frame your argument and understand their point of view. So, focus on why you are negotiating the claim.

Although you may have an expectation of what the adjuster may say or believe, you can begin to recognize their point of view by listening to what they have to say. In the end, this will ultimately help you form a response.

HOW – The previous three explanations are great tips for negotiations. However, there are additional tactics to use for assistance in negotiating.

  1. Mirroring – Mirroring is a method of strategically repeating back to your counterpart the last three keywords he or she said. Mirroring will help transition his or her thought into your own thought. Also, remember that silence is not a bad thing; silence can be used to your advantage. Your silence allows the adjuster to explain until there is nothing left to say.
  2. Anchoring – Anchors are using extremes (emotional and numerical) to make your claim appear more reasonable. Anchoring is a method that should be used early and in every claim. Unlike most other aspects of presenting the claim, try to leave your anchoring communication out of writing.
  3. Accusation Audit – The goal of an accusation audit is to put the blame on you early on. In other words, you the adjuster are accusing yourself. For example, saying, “I’ve got a lousy proposition for you,” is a way to begin the accusation audit. This sets expectations for what you are about to say as the person adjusting the claim. Using the accusation audit in tandem with anchoring can make a substantial difference in presenting the claim.

Understanding Barriers

A crucial element for communicating after showing the loss is understanding the barriers your counterpart has established on his or her end. Ask yourself, why is the carrier not adjusting the claim? Get those reasons out in the open and label them.

After being labeled, the concerns will soften and can be addressed. The ultimate goal is to determine what your counterpart needs to overcome the barrier. For instance, why your counterpart will not do something is more important than why he or she will.

Understanding How To Say “No”

If used in the correct way, the word “no” is a strong negotiation tool. Saying “no” presents the counterpart with an opportunity to give the claimant more information. It can also provide you insights into the next steps on behalf of the carrier.

For example, state to an adjuster “I appreciate you providing that estimate, but I cannot agree to that.” In other words, saying “no” gives the adjuster a good chance to bid against themselves. Another version of this could be phrasing it as “How am I supposed to do that?” This gives them the opportunity to explain their side to you and what they need in order to change their mind.

Using Questions to Win Claims

Questions are the superior way to gather information without taking a position. They can also be effective in giving you the upper hand.

Asking “how” is the best form of questioning. Through questions, you can use logic to bring the counterpart to your position. Again, this helps get the other side to think as you think.

However, this does not always matter to insurance companies. Important questions to ask in a claim include the following:

  • What would I need to give you or show you to justify your paying for X?
  • What is preventing you from paying Y?

Getting Faster Responses

There are only so many actions you can take to get a fast response. To help speed up some claims processes, do the following:

  • Put your requests and information in writing
  • Have regular and systematic follow-ups
  • Cite the rules
  • Include all interested parties

Lastly, notifying the insurance department will get a faster response or explanation from the carrier to the insurance department.

By implementing the tips above, you can achieve higher claims values, faster closures, and faster responses from the carrier. Understanding each of these key elements can help you resolve claims more efficiently.

Have more questions about what to do after showing the loss? Contact Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei to learn more.