I spoke in Michigan in October on the subject of “Breaking the Cycle of Entitlement: How Do We Get Better?” The focus of the presentation to the Michigan Self Insurers Association was centered on improving the claims handling mindset of the industry; to move from one of “Process and Close” to that of “Recover and Return”.
One of my points in the session was that in many cases, employees are handed off to an adjuster – a stranger they do not know, who works for a company they have never heard of, doing a job they cannot comprehend. It is one point of frustration that often leads to greater breakdowns in communication and eventual litigation of a claim.
After the session was finished, I was speaking with a friend who was in attendance, Brian Francis, Vice President of Michigan based TPA Maxcis, Inc. We were talking about the issues of transitioning an injured worker into the claim process, and how it poses challenges that can ultimately grow into bigger problems if not done correctly. That is when he mentioned the “Warm & Fuzzy” letter he and his partner, Katherine Maximiuk, had created for Maxcis to use at the initial outset of any claim. It was a letter designed to familiarize the injured worker with both the process and the processors; a method of introduction and problem prevention all rolled into one “warm and fuzzy” presentation.
I have since obtained a copy of that document, and find it fits directly within the direction I discussed at the conference. It is impressive in its simplicity, and effective in its breadth of information. One of the strongest points, in my view, is that it also takes the time to explain the workers' responsibilities in the process.
I wonder how many other companies have a document such as this. It is an important point that employers should ponder, because how a TPA manages a claim ultimately represents their interests and processes, and they often pick up the tab for any mistakes made along the way. If you are an employer dealing with workers comp cases, it is a question you should be asking. How is my employee introduced and educated to the recovery effort?
They say that first impressions are lasting ones. My opinion is that a letter similar in style and intent to the “Maxcis Warm & Fuzzy”, makes a pretty good first impression.