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the right claims adjusters
Fourth in an ongoing series about how employers can succeed in an increasingly complex adjusting industry.

In my last article, The Right Stuff?, I discussed the challenges facing our evolving industry in finding the right people to fill the ever-growing types of adjuster roles from inside adjusters to field adjusters and the leadership teams surrounding each.

Ultimately, the old way of moving adjusters from the field to inside and promoting great adjusters to leadership is not necessarily what is best for the adjusters or the companies they work for.  Here we are going to dive a little deeper into the importance of getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Determining The Right People

It is no secret that different personalities are often suited for very different roles. This is true in most industries but the current changes in adjusting are highlighting what big challenges we need to solve. What makes a great outside adjuster does not make a great inside adjuster and vice versa.

What makes a great outside adjuster does not make a great inside adjuster and vice versa.

Similarly, the qualities that make an outstanding adjuster don’t always translate into the person being a successful manager. So how do you determine where people belong, in order to give them (and your company) the best opportunity to succeed?

You may be familiar with the Meyers-Briggs, DISC or KLLP personality test. Here at AdjusterPro we’ve used all of those but have come to prefer the KLLP or Kendall Life Languages Program because the results have proven most insightful and predictive. We use it both internally for our own HR purposes and externally in profiling adjusters before they take our training. In fact, we’ve profiled hundreds of adjusters over the last couple of years and have followed them very carefully so we could compare our initial KLLP findings with their long-term career arc.  The analysis of those results has yielded some very specific, measurable and actionable data about who does well in adjusting.  

The same personality profile data can also help determine and define qualities essential in a productive manager, a good trainer or inside vs outside adjuster. Interestingly, these insights can’t be gleaned from a resume.   Nor, frankly, can an interview be relied upon (we’ve been fooled several times by interviews). The fact is you just don’t know unless you evaluate them using an assessment like the KLLP and then corroborate the results through interviews and reference checks. Most IA Firms have never thought about the advantages of using this type of test.  And for those that have, I could well imagine objections arising about the cost or the HR work required. And it’s true, it is more work – at least, up front.  

And it’s true, evaluating potential employees is more work – at least, up front.

But consider the incredible amount of frustrating work that goes into managing a massive roster of unqualified and largely unknown leads, deploying them with almost zero ability to predict their success, and dealing with the logistics nightmare of large numbers of people failing just when you need them most!

It is an avoidable waste of man-hours, and I wouldn’t underestimate the morale drain on a team, either. These personality evaluations have allowed us to see that specific profiles work better than others for various roles in the claims industry and more importantly, they can be determined ahead of time to avoid the monetary and cultural costs of having the wrong people in the wrong positions.  

Right People, Right Seats

Jim Collins writes in his most excellent book Good To Great that when it comes to team building, not only do you need to get the right people on the bus, you need to get the right people in the right seats on the bus.  

…you need to get the right people in the right seats on the bus.

How important is this? Collins suggests that it’s the single most important thing to building a great company. It trumps business intelligence, smart strategy, and technological acumen. Because when you have the right people on the right seats, all of those will eventually follow. Get the right people in the right seats and the right business decisions will eventually be made. Get the wrong people — or, more commonly, get the right people in the wrong seats — and no business plan in the world can save you from dysfunction and diminished performance.

Making this happen requires a methodical, intentional and studied approach, such as assessing personality types and determining qualities necessary in any given position.

Get the wrong people and no business plan in the world can save you from dysfunction and diminished performance.

Simply putting a body at a desk, moving an outside adjuster in, or promoting good workers into team leaders without considering their ability to lead, are industry habits hindering firms from successful growth.

It is a difficult task — particularly in an industry like independent claims where the timeline for getting troops on the ground is often yesterday. But in that challenge lies great opportunity. Those that best avoid the mistakes above and crack the nut of how to identify, attract, develop, and retain targeted top-tier talent for the particular tasks at hand will win and win BIG.  

Next up: The Secret Sauce. How to Identify Excellent Adjusters

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