With so much at stake in the insurance industry, claims adjusters play a pivotal role in upholding the reputation of insurers through superior service. The role of a claims adjuster has always been clear: to ensure a seamless, cost-effective experience for insurers and their customers. However, as technology continues to drive innovation, efficiency and the proliferation of data-rich decision-making capabilities, the role of a claims adjuster is evolving.
So, as customer expectations change and technology continues to disrupt, what essential skills should we be looking for now to equip the industry with the best professionals in the future?
- Effective and empathetic communication
Excellent communication skills will always be a cornerstone of the claims adjuster role. However, in the future, it’s not just about interpersonal skills; adjusters need to be adept at cross-functional communication and collaboration. They must liaise with underwriters, actuaries, legal teams, and even external partners like medical professionals to ensure a holistic approach to claims management.
The ability to connect with claimants, especially during their most trying times, has always been a necessary skill and one we expect to remain foundational for claims professionals in the future. Technical skills can be learned, but empathy and effective communication are intrinsic and therefore essential.
- Data Analysis
Data is at the heart of insurance operations. Claims adjusters will need to harness the power of data analytics to make informed decisions. This skill is essential for assessing risk, predicting future claims trends, and identifying fraudulent activities. By leveraging data, adjusters can improve claim outcomes and help insurers make more informed underwriting decisions.
The pivotal question is how to balance technological advancements with the human touch. Technology is undoubtedly an enabler, providing our professionals with the tools they need to navigate claims efficiently. However, it is not the ultimate solution. While technology has revolutionised our industry, we must not let it overshadow the importance of empathy and communication in building trust with our customers.
- Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Claims adjusters often face complex and unique scenarios. The ability to think critically, assess situations objectively, and develop innovative solutions is invaluable. Whether it’s determining liability or evaluating complex medical claims, adjusters should have strong problem-solving skills.
Adaptability is a soft skill that stands out as a necessity for claims adjusters of the future. The insurance landscape is continually shaped by technological advancements, emerging risks, regulatory changes, and shifting industry norms. The ability to not only keep pace with these transformations but also proactively embrace them is critical.
Adaptability is key to ensuring that claims professionals can thrive in an environment where emerging risks, such as cyber threats and climate change-related incidents, become more prevalent. As we look to appoint future leads in the claims management space, we will prioritise an ability to adapt to new and often complex scenarios, a growth mindset that supports continued upskilling, an ability to be responsive to industry-wide shifts and changing regulatory expectations, and resilience to effectively handle claims with different risks. Moreover, as technology continues to play a central role in claims processing, adjusters must demonstrate the flexibility to work alongside, and leverage, advanced technologies like AI and data analytics. Instead of viewing automation as a threat, adaptable claims adjusters can harness the power of technology to enhance their decision-making capabilities.
So, where do we find these claims handlers?
The answer, in part, is right under our noses—within our organisations. It’s important to recognise the wealth of experience within our claims operations, an “institutional memory” that is invaluable for bridging the generational gap. We must invest in developing our existing talent while simultaneously welcoming new blood.
Recruiting new claims professionals may be challenging, but our story is compelling. Few careers offer the diversity of roles that claims handling does—a counsellor, an accountant, a lawyer, a detective, and a surveyor, all rolled into one. We place lives back on track, and that is an immensely gratifying endeavour. To attract new talent, we must ensure competitive rewards and consider flexible working patterns, though we must carefully assess their long-term effectiveness.
Building the workforce of the future requires a clear vision, robust talent management strategies, and a commitment to professional growth. Reach out to me to learn more.