Six Drivers That Necessitate Retooling for Survival

Claims managers must look ahead to the future business landscape and change accordingly.

May 28, 2015 Photo

For claims managers to survive in the work environment of the future, they need to reevaluate their skill sets today. The needs of the future claims environment are going to be different from what we are used to, so it is better to start the retooling process now than to wait until it is almost too late. The future will be here sooner than we think.

It was easier when claims professionals were technical file handlers. There was always a laundry list of skills that claims professionals had to possess in order to be successful. There also was a corresponding list of ways to obtain the education and training needed to enhance that skill set. But as managers, we have to utilize a different skill set, and that is not so easy to update and enhance. Opportunities exist, but not in the places we are used to looking.

As managers, the way we support our business objectives and survive in the work environment is changing. According to the Future Work Skills 2020 report, issued by the Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute, there are six drivers of the future business landscape:

  1. Extreme longevity. People will work past age 65 for financial reasons, and multiple careers will be common. There will be an increased demand for educational opportunities and medical care from this aging workforce.
  2. Rise of smart machines and systems. Machines will continue to expand their roles in our work and personal lives. They will free us up to do what we are good at and will augment our skills and expand our capabilities.
  3. Computational world. In the not-too-distant future, every interaction that we have will be converted into data, requiring us to make data-based decisions.
  4. New media ecology. Video production, digital animation, gaming, and media editing are changing the way we communicate. They also are changing how we view “facts.” The recorded event that we see today may look very different tomorrow when it can be viewed from different perspectives or when it can be enhanced for more detail.
  5. Superstructured organizations. Technology is allowing us to do things outside traditional organizational boundaries. New social tools will change the way we work.
  6. Globally connected world. In order to remain successful, companies must integrate employees and processes from all countries and cultures.

To survive, managers must retool their skills so that they can meet the challenges of the work environment created by these six drivers. One of the skills needed for this new environment is adaptive thinking. Managing a claims department the way that it always has been done will not ensure survivors. Claims managers will need to be able to create unique solutions to the unexpected, and they will need to do it quickly.

Business development skills also are necessary in this new environment. Have a deep understanding of how your organization makes money and loses money. Know the makeup of not only your client base, but also your potential clients. Understand the claims department’s role in managing the customer relationship.

Cognitive load management is vital in this new environment. Essentially, you have to know how to prioritize the never-ending influx of email, electronic communications, and data that flood your day. You have to filter all the data that bombards you and transform it into successful claims management strategies.

Gone are the days of claims as an autonomous unit. Large-scale collaboration is required in the future. Complex problems require that you communicate the details to a wider organizational community and then facilitate a large-scale discussion in order to resolve them.

The work environment of the future will require social intelligence. This skill set enables you to connect with others in such a way as to produce a desired interaction. Essentially, this is your ability to get along with others so that they cooperate with you. To be successful, you need to understand your own perceptions and reactions and use this understanding to alter your interaction style to obtain the cooperation of another.

Globalization of the claims department means that you will be communicating with and leading a remote team. Virtual collaboration means that you must be able to stimulate knowledge transfer through verbal, written, and digital means so that the remote environment will be as productive as the face-to-face environment.

In the next decade, managers will need to navigate a rapidly changing landscape. You will need to be an adaptable, lifelong learner who continually reassesses the skills required by the work environment in order to survive.  

About The Authors
Donna J. Popow

Donna J. Popow, JD, CPCU, AIC, is president of Donna J. Popow LLC, and has more than 25 years of experience in the property and casualty insurance industry. She has been a CLM Fellow since 2007 and can be reached at (215) 630-0829.

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