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Recruiting Quality Talent for Surge Events

As surge season continues, carriers without a competitive long and short-term recruitment strategy are facing escalated complaints and unwanted media exposure.

With talent pools vanishing and quality personnel seeking long-term employment, Gallagher Bassett’s Stacey Williams – Chief Client Officer, Australia – explains how carriers can overcome these challenges to deliver better claims outcomes and talent retention.

Over the many years Gallagher Bassett has provided claims management, we’ve learnt a few things about how to handle the inevitable surge in personnel needed after a catastrophe or major event. This experience has led to us creating a permanently structured catastrophe team, as we know surge season never really ends and the impact extends well beyond the event duration itself. Claims are becoming more complex; issues are compounding, and customers feel they’re experiencing a ‘needlessly complex’ process.

It’s clear short-term-only deployment strategies aren’t in a carrier’s best interests. The rapid recruitment of, often, entry-level consultants who are ‘churned and burned’ in the immediate aftermath of a surge can lead to increased pressure on seconded managers to train and manage new staff, which may in turn damage the customer-carrier relationship. We know it’s common for customers dealing with short-term consultants to resent being passed around and having to repeat their circumstances without a true resolution.

This personal relationship with customers is critical to a carrier’s reputation and any damage or perceived slight to it can lead to serious issues with media and regulatory exposure.

To overcome these issues carriers must have a core group of experienced and talented event managers. This team should have a clear plan for what essential customer-facing roles must be permanent to ensure claimants experience a smooth claims lifecycle.

These employees must be committed to legacy event management and working with complex claimants through what is likely to be a deeply stressful and emotional time in their life. They must be experienced in empathetic claims management, regulatory requirements, and the carrier’s ability to go above and beyond when a customer has been deeply, personally impacted by an event.

Beyond this core group, there needs to be room for other parts of the claims lifecycle to be scaled up to relieve pressure on the permanent team. Explore how data analysts, digital developers, social media managers, and web chat consultants can help as the first point of call for claimants before funnelling them to the right permanent team member as necessary. This triage process must go beyond simply having enough personnel to answer the phone. Now, customers expect digital options that can instantly assure them that their case is in the right hands.

Ultimately, recruiting quality talent is about developing a long-term retention program that secures talent before a surge event. A failure to juggle this with short-term deployment and competing stakeholder expectations will lead to additional waves of complaints. Once these waves gain momentum, it can be difficult to contain, causing increased customer attrition and reputational damage. Carriers must remain ahead of the wave to manage surges.

For more information on how to manage talent during surges, learn more from our Gallagher Bassett Australia and New Zealand teams on how they handled an uptick in claims.

Pete Diskin

Chief Client Officer

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