Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fold, Spindle & Mutilate

So, I got this package in the mail today. The company I am currently temping through thought it would be a good idea to send me a birthday present. I wasn't expecting it since I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my birthday or the fact that I'm on a one way banana peel ride that ends in a pile of ashes. So, kudos to the company for sending a token gift.

The U.S. Postal Service, however, gets no such kudos.

Before I show you the results of the expert package handling skills of the USPS, we must first set the stage.

When I opened the package, there was a lovely birthday card upon which some anonymous staffer had handwritten a birthday greeting. There were a few pieces of candy for enjoyment. A business card...presumably in case I forgot who sends the paychecks.

And this...

Drinkware you say?
There was some rather suspicious rattling in the packaging which I initially attributed to the aforementioned candy. Imagine my amusement when I saw this come out of the package.

It was drinkware-like at one time
Sadly, the tips for enhancing the enjoyment of my new drinkware were rendered moot.

It was the thought that counts I suppose.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Insider's Guide to Claims Adjusting for Outsiders

Patience is a virtue.

Look. We get it. You just had an accident. Your upset, frustrated and maybe a little hacked off. You want your car fixed, your medical bills paid and you don't want hassles.

Calling your adjuster's phone line once (or more) every minute, for several minutes is NOT going to help matters.

Your typical claims adjuster is trying to work upwards of 150 claims at any given time. Though, one adjuster I spoke with at a major personal auto carrier said their average pending was up around 260 active claims. Of that number, a typical adjuster is getting anywhere from 5 to 10 new claims a week. More if there has been a severe storm of any variety recently because people apparently lose the ability to drive when faced with a small glob of spit on the road much less a massive thunderstorm.

If an adjuster is particularly good at time management, works efficiently, types VERY fast, etc....they might get to work, really work, 20 existing files a day. Working a file means being able to put quality thought, analysis and documentation which takes a minimum of 15 minutes per file per touch. When you parse that out to a typical workload over a business day/week/month, it means that, at best and on average, a good adjuster is going to be able to touch your claim once every 7 business days.

New claims take up a lot more time because of contact requirements, recorded statements, assigning appraisals, etc. New claims take away from the time an adjuster has to devote to existing files. A new claim can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour to get off to a good start if an adjuster is lucky enough to get a hold of everyone on the first call, doesn't get interrupted, etc.

That doesn't count working incoming mail, email, voicemail messages, making payments, presenting claims at round tables, being out of the office for business/vacation/illness, etc. which all takes time.

Being out of the office is a nightmare at best for an adjuster when the time off/out is planned. It usually takes about a week to recover from being out of the office for 1 planned day. Unplanned days off are worse. It's like throwing a bomb at your diary screwing up every bit of carefully planned out and prioritized work.

We do not get some perverse joy out of making you wait. We want your file closed as much as you do. Probably more so so we don't have to deal with your cranky, impatient butt anymore. Contrary to popular belief, we do not get bonuses for keeping files open or denying claims or settling claims for less than they are worth. We get measured on how efficiently and timely we handle claims, if we make initial contacts within a certain time frame defined by the claims standards, whether we make payments timely, etc.

That's not to say we're not human. When we get a difficult claimant who yells at us, calls us incessantly and just generally acts like a spoiled child mid tantrum, we don't feel an overwhelming desire to bend over backwards for them.

And, yes, we have caller ID. We recognize certain phone numbers especially when we see them pop up every minute when we are in the middle of trying to help someone else. It's irritating as all get out. Knock it off. Call, leave a detailed message, and wait.

We will call you back as soon as we can.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


"...no one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away." - Sir Terry Pratchett Reaper Man

Try to make a big splash.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

They Come In Peace...

...but dang those probes are cold.

That's about as good an explanation as any for the last month or so since my last post. Let me hit the highlights of the goings on, and then I will figure out what to do with this post.

Went to Florida, interviewed, returned home safely. Found out two days ago, not selected. The Queen was not pleased. She was looking forward to living near a beach.

A happy Queen and Princess enjoying some "chockit" ice cream near the beach.
Winter decided to dump a last minute winter storm on north Texas. You folks up north can scoff, but snow and ice shut DFW down hard because ice goes in your tea, not on your roads. Any global warming/climate change nuts in the audience can take your thinly veiled leftist, propaganda and stuff it. Be sure you fold it into sharp little corners for an origami suppository first.

That storm screwed up my other job interview. We were able to squeeze it in between ice storms. Found out yesterday, not selected. That was a bummer because it was a really good opportunity.

Got a call Monday from an HR person that I had written off after they had failed to respond to several phone calls and emails over several weeks regarding next steps letting me know I was still on the list of candidates they want to move forward with, but they have put the position on hold because of some other stuff. We shall see. At this point, my track record may see me still on the market when they get their act in gear.

For those that are interested, the job search enters its eighth month today. The stats so far are:

91 jobs applied for
8 in person final interviews so far
75 rejections (formal and informal)
16 applications still in limbo

Welcome to the new economy. That's hope and change you can believe in right there. To be fair, some of those applications were a bit of a stretch; but, you don't know if you don't try. And, based on the limited feedback I've gotten, companies are reluctant to make an offer to me based on my prior earning history. It's nearly impossible to hide that the way online applications are structured these days.

Castle Erickson has been besotted by various plagues. All three of us at once. I have to suck it up and go to work because we can't afford for me to miss anymore time after the time missed interviewing and waiting out the ice storm office closings. Being a temp on an hourly rate contract sucks sometimes.

Learned today that my favorite author passed away which leaves me in a deeper funk than I was already in to begin with. Sir Terry Pratchett is a British author I have spoken about here before. He has been dealing with the effects of Alzheimers for the last several years. His Disc World series is an absolute gem. If you haven't read it, I can give you suggestions. But, as another, more eloquent blogger said, "The worst was good, and the best was magic."

Farewell, good sir. I'm sure DEATH and Binky gave you a clean exit from this mortal coil and a smooth journey.