Whether through primary insurer obligations, or as a part of a more explicit agreement, insurers may be responsible for controlling and managing your defense, which can include claims notification, defense coordination, insurer billing, and exhaustion tracking.
The recent five-part series addresses what you can do to “prepare for the day” when these responsibilities are passed to you or another insurer … but what about today? What can you do to work together with your insurer to help things run smoothly, and make sure everyone has the information the need for today as well as tomorrow?
Build a Good Working Relationship
It’s not unusual to work with the same insurer for years, or even decades. Get to know the claims handler(s) involved in your case. Have conversations early and often to create an open line of communication. Building a relationship of trust from the beginning will make it easier and more productive to work together, especially as the inevitable issues arise.
Establish clearly defined expectations and requirements of the insurer. Do any of these overlap with tasks you’re already performing? If so, is there reason for the overlap to continue? Is the insurer’s work going to impact internal requirements or reporting needs? By coordinating with your insurer in advance, you can figure out who will be best suited to perform which tasks, align expectations regarding the work each party is doing, and be prepared for issues and needs down the road.
Implement Best Practices
Consider and implement basic database techniques to the work processed by the insurer. Assist them in streamlining tasks that are performed with any regularity. Apply unique identifiers to claims to help ensure consistency across documentation. Co-create reporting and billing templates that are clear to all users. Eliminate the possibility for human error in data entry wherever possible. This will make life easier in the near term for you and your insurers, and also preserve the best data possible for future needs.
Be Flexible and Helpful
Your insurer may not be as tech savvy as you and your team of consultants, so some flexibility may be necessary. Do your best to be flexible and work within the parameters required by the insurer, while also not compromising on the integrity and importance of your data, documentation and reporting needs. Some duplication of efforts may be necessary, but you’ll benefit in the long run and preserve a harmonious relationship with your insurer in the short term. Introduce your insurer to new technologies and data techniques without being forceful, and they will start to adopt the best practices as they become more comfortable.
Take these steps, and you may not avoid all problems — but you will undoubtedly be in a better position than before.
How do you work together with your insurer to help things run smoothly? What tips can you share?