Imagine walking into a home that’s been ravaged by a catastrophic storm, knowing that it’s your job to assess the damage. The policyholder, eyes filled with tears, shows you what’s left of family heirlooms and cherished memories. You’re not just an adjuster at this moment; you’re a confidante, a pillar of support.
But are you fully prepared to handle the emotional complexity of the situation? It’s in these profound moments that trauma training becomes more than a professional requirement; it becomes a human necessity.
At Hancock Claims Consultants, we understand that closing a claim with precision isn’t merely about numbers and paperwork. It’s about genuine empathy and the wisdom to navigate the turbulent waters of loss and recovery.
Join us as we explore how trauma training is transforming the way we approach field adjuster training and property claims.
What Is Trauma Training?
Trauma training is specialized professional development typically provided by a licensed counselor. At Hancock, we use trauma training to equip our claims specialists with the skills to handle emotionally charged situations that often arise after a disaster.
Beyond the occasional policy change, carriers usually only engage with policyholders when a loss has occurred. In instances where this loss is severe or catastrophic, claims specialists often find themselves navigating a delicate situation. As an initial point of contact, an adjuster may be confronted with the intense and raw emotions stemming from the loss of property or even life. Trauma training teaches how to engage with policyholders who are in distress, offering them support and empathy while advancing the claim and maintaining professionalism.
Why Hancock Prioritizes Trauma Training in Contents Services
In today’s rapidly evolving insurance landscape, the focus on customer experience is paramount. And trauma training is gaining traction as an essential component of insurance claims training and handling. However, the implementation of effective programs varies widely, with many still focusing solely on the technical aspects of claims processing.
At Hancock, we recognize the critical importance of trauma training, particularly for our contents services specialists. Hancock’s contents services specialists are a nationwide network of trained technicians who stand ready to deliver reliable inventory services, which helps our carrier partners save time and reduce costs.
In the event of a crisis, Hancock’s contents specialists are often first on the scene. They work one-on-one with a homeowner to complete an accurate personal property inventory and individual item valuation.
The process of assessing the actual damage and extent of loss to their personal items is overwhelming for an insured, especially on the heels of a serious event. Emotions are high, and on average, the process takes two days. Trauma training provides the essential tools and techniques for contents specialists to assist a policyholder with care. This increases the likelihood of an accurate initial damage evaluation and deters additional risk to the homeowner or carrier.
The Risks of Overlooking Trauma Training in the Claims Process
While trauma training may seem like a nice option, its capacity to tackle a variety of risks elevates it to a vital necessity in the claims handling process. The absence of this targeted training can open the door to significant challenges and risks. Let’s explore what those might be.
- Lack of Empathy and Connection With Policyholders: Without trauma training, claims specialists may struggle to connect with policyholders at a highly vulnerable moment. During distressing events, a simple technical approach can feel cold and impersonal, leaving policyholders feeling unsupported and frustrated.
- Increased Errors and Miscommunications: Emotional distress can cloud judgment and communication, leading to misunderstandings between policyholders and adjusters. Without the ability to recognize and respond thoughtfully to emotional cues, errors and inefficiencies are more likely to occur.
- Potential Damage to Carrier’s Reputation: A negative claims experience, marked by a lack of empathy and understanding, can seriously harm a carrier’s reputation. Word-of-mouth and online reviews can spread dissatisfaction quickly, leading to potential long-term trust issues with both existing and prospective customers.
- Emotional Strain on Claims Specialists: Handling emotionally charged situations without proper training can also take a toll on the claims specialists. A lack of tools and strategies to manage emotional responses can lead to burnout and reduced effectiveness.
- Impact on Policyholder Retention: Policyholders who feel uncared for during a critical life event may consider switching carriers. Without the compassionate touch that trauma training brings, there’s a risk of losing valued clients, affecting both immediate revenue and long-term growth.
How Trauma Training Can Help Close Claims Faster
In addition to supporting better experiences for all involved, trauma training is a strategic tool that aligns with the larger objectives of efficiency, accuracy and customer satisfaction. As climate-driven property damage from fires, floods and storms escalates, leading to more displaced residents, the relevance of this training intensifies.
At Hancock, we’ve seen this approach shave up to two weeks off the claims lifecycle. Let’s take a look at the many ways trauma training has translated into faster, more precise claims, coupled with the genuine, reassuring experience policyholders need during challenging times.
- Enhanced Emotional Intelligence: Trauma training equips specialists with the skills to understand and respond to emotional cues. This can be as simple as recognizing when a homeowner is feeling overwhelmed and needs a break. By building trust and rapport with policyholders, Hancock’s contents specialists facilitate smoother communication and reduced friction on claims details.
- Improved Communication Skills: After a crisis, a policyholder has their mind on many things. Specialists are taught to convey information in a compassionate and understandable manner. This ensures that all necessary information is correctly understood and recorded.
- Supporting Policyholder Well-Being: Satisfied and supported policyholders are more likely to be collaborative and provide necessary information promptly.
- Building Long-Term Trust: Even in the face of a devastating loss, there is an opportunity to have a meaningful and lasting impact on a policyholder simply by treating them with dignity and support. This paired with a faster claim payout encourages loyalty and satisfaction for future interactions.
- Professional Development and Job Satisfaction: Catastrophic claims are inevitable in this line of work, and they take an emotional toll on all involved. By providing the right tools, techniques and outlets for handling tough situations, specialists will be healthier, more productive and more engaged long-term.
Hancock’s Four-Pronged Approach to Trauma Training
At Hancock, our comprehensive approach to insurance claims training demonstrates our firm commitment to preparing our specialists for what they may encounter going into and coming out of a traumatic event. By implementing a community of support and collaborative opportunities for shared experiences, Hancock sets a unique standard in the industry.
- Licensed Counselor Support: Hancock has licensed counselors who meet with specialists once per quarter for ongoing trauma training. If unique or difficult situations arise in the field, such as dealing with fatalities or loss of pets, specialists can reach out to these counselors for real-time guidance.
- Forums Between Field Staff: Experienced team members are available to provide instant feedback on handling nuanced situations. This collective wisdom ensures high-quality service and prevents delays in inventory completion.
- Hybrid Course and Individualized Training: Recognizing that trauma training is an ongoing process, Hancock provides various avenues for continuous learning and growth, not just a one-off course. Our training includes in-person sessions, online modules, field training and continuing education opportunities.
- Mentorship and Experience Sharing: Connections between senior- and entry-level technicians are fostered, encouraging open communication and an outlet for support. File managers with Hancock offer over a decade of hands-on experience and invaluable insights and guidance to assist new trainees through their most challenging encounters.
How Hancock Uses Tech to Balance Efficiency and Empathy
Hancock is at the forefront of infusing technology into our operations to streamline and refine the claims process. But we see technology as more than just a vehicle for efficiency. We also embrace its opportunities to enhance the human touch.
For example, consider a situation where an insured is grappling with the unimaginable loss of a loved one in a fire. Most people aren’t equipped to handle such profound emotional distress, especially in a homeowner they just met. Our real-time technological solutions enable field staff to connect immediately with support, whether it’s a licensed counselor or an experienced colleague who can guide them through this difficult situation.
Hancock’s thoughtfully implemented tech systems ensure that our specialists are equipped with the resources, guidance and support they need at precisely the right moments. This integration enables us to respond with agility and accuracy to our carrier partners, wherever and whenever they need us.
If you’re seeking a partner who can quickly put boots on the ground to serve your policyholder efficiently, compassionately and with a keen understanding of their unique needs, request Hancock’s Contents Services online today.
Success Story – Trauma Training in Action
The following is an excerpt from an email written by a policyholder who was served by a Hancock contents specialist.
On July 4th, 2023, A fire destroyed over 75% of my earthly possessions. I have worked in the insurance industry since 2008 beginning as a catastrophe claims adjuster, large loss adjuster, subject matter expert, and now public adjuster.
I’m writing this email not to boast about my past, but instead to let you know that earlier today, your contents specialist provided me with the best customer experience I have ever experienced.
She was kind, compassionate, empathetic, and worked with me over the phone to get through a very long list of items that needed to have additional information provided to the insurance company in order for them to process my claim.
It was clear that she is operating on an entirely different level than 99% of the people in the industry. I am impressed and very grateful for everything she did for me. She was caring, respectful, calm, and she didn’t rush me or get annoyed by the fact that I was rambling on for hours trying to jog my memory about certain items.
My hat goes off to Hancock.