This short story can be read here: [Tom Sawyer- Whitewashing the Fence]
Ben Tally: “Say – I’m going in a swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course, you’d druther work – wouldn’t you? Course you would!”
Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:
Tom: “What do you call work?”
Tom: “Why, ain’t that work?”
It doesn’t take long to see how easy it is to manipulate someone to do your work FOR THEM. To pass along operational responsibility to another and make them feel obligated and almost excited to do it.
To get right to the point of this mindset detour…..this is what is happening to the disaster recovery specialists that perform work where insurance carriers and their multiple tentacles of control are involved.
They have slowly (and effectively) pushed more of their operation procedures and burden down to the insured or those that do work for the insured.
Ok….I of course believe that pertinent documentation for the work you perform is certainly the best practice, but at the level in which everyone now focuses, we have become as many administrative components as we are contractors.
What has happened is the Boiling Frog phenomenon has occurred.
Until about a decade ago, we were considered a contractor specializing in a very niche market.
While we have advanced substantially during that time….the burden of documentation has continually added to the complexity of our systems.
The problem with that balancing act is as we have increased the documentation, we have not seen a scalable increase in the pricing of our services (thanks to programs, TPA, and the weaponization of Xactimate.
But we have allowed this.
As my Texas brethren might say….
The “BIG LIE”
As carriers’ access to data has grown, they have implemented their best and most effective processes to ensure their growth. Their Profits.
One way ANY business improves its bottom line is by cutting overhead, or in the case of the carrier, it's called LAE- Loss Adjustment Expense.
Yes. It has a name.
These are the expenses and financial burdens to perform the action of adjusting claims.
Adjusters, their salaries, workers comp, laptops, cell phones, company car, 401K, health insurance, fuel, and Xactimate licenses. Do you see where this could add up?
Now think of 1500+ of these cost units.
If you own a business and can drop 20% of your overhead costs, you would probably do this.
But this creates a void of collecting the information and documenting the loss to hopefully make proper adjustments (insert laughter here).
Oh, WAIT….how about they start a managed care program and use TPA’s? That's a way to drop the burden.
So we let A LOT of qualified adjusters go. FYI…these are also the professionals that actually have a clue on what it might possibly cost to fulfill the promise they made to their insured. But replace them with under-qualified and amateur personnel and you can not only lower the cost of management but create excusable deniability to the obligations assigned by their licensing statutes.
Remove the actual people that need professional licenses and you can bend all kinds of moral and ethical policies, all in the name of financial profit.
So if you shift to this ecosystem of managed care and start to build out guidelines that REQUIRE the contractors that participate (with a promise of more work and assured payment), then you get a new group of foot soldiers.
Hang the cheese over their heads on a stick with promises of continued price fixed opportunities.
Continue to assign leads that are organized and managed with agreed pricing to keep you busy, but not profitable.
Now we see a tip of additional operational and administrative tasks and actions in apps, time, and staff (un-billable) required to “COMPLY”.
Are you even considering that this additional TIME and EXPENSE, doesn’t allow you to use your time for other opportunities? You end up serving these low-profit jobs with an overabundance of your resources….stalling your growth.
The BIG LIE is…that you are required to do any of this. If you agreed to guidelines in an SLA (service level agreement), then you have very few options.
Objection #1; “Where would I get leads if not from the carrier?
That’s a big question, but one that any FOR PROFIT business must figure out.
Here are 2 resources for this objection-
Poor Ben Talley was a small simple boy that was able to be easily manipulated into thinking that this hard work that Tom didn’t want to do was a privilege. A chore that anyone would be proud to do.
Tom didn’t mean to belittle his friend, but his personal desire to go swimming or almost anything else was an easy benefit to treat his friend badly.
You are not simple, you are not dumb and you are perfectly capable of seeing the writing on the wall.
Maybe you are ok with the additional work. You might even argue that you make GREAT MARGINS’.
I certainly hope so.
But 2 things:
Don’t whitewash anyone's fences unless you want to. They may be deceiving you and THAT would be YOUR FAULT.
Last thing. We would love a testimonial from you. Only takes a moment.
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