Defusing an angry Insured-Dealing with Dinosaur Brain lizard logic thinking co-workers

September 15, 2007

Continuing yesterday’s discussion regarding adjuster safety concerns in this blog, we thought we’d recommend a few good books for adjusters by Albert Bernstein, Ph.D. who is a clinical psychologist dealing with explosive people for over 30 years. His books are outstanding.

Here is a link to his website with many of his books listed and links for purchasing.

Years ago as a staff manager, someone recommended his book titled “Dinosaur Brains” which is definitely entertaining and full of great advice for dealing with troublesome relationships at work with both bosses and co-workers. Here is a link to some information on the book. You’ll love the Lizard Logic and fight or flight information. Here’s a sample of it from his website. It helped me put things in perspective when dealing with some emotionally charged situations with co-workers, staff adjusters reporting to my department, or some executive level managers who drove me nuts from time to time with unrealistic demands and the results were amazing making for a much smoother work life in the stress filled pressured environment we often find ourselves in dealing with catastrophe claims assignments when nerves are shot after months on the road. This book takes a very funny look at difficult work relationships and how to deal with them that you’ll find both informative and entertaining!

We also recommend his book on “How to deal with emotionally explosive People” ….here’s a link. Bernstein has great tips on Defusing Anger  here which provides some good advice adjusters should utilize when dealing with an emotionally charged situation while out in the field or over the phone on claims.

A third recommendation is his book “Neanderthals at Work”..here’s a link which explains the many different types of personalities and motivations people have for getting ahead at work. It’s a must read for career oriented adjusters!

Carriers do not expect you take abuse from insureds using profanity, physical threats, and other forms of abuse. If you haven’t already, you should participate in seminars on dealing with customer service issues. You can’t just slam the phone down on an insured who is spewing profanity or get in a free-for- all out in the field. One of the most common explosive situations occurs when public adjusters try to push a staff adjuster or independent adjuster or manager over the edge. There are professional ways to handle these explosive situations. We hope these books will be a start to a good background in dealing with these issues.

We’ll provide links to some great online classes on these soft skills next week. Many a manager who mentored me as I came through the staff ranks said they would much rather train a person with good people skills on the technical aspects of adjusting than take an experienced employee with poor people skills and try to teach them how to deal better with insureds. After years in management, I’d have to agree with these former mentors. Poor people skills leads to increased complaints to the agents, the regional carrier offices, and to insurance department complaints that can overwhelm any busy manager. I hope to see an increase at adjusting firm seminars about customer service with reality based discussions on the many issues facing adjusters both in the field and in claim central operations. We are working on a self study guide specific to independent adjuster’s on these issues and will post that in the coming weeks.

Other self study guides are available on the training page of our staffing firm website here.

We’ll be back Wednesday for our next blog as we’ll be out of town on business through Tuesday…see you back then!