Listening During A Negotiation
- November 16, 2022
- Posted by: April Hilbert
- Category: Adjuster Licensing Best Practices Claims Management Insurance Adjuster negotiation
As an insurance adjuster, a big part of your job is negotiating insurance claims. Negotiation is an ongoing process that doesn’t just take place at the end of a claim.
The processes that influence the final negotiation actually begin when the adjuster receives a claim assignment, makes first contact with the involved parties, and begins the investigation. You must establish your credibility as an adjuster throughout the life of the claim to have a positive influence on the negotiation process. The way you communicate from the very first interaction affects your credibility.
Negotiation is Communication
Negotiations are based entirely upon communication, and the fact that messages are continuously sent and received, both intentionally and unintentionally, between the various parties to a claim. The information contained within these messages can wield enormous power, and it is the wise adjuster that learns to take advantage of this power during the negotiation process.
The first step in becoming an excellent communicator is to become a skilled listener. You might think communication has more to do with the way you speak than it does with the way you listen, but the best communicators are actually the best listeners.
Reading, writing and speech are taught in school from the earliest days of our lives, yet we pay little attention to how we receive information. Listening, as a specific communication technique, is generally taken for granted as something that takes place intuitively, passively, and without training. While this may be true for the act of hearing, the act of listening is an active process that requires an attentive receiver.
Active listening means being engaged, processing, and evaluating the information that is being presented. It may even include physical activity, like taking notes.
Common problems that you may encounter in trying to actively listen include brain processing speed, jumping to conclusions, and distractions.
Brain processing speed refers to the fact that our brains process information at about 500 words a minute, yet the average speaker only speaks at a rate of about 150 words a minute. When the brain is processing information faster than the information is being delivered, spare time is created and the brain tends to start thinking about things other than what the speaker is saying. This leads to information being missed. Practice staying focused when listening. Often, taking notes can help with this.
Jumping to conclusions occurs when the listener assumes that, because they have some background information on the topic, they know what the speaker’s conclusion will be. Therefore, they don’t really listen to what is actually being said. The listener’s facts become nothing more than assumptions…usually erroneous. Avoid jumping to conclusions.
Distractions are physical and psychological barriers to the communication process. They can be both external and internal. To truly listen to someone, you must avoid or remove as many distractions as possible. If distractions cannot be avoided or removed, it is best to reschedule the communication effort for another time.
Listening is just the first step in excellent communication skills. When it comes to negotiation, another key communication skill is talking so that people will listen to and understand you. Words are the currency of any negotiation. The way you talk can make or break a discussion. In order to get your message across as effectively as possible, you need to ensure that you gain your listeners’ attention and make your points clearly.
To learn more about how to gain your listeners’ attention, make clear points, and other necessary skills for successful claims negotiations, sign up for AE21’s Strategic Claims Negotiations Course. This thorough and in-depth course covers the art of claims negotiation, with an emphasis on challenges faced by adjusters. AE21’s Strategic Claims Negotiations Course enhances an adjuster’s skills in claims negotiation. It is a detailed foray into concepts and principles that have proven successful time after time for decades. It will provide the tools with which to approach new claims disposition challenges. You’ll gain this foundation for claims negotiation while working your way through our user-friendly and engaging online course. If you are ready to get ahead as a negotiator and fulfill your CE requirements, enroll today!
You can enroll in Strategic Claims Negotiations at our eLearning platform HERE. If you already have an account with us, simply log in and select the course from the course catalog. If you do not already have an account, begin by creating an account and selecting your licensing state. You will then have access to our full course catalog for your state of licensure. For more assistance with creating an account and purchasing courses, please watch THIS VIDEO.