6 Tips for Negotiating Insurance Claims Across Cultures
One of the most complex parts of working as an insurance adjuster is negotiating insurance claims. An often overlooked aspect of negotiations is the impact that culture has on those negotiations. Differences in cultural beliefs and/or perspectives among parties can make negotiations more difficult.
The communication of important information and critical messages from one party is not always received by the other party as it was intended. When we look at the negotiation process and try to analyze the reasons why our messages were not received as intended, we should be sensitive to diversity.
The United States has always been a diverse society made up of immigrants from around the world. As this trend continues, adjusters should strive to become familiar with multicultural customs and tendencies. Every culture has beliefs or values that may seem strange to other cultures, and negotiations can become even more difficult when the parties don’t respect other cultures’ beliefs or values. There are things you can do to enhance your sensitivity and improve your ability to negotiate across cultural lines.
Negotiating in a diverse population takes great patience. The following 6 tips can help promote more productive cross-cultural claims negotiations:
1. AVOID ETHNOCENTRISM
Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s own group or culture is superior to all other groups or cultures, and, unfortunately, it plays a similar role in all cultures.
Avoiding ethnocentrism does not mean that you agree with all the values of all groups and cultures, but that you show respect for the cultures of the people you address. It’s important not to judge your adversary or form opinions by his or her appearance or style of delivery, and you should give the person you’re speaking with the same courtesy that you would want from an audience or listener.
Perspective, perception, diversity and multiculturalism are such basic facts of life that will almost always play a significant role in any communications in which you are involved. Whether you are dealing with customers or clients who have limited language skills or you yourself are an individual with a different cultural background, you must try to learn to adapt to the languages and cultural norms of your audience, and thus avoid an ethnocentric point of view.
2. LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT CULTURES
Most problems are simply caused by misunderstanding. If you are not familiar with other cultures, you may unintentionally insult or hurt someone’s feelings, create distrust or discord, and ultimately jeopardize opportunities for productive negotiations. Taking time to learn about other cultures can help avoid these misunderstandings.
3. VIEW DIVERSITY AS AN OPPORTUNITY
Different points of view can bring valuable insight into the negotiation process and offer new solutions for old problems. Rather than seeing it as a chore or a challenge, embrace the opportunity.
4. DON’T BE CONDESCENDING
Just because someone struggles with the English language does not mean they are less intelligent. Many foreigners’ now living in this country are highly intelligent and have advanced degrees in their own society. They’re just hindered by the language barrier. (Imagine how you would feel if you suddenly found yourself in a foreign country with a limited knowledge of the language there.)
5. WATCH FOR FEEDBACK
When you are preparing to speak, take into consideration who you are speaking to, put yourself in their place, and try to avoid words or phrases that might be misunderstood. Watch for feedback that indicates the receiver is having difficulty understanding what you are saying. And really listen to the feedback and try to understand what they are saying.
6. TALK ABOUT IT
Don’t be reluctant to talk about these differences. When people from different backgrounds talk about their differences, it would amaze you at how interesting and insightful these discussions can be. Misperceptions are less likely to occur when we share our differences and perspectives. Discussing these differences often leads to respect. The key is to speak constructively in a way that promotes a positive outcome.
Learning to communicate in a multicultural environment will ultimately make you a better negotiator. Your ability to deliver a message that is received accurately by your audience will increase significantly, and the likelihood of sending the wrong message or having it be misunderstood will decrease.
To learn more about how to improve your negotiation skills, 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.