4/10/2012

In Your Shoes

While waiting to see a friend in the ICU at the University of Cincinnati’s University Hospital in March, I unexpectedly had my first hands-on experience of what it’s like to be a catastrophe adjuster.

By Eric Gilkey

While waiting to see a friend in the ICU at the University of Cincinnati’s University Hospital in March, I unexpectedly had my first hands-on experience of what it’s like to be a catastrophe adjuster. 

Just hours prior, a deadly tornado system rolled through the Ohio Valley, razing the nearby Kentucky town of West Liberty and causing extensive damage and several deaths in counties surrounding Cincinnati. As the tertiary referral hospital for southern Ohio, eastern Indiana, and northern Kentucky, the hospital received many patients.

“I got to go back,” screamed an obviously distraught woman. “I got to go back to the house and check on things! I got to get the cat! I’ve….”

“Honey, there’s no house to go back to,” interrupted a man, pulling her in. “Now listen. Your mom’s in surgery but she’s ok. But there’s no more house to go home to. There’s no more house….”

Handling the emotional component of loss is just one part of a claims professional’s burgeoning job description, but I have to think it’s the toughest. In this emotional crisis—one that had nothing to do with me—I still found myself dazed. The reality of the family’s situation? It left me speechless.

It takes a special brand of skill and empathy to succeed in claims resolution, to be able to focus on the future and the past for the sake of your insured. Don’t ever forget how important your role is in the process.  



Eric Gilkey is executive editor of CLM Magazine, a publication of the Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance. He may be reached at 513-273-8025, eric.gilkey@TheCLM.org.

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