Communication is the key to improving countless processes -- and litigation management, a highly important function within the property and casualty claims arena, is no exception.
Last year, we sponsored the third-ever Litigation Management Study, surveying 80 claims and litigation executives about the state of the industry. Communication wasn’t just cited as the area with the most room for improvement; it was identified as the number one thing firms can do to make the lives of claims executives easier.
When we talk about communication, though, we’re not just talking about sharing a few professional files or making a one-off phone call. We’re thinking bigger. Communication must be woven throughout the claims process to create a strong foundational bond between claims professionals and outside counsel.
Of course, recognizing the need for sturdy, long-term relationships is one thing. Cultivating them is another.
Better relationships mean better litigation management
Strong relationships, or lack thereof, between claims professionals and outside counsel can impact every component of the claims process—from selecting a particular attorney, to how the claim is handled, to the case’s actual outcome and, subsequently, the policyholder’s level of satisfaction. In between, budgeting and expenses must also be considered.
Thus, the importance of turning “talk” into productive action cannot be understated. Better relationships can mean better outcomes.
Unfortunately, there are signs that many in the industry are taking good communications for granted. While the CLM Litigation Management Study found that 54% of respondents said their relationships with firms have strengthened over the last half-decade, 71% said this was the case back in 2015. The percentage of respondents who said relationships had actually weakened during that time has doubled since the prior study.
Clearly, more attention needs to be paid to this critical element. What can claims managers and their legal partners do?
Start building strong relationships based on true collaboration
Building a sustainable long-term relationship takes true collaboration, which is multifaceted. The starting line is communication around strategy. The big-picture goals of both the outcome of an individual case and the legal department writ large should be communicated proactively. In the CLM survey, a lack of strategic focus was one of the most common friction points cited by respondents.
Tactical touchpoints are important for ongoing communication and accountability, too. Reporting was cited as the second most common cause of friction. An eye-popping 90% of claims executives said it is a rare firm that provides metrics—and those that did ranked the “helpfulness” of current analytics and metrics as a mere 55 out of 100.
Missing or insubstantial metrics are a clear symptom of poor communication. Solving this challenge needs to be a top priority.
Practice methods that result in better relationships
To help, we created a whitepaper called Building Better Relationships with Your Law Firm Partners.
In this document, we dive into specific components of communication and relationship-building. We address methods that breed long-term bonds and tangible results between claims litigation teams and their outside counsels and cover a range of topics, including:
How to establish goals and shared metrics;
- The difference between hard and soft data;
- How dashboards and scorecards can improve panel management and firm performance;
- The importance of succession planning.
- These tangible tips offer a clearly marked roadmap towards better communication, better outcomes, and long-lasting relationships.
Building Better Relationships with Your Law Firm Partners will put claims managers well on their way to working more effectively with their outside legal partners. Be sure to download your copy today.