The Power of Presence in Workers’ Compensation 

09 Jul, 2024 Claire Muselman


Sarasota, FL ( -- I believe in the power of human connection. I believe in the seemingly small moments that can snowball into grand gestures and life-changing moments.  

In my early career as a workers' compensation adjuster, the essence of my daily work revolved around more than just processing claims—it included the human stories behind each file. Each claim number was a person, a human being, with a life story as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake. One of the most defining moments in my career came when I handled the workers' compensation claim of Ralph, a 51-year-old custodian who had recently lost his wife to cancer. My experience with Ralph shaped my belief system on the incredible power of human connection and how the workers' compensation system can make great things happen for people one experience at a time.  

When I first met Ralph, it was my first day receiving claims. I wanted to make sure that I brought my very best, most meaningful self to help people, and this would become my everyday adjuster life. While this was another day for me, for Ralph, it was another day in his struggle to find normalcy after his wife's death. His claim was straightforward, but his emotional and psychological needs were complex. The skills to connect are the most incredible to use at work and in life. By asking how he was coping and listening to his concerns, I learned that our roles as adjusters could transform administrative tasks and touch lives deeply, driving meaning and purpose to greater depths than I ever imagined in the insurance world.  

Ralph's case taught me the importance of empathy and genuine connection. I checked in on him weekly to see how he was doing or what was new in his world, and I sent him a get-well card after both surgeries and a holiday card during the season. Over time, I integrated these lessons into my daily interactions, approaching each claim with the same care and attention as I did with Ralph. Whether it was a quick check-in call or a detailed discussion about their recovery, I ensured each human I handled felt heard and supported, doing my best to alleviate the fear of the unknown. 

This approach not only improved the outcomes of their cases—helping with faster recoveries and more satisfactory claim resolutions—but also reshaped the culture of my team. Colleagues began to adopt a more empathetic approach, and our clients' satisfaction significantly improved. As I continued my career moving into leadership through different organizations, I kept these small moments as points of reference to showcase how powerful the human spirit can be simply by showing up for people. 

Inspired by the positive changes, I began advocating for a shift toward a more human-centered approach to workers' compensation. Industry leaders noticed, allowing me to speak and write to educate others on soft skills. I encouraged other professionals to consider the long-term benefits of fostering human connections by presenting case studies like Ralph's and the positive outcomes of empathy-driven practices at industry conferences. 

My experience with Ralph reminded me of our impact on individuals' lives, especially during unforeseen times of vulnerability and circumstances outside one's control. In the complicated system of workers' compensation, it is easy to lose sight of the individual. However, by embracing and promoting human connection, we can transform this system for the better. My name is Claire Muselman, and I am a fierce believer that we can make great things happen for people in the workers' compensation system by caring enough to try. 

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About The Author

  • Claire Muselman

    Meet Dr. Claire C. Muselman, the Chief Operating Officer at, where she blends her vast academic insight and professional innovation with a uniquely positive energy. As the President of DCM, Dr. Muselman is renowned for her dynamic approach that reshapes and energizes the workers' compensation industry. Dr. Muselman's academic credentials are as remarkable as her professional achievements. Holding a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University, she specializes in employee engagement, human behavior, and the science of leadership. Her diverse background in educational leadership, public policy, political science, and dance epitomizes a multifaceted approach to leadership and learning. At Drake University, Dr. Muselman excels as an Assistant Professor of Practice and Co-Director of the Master of Science in Leadership Program. Her passion for teaching and commitment to innovative pedagogy demonstrate her dedication to cultivating future leaders in management, leadership, and business strategy. In the industry, Dr. Muselman actively contributes as an Ambassador for the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation and plays key roles in organizations such as Kids Chance of Iowa, WorkCompBlitz, and the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, underscoring her leadership and advocacy in workers’ compensation. A highly sought-after speaker, Dr. Muselman inspires professionals with her engaging talks on leadership, self-development, and risk management. Her philosophy of empathetic and emotionally intelligent leadership is at the heart of her message, encouraging innovation and progressive change in the industry. "Empowerment is key to progress. By nurturing today's professionals with empathy and intelligence, we're crafting tomorrow's leaders." - Dr. Claire C. Muselman

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