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Building Unshakeable Confidence: A Guide for Claims Adjusters in Workers’ Compensation

04 Sep, 2023 Claire Muselman

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The claims adjusting field, especially within workers' compensation, can be fraught with complexities and challenges. A strong sense of confidence isn't just an asset; it's a necessity. 
Confidence isn't just a buzzword; it's a fundamental skill. From handling complex cases to navigating sensitive conversations, a boost in self-assurance could be the edge you need to enhance your abilities on the claims desk.

But what is confidence exactly? The American Psychological Association defines it as "a belief that one is capable of successfully meeting the demands of a task." In a field as dynamic and nuanced as workers' compensation, that is crucial; however, building and maintaining confidence can be challenging, especially in a role often at the intersection of law, healthcare, and human relations. This article aims to provide claims adjusters with concrete, actionable strategies to boost their confidence and excel in their roles.

Why Confidence Matters

Claims adjusters in the workers' compensation sector deal with multiple stakeholders — injured workers, employers, medical professionals, and attorneys - on an ongoing basis. In this multidimensional space, your self-confidence impacts how you view your capabilities and how others perceive you. A high confidence level can facilitate better communication, more accurate claims assessment, and smoother negotiations.

Strategies to Build Your Confidence

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

General Strategy: Don't Compare Your File Load to Others! Avoiding harmful social comparison can be crucial in any job, especially for claims adjusters who might compare their file loads, case outcomes, or client satisfaction rates with others. 

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Case metrics and performance indicators are necessary but don't define you. If you compare your success rate to others, remind yourself that every case is unique and carries its own challenges and complexities. Keep a case journal to reflect on your learning from each claim. A journal will allow you to measure your growth in skills and experience rather than superficial metrics. Comparing your caseload or the speed of your settlements to your colleagues' can erode your confidence. Everyone has their own challenges and triumphs; focus on your journey. Remember, you get to choose your attitude and where to focus your energy.

  1. Surround Yourself with Positive People

General Strategy: The emotional environment you're in significantly influences your confidence. Organizational culture plays a role in this, as well as your team dynamic. If your company is not the best place to thrive, build a network of support within the industry.

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Start internally: Engage with colleagues who encourage ethical practices and help you navigate the complexities of workers' compensation cases. Move externally: Join industry seminars and online forums where best practices are shared. Engage with mentors, peers, and other industry professionals who can provide constructive feedback and support. Positivity in professional circles boosts your morale and enriches your skill set. Steer clear of those who foster negativity or who are overly critical without reason. We all know those "crusty claims professionals" who can suck you in; avoid this at all costs. You are different and are making the industry better!

  1. Take Care of Your Body

General Strategy: Balance work with self-care. Wellness is directly related to self-esteem.

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Given the sedentary nature of desk jobs, incorporating exercise into your routine is vital. Add in the stressful nature of claims adjusting; finding a balance to keep your cup full is critical. Physical activity releases endorphins, which naturally elevate your mood and confidence. Focusing on exercise, adequate sleep, and mindful eating can significantly improve your emotional and mental well-being, translating to a more confident disposition. Also, consider ergonomic furniture to support posture; a confident physical stance often leads to a confident mindset.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself & Face Your Fears

General Strategy: Self-compassion is a booster for emotional resilience. Confronting fears leads to a more profound sense of self-assurance. Couple the two, and you are moving yourself into a new light.

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Suppose negotiating with stakeholders in a compensation case sends shivers down your spine. In that case, that's your cue to face it head-on. Role-playing with a colleague or mentor can provide a safe space to practice your negotiation skills and receive constructive feedback. Mistakes or setbacks in cases are inevitable. Instead of beating yourself up, conduct a post-mortem analysis of the claim or negotiation to identify what went wrong and how to avoid it in future cases.

  1. Master the Art of Communication, Including Positive Self-Talk

General Strategy: Communication is an art, whether internal or external. Changing your mental dialogue changes your perspective and confidence level, which impacts how you come across externally.

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Before tackling a complex case or a difficult conversation, tailor positive affirmations to remind yourself of your past successes and expertise in the field. Mantras like "I am skilled at finding resolutions" or "I handle challenges with grace" can frame your mindset positively. This job demands strong communication skills when negotiating a settlement or communicating a denial. Invest in soft skills training and role-playing exercises to boost your confidence in high-stakes conversations.

  1. Stay Organized & Plan Ahead

General Strategy: A cluttered desk can lead to a cluttered mind. Make your space a place where you feel good spending time. 

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Stay organized to manage your claims effectively. Make use of digital platforms and tools designed for claims adjusters. Digitizing as much as possible will streamline your workflow and boost your confidence. Add a plant or a visual trigger reminding you of the WHY or impact you have had on an injured worker. Life. The ripple effect. Your impact can spur your inspiration to keep you going on days you feel meh. 

  1. Do Things You're Good At & Embrace Professional Development

General Strategy: Mastering skills leads to self-assuredness.

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Every adjuster has a niche, whether exceptional communication skills or a deep understanding of compensation laws. Capitalize on these by leading in relevant situations or mentoring juniors, reinforcing your knowledge, and boosting your confidence. Confidence starts with competence. Ensure you're thoroughly versed in workers' compensation laws, best practices in claims adjusting, and emerging trends in workplace safety. Whether it's a seminar on new workers' compensation legislation or a course on ethical practices in claims adjusting, continuous learning contributes to a growing sense of competence and confidence.

  1. Know When to Say No

General Strategy: Understand and set your boundaries. Healthy boundaries contribute to self-respect and confidence. 

Deep Dive for Claims Adjusters: Not every case will be a win, and not every interaction will be pleasant. Knowing when to say no or how to manage difficult conversations are skills that contribute to your self-confidence and protect your emotional well-being. Knowing when to say no is crucial because caseloads often exceed comfort levels. Taking on too many results in burnout and decreases the quality of your work. When setting boundaries, you preserve your well-being and maintain a high standard in your professional responsibilities.

The Confidence Payoff

With a balanced and strategic approach to building confidence, claims adjusters in the workers' compensation sector can experience various benefits, from improved job satisfaction to career advancement opportunities. Your confidence also sets the stage for more harmonious interactions with all parties involved in a claim, ultimately contributing to more equitable and effective resolutions.

Confidence is a multifaceted skill that claims adjusters can master with conscientious effort. By integrating these strategies into your daily life, you boost your self-esteem and your efficacy in managing workers' compensation claims. Remember, confidence isn't just about feeling good; it's about elevating your professional life to new heights.

Confidence is your silent ally in the dynamic and challenging landscape of workers' compensation claims adjusting. By adopting these strategies, you can forge a career that's both successful and deeply fulfilling, bringing an added layer of meaning and purpose to your daily activities. Remember, confidence isn't just about feeling good; it's about elevating your professional life to new heights.

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About The Author

  • Claire Muselman

    Meet Dr. Claire C. Muselman, the Chief Operating Officer at WorkersCompensation.com, 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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