Managing Mental Health in High-Stress Insurance Claims Jobs

8 MINUTE READ

In the fast-paced world of insurance, claims adjusters often find themselves working in high-stress environments. The demands of handling numerous claims, dealing with complex cases, and interacting with distressed policyholders take a toll on any insurance employee. Maintaining mental well-being is crucial for personal health, as well as for job performance and satisfaction. 

In this age of technological advancements, there are ways to make the claims adjuster’s job less stressful. Managing insurance claims is meaningful work that impacts many people. When using the right technology and achieving a healthy balance, it can also be quite enjoyable! 

This blog explores the typical stress drivers that claims adjusters face, and provides ways to manage this stress effectively and maintain mental well-being.

The High-Stress Work Environment of Claims Adjusters

An insurance claims adjuster’s role is one of the most challenging jobs in the insurance industry. Understanding the stress factors in this job is the first step towards addressing them effectively:

High Volume of Claims

Claims adjusters are usually tasked with a great number of claims. This heavy workload can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Management pressure to process these claims quickly and efficiently adds another layer to the stress, making time management a critical skill.

Complexity and Urgency of Claims

Many claims are not straightforward. They involve careful analysis and decision-making, requiring adjusters to spend significant time researching, deliberating, and consulting with colleagues on past interactions, methods of handling, and paths to resolution. Often, due to a heavy workload, adjusters cannot allocate sufficient time to making these important steps, delaying decision-making and processing as a result. 

Additionally, some claims demand immediate attention due to their urgent nature, such as a major car accident involving injuries, or an urgent need to assess damages. The priority, importance, and urgency of each claim is hard to assess when there are so many, adding levels of stress for claim handlers. 

Dealing with Policyholders at Difficult Emotional Times

Claims are submitted when a policyholder suffers damages and requires assistance. Naturally, adjusters interact with policyholders who are in distress, when they’re sad, frustrated, irritated, and even angry. Policyholders then expect the insurer – and the adjuster as its representative – to make it right. They expect the claims process to be easy and with a quick resolution. They don’t know what the adjusters are going through, and they don’t care. In many cases, customers would not be pleased with the service they get at the early stages of claims, regardless of the adjusters’ best effort. 

Managing customer interactions can be challenging and emotionally draining for adjusters.

Lack of Resources

A significant stressor for claims adjusters is the lack of adequate resources to do their jobs well. This could be due to outdated technology, insufficient managerial support, or inadequate training. When adjusters don’t have the tools they need to perform their job effectively, it leads to poor performance, and increased frustration and stress.

Insurance companies often use multiple outdated systems that rely on manual processing, which is time-consuming and prone to errors. Additionally, there are different systems for different data, such as policyholder information, policy coverage, claims, communications, vendors, etc. This scattering of data across systems is a nightmare for claims teams and adjusters, making it difficult to obtain a quick and clear view of a claim. Disorganized data on multiple systems slows down the claims process and increases the likelihood of mistakes, further increasing the stress and frustration that adjusters experience.

The Impact of Stress on Mental Health

Chronic stress has several detrimental effects on mental health. For claims adjusters, the constant pressure can lead to fatigue, irritability, and a sense of detachment from work, all of which are symptoms of burnout. Such feelings affect job performance and personal wellbeing. Long-term health issues like anxiety, depression, and weakening of the immune system can develop if stress is not managed effectively. 

But it doesn’t have to come to this. 

Strategies for Managing Stress for Claims Adjusters

Claims adjusters don’t have to hate their jobs and burn out. With the right tools and practices, adjusters can have happy and fulfilling workdays, and know that their work made a difference in people’s lives. 

1. Time Management and Organization

A well-organized workday with clear missions can help a lot with lowering anxiety. 

  • Prioritize Tasks: Determine which tasks are urgent and important, and focus on those first. Create a daily task list, categorizing tasks by their urgency and importance. Set specific goals for each day and allocate time slots for each task to ensure timely completion. There’s something absolutely calming and satisfying about checking tasks off a list.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Break down large tasks into smaller, manageable parts to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Manage expectations with your supervisor so that both of you are clear on what you’re going to achieve in a certain day or week. 
  • Avoid Multitasking: Focus on one task at a time, to improve efficiency and reduce errors. Jumping from claim to claim simultaneously doesn’t help advance any claim in the cycle. Make sure you leave tasks for the next step in each claim.

2. Utilizing Technology for More Relaxed Work

Technology nowadays can help you achieve your work goals in a more effective manner. Utilize software that helps in managing claims, organizing tasks, and managing your time efficiently. Proper claims management systems are designed to keep you on top of all claims, prioritize tasks, and improve productivity, helping alleviate adjusters’ burdens and stress. 

If you don’t enjoy this kind of professional support, maybe your VP of Claims needs to choose a different CMS than the one you’re using

Technology can significantly reduce the stress and workload in a claims adjuster’s workday:

  • Automate Routine Tasks: modern CMS software can handle repetitive tasks like data entry, follow-up emails, appointments scheduling, and generating standard reports, freeing up adjusters’ time.

     

  • AI-Driven Insights: AI technology can analyze past and current data to provide recommendations on handling a claim, such as vendor selection, reserve allocation, or settlement amounts. This facilitates an easier, more accurate decision-making process for the adjuster.

     

  • Centralized Information Access and 360° Claim Visibility: Implement claims management systems that consolidate all relevant data from different insurance systems, and provide a single place with all necessary information. Then adjusters can easily understand a claim, its current status, and the next steps. Having clear visibility into a claim streamlines the work and reduces the time spent switching between different applications, making sure that as an adjuster, you have all relevant data at your fingertips.

3. Effective Communication

One of the most crucial ways to ensure a healthy relationship, whether in our personal lives or with a policyholder – is open and honest communication. 

  • Talk to the policyholder: Make sure that all of your communications with the policyholder are logged. Make sure that claimants receive updates on the claim’s status before they have to ask for it themselves. Advanced claims management systems can help offload this task with automated updates. Personalized communications are more effective and meaningful to policyholders. With automation and AI technology, creating personalized email and SMS communications is easier than ever before.

     

  • Talk to your boss: Your boss wants you to have the best conditions to do your job well. Claim managers and team leaders are also measured on the performance of their adjuster team members. Their job is to guide you and resolve any difficulties you face, and make decisions where needed. Don’t hesitate to let your boss know of the challenges you face – heavy workload, outdated systems, or inefficient processes – and actively suggest improvements that you think could help you boost performance, and maintain your mental health. 

4. Prioritize Resources

Often, not having the right resources – and especially CMS tools – is what stands between adjusters and their happiness. With the right tools, adjusters can be rid of mundane and repetitive tasks, avoid errors, and handle claims better and easier. It should be the top priority of any insurance company to supply advanced tech tools for their teams, as happy adjusters make for happier customers. 

  • Leverage Technology: Use the technology that you have available to simplify your workday, but also ask your technology vendors for improvements to make your job easier and more productive. 
  • Seek Training Opportunities: Ask for professional development to stay updated with the latest industry practices and technologies. Sign up for free webinars and courses on topics that can help you – like time management, managing stress, and customer service.
  • Choose Your Employer: If you cannot influence the CMS and tools you get in your workplace, remember that you can choose to work for companies that implement modern claims management systems that streamline processes, reduce manual workload and help adjusters do a better job with automation and AI.

5. Work-Life Balance

Last but not least – Don’t forget yourself in the process. Work is just one aspect of your life, and not necessarily the most important. Family and friends matter more. Me time to invest in yourself with no one around is also important. Remember to prioritize your well-being and happiness in your day to day. These tips can help: 

  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to prevent burnout.
  • Take Breaks: Regular breaks during the workday, especially after intense communications, can help rejuvenate and maintain focus.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Where possible, opt for flexible working hours or remote work to reduce the stress of commuting. Modern claims management systems can be accessed from the comfort of your home office or your mobile phone. You CMS doesn’t? Maybe it’s time to change it.

 

How Five Sigma Improves the Well-being of Adjusters

Five Sigma, an AI-Native claims management platform, is dedicated to empowering adjusters and streamlining claims processing. We equip adjusters with the right tools and technology to do their jobs with less effort, to enhance productivity, and improve well-being. 

Founded by claims and tech experts who understand the high-stress environment that adjusters operate in, Five Sigma has developed a platform that significantly improves an adjuster’s workday:

  • Reduce Workload: Advanced automation handles repetitive tasks, freeing adjusters time.
  • Efficient Claims Handling: Five Sigma accelerates claims processing from FNOL to settlement, reducing bottlenecks and manual interventions, which allows adjusters to settle claims faster with better accuracy.
  • AI-Driven Insights: Five Sigma provides adjusters with smart, data-driven recommendations that make decision-making easier and faster.
  • 360 Visibility: Five Sigma centralizes all claim and policyholders’ data in one convenient location, enhancing organization and reducing the chaos of juggling multiple systems.
  • Unified Communications Hub: Five Sigma brings you all claim-related communications into the CMS and lets you initiate emails, texts, calls and video calls from within the platform. All communications are captured and logged (also for compliance), and AI summaries and recommendations help you take the next step.
  • Work-life balance: Five Sigma is a cloud-based SaaS platform that can be accessed from anywhere, and any device, promoting convenient remote work. You can advance claims from the comfort of your home office, or on the go. It’s that simple.

By leveraging advanced software and stress management strategies, claims adjusters can improve that work experience and mental health, resulting in better job performance.

Five Sigma - AI-Native Claims Management Platform

Five Sigma offers an AI-native claims management platform that streamlines every step of the claims process. With full visibility of the claim at a single place, advanced automation, and data-driven insights, Five Sigma empowers adjusters to excel, speeding up claims handling and improving policyholder satisfaction. Adjusters are freed to focus on decision-making and customer service. 

For insurers, MGAs and TPAs, Five Sigma is a risk-free solution that unlocks unprecedented benefits quickly. Insurers gain unparalleled visibility into their claims and operations. The result is a significant reduction in Loss Adjustment Expenses. Five Sigma is a future-proof platform that is always up to date for the benefit of all its customers and gives insurers the agility to handle any claim faster, add new Lines of Business in less than a day, and accommodate new business models easily, enabling you to adapt swiftly to market changes ahead of the competition.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get our freshest insights straight to their inbox.