Paradise, the Hurricane, and Insurance Transcription in Between

Picture this: you’re on a beautiful Florida beach, soaking up some rays and relaxing as you bask in the glorious tropical heat.  A tiny crab scuttles across the ivory sands, and the waves gently lap against a peaceful shore for miles on end.  The wind rustles though a group of palm fronds as the smell of sunscreen and salt water drift into your awareness and gently float away.

But now there’s something more ominous on the horizon: a dark storm cloud just coming to your attention, yet it’s already too late.  The thunder rolls and lightning splinters as the storm comes.  It’s hurricane season, and the paradise that once was may soon be just a memory.

Insurance Transcription – The Storm and the Solution

All too often when a storm or natural disaster occurs, it taxes the resolve of local citizens and their insurance companies alike.  As an insurance provider in a litigious society, you have many rules and regulations to follow that can make the job of meeting government requirements and timing obligations difficult to meet.  It’s important to fulfill your contracts and obligations as effectively and efficiently as possible.  That is where the need for insurance transcription comes in.

Competitive Advantage:

I can already envision the claims office or command center in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane: stacks of paper far and wide, the loud phone chatter of a thousand and one conversations at once, and the frantic, frenetic activity associated with managers trying to pull it all together on time and on budget.

So it’s not hard to imagine why small details like voice recordings, handwritten notes, and verbal interviews so often create such chaos and may be left to fall between the cracks.  Yet these same small details, left to chance, can give your business a black eye in the view of regulators, the media, and your customer base.

When hours are at a premium and claim handler efficiency is the key, explore using a qualified insurance transcription services provider as your underlying support so your people can do the front line business that is most important, like inspecting losses, writing estimates, and issuing checks.

Let’s explore some of the intangible and tangible factors when selecting a qualified insurance transcription vendor for your short-term CAT needs.  Again, the impact of a CAT situation is far reaching because not only does it present a major threat to financial health, it also presents a major challenge to regulatory and public relations issues as well as challenge future marketing efforts if the company’s performance is perceived poorly by the media.

Possible delays in CAT response times are often an overlooked area when a company is selecting an insurance transcription services company.  For example, some companies regard the transcription service company’s location as absolutely critical.  The last thing they want to find during a large catastrophe is that their transcription company is located right in the middle of the disaster or in areas that are disaster prone.  Some other insurance companies may not address this issue because the person doing the hiring is being asked to hire a vendor for one specific type of work and may not consider the dilemma created by a CAT situation.  This is an opportunity for the procurer of insurance transcription services to help their company address a potential area of need, even if it’s not on the radar right now.

Recently, some insurance companies have found it to be well worth considering their regular transcription vendors for CAT work.  CAT situations, of course, can be an enormous risk, both from a financial and public relations standpoint.  Some carriers have begun using their current outsource vendors to help optimize their risk management strategies.  A vendor who already has the experience of handling a large volume of transcription for a company may very well be able to take on the additional transcription required in a CAT situation immediately, while smaller overflow vendors may not be able to keep up or ramp up for the additional work.

Take a look at the map below.  Where do your transcription vendors reside?  The optimal location, at least for natural disasters would be in the white portion of the map.  To drill down to available workforce and transportation needs, the best possible spot would probably be Phoenix, Arizona.

insurance transcription, insurance transcription services, transcription, transcription services

So be sure and ask a potential vendor if it has been chosen to do CAT work for any of its clients.  If they have, they will be able to give information that should make you feel comfortable and possibly provide you with a competitive advantage during the toughest of times.  To help you with your decision-making, ask the vendor about their non-CAT turnaround percentages.  This may help determine their bandwidth, the excess work capacity they try to maintain, and their business continuity plan, if they have one in place.  Ultimately, this information will help you determine if they will “be there” if a CAT event occurs.

Remember to include vendor location and vendor competency and preparedness as a part of your overall risk reduction strategy.  Insurance companies determine not only the probability of a risk occurring using actuarial factors, but also look at the risks in sales, underwriting, and claims processing.   This risk analysis should also include minimizing risks when it come to vendor selection and particularly vendor location.

Risk Management – Let us help!

Transcription Express is here to take as much weight off your shoulders as possible.  You see, we handle verbatim transcription, recorded statements, and audio transcription galore (that’s just for starters!), and we can help streamline your paperwork from our location in one of the most disaster-free areas in the country, sunny Phoenix, Arizona.  As a whole, insurance transcription and all it entails is our specialty, and we love serving customers like you in the midst of the storms of life.

Click here to visit our Services page to learn more or call us at 888-876-7272.  We’d love to provide you with the highest quality insurance transcription services in the country!

Catch Me If You Can – Transcription Services

“Risk Management” & “Claims Management Best Practices”

The magic of insurance is in the reality of management of risk or “risk management.”  The insurance industry, more than almost any sector of business is keenly aware of the concept of “Risk Management,” or the equitable transfer of someone else’s risk to the insurance company!  Check any insurance sales presentation or claims management “state of the state” address, and what is the underlying message you hear being talked about, other than hedging one’s risk against an eventuality or unanticipated event in one’s life or business.  Not only does the insurance company sell risk management, but they also have to be better able to appraise and control their own risks.

 

As a part of risk management, insurance companies not only determine the probability of a risk occurring via actuarial factors, but they also determine the sales, underwriting and claims processing risks, etc.  As a transcription services company, we are exposed to the claims management side of the equation and represent risk.  “Best Practices” vary from company to company as it relates to hiring a transcription services company but are put into place to minimize exposure or risk.  If best practices processes or processing are not followed or are poorly designed, potential financial risks to the insurance company go up.  Inaccurate recorded interview transcripts lead to inaccurate conclusions.  Having to give vendors long lead times leads to the risk of wasting money on transcription that end up not being needed and yet paid for.  I’m not saying anything new here (except possibly the view on turnaround times) and am preaching to the choir.

Have we lost our mind speaking of this?

Why would a transcription services company be writing a blog about the risk management and best practices of their vendors or potential vendors?  Can’t this only make it hard for the vendor?  For the last 17 years, we’ve had the opportunity to work with various insurance companies and in fact, we are one of the largest providers of insurance transcription in the country.  Although we are on the outside looking in as an outsourced insurance transcription company vendor, we have seen many things throughout the years and also see the vendor tricks and spin that keep companies from getting the true understanding of how they, the vendor, operate their businesses.  Do their operational process and sales spin create increased risk?  You bet they can, especially if left unchecked by the carrier.  Let me give you a non-insurance carrier example that you will recognize, I suspect.

Catch me if you can!

I recently attended a presentation by Frank Abagnale, the great con artist that the movie “Catch Me If You Can” starring Leo DiCaprio was written about.  Frank was captivating (of course) and had turned to doing the responsible thing rather than the lying and deceit.  Although he was never actually a medical doctor, an airline pilot, executive, etc., he did have the ability to move in those worlds and appear very real to those hiring him or allowing him to be in their presence.  I’ve often heard that the things in life that have the greatest effects on us are the books we read and the people we are exposed to and unfortunately, many got to meet Frank Abagnale, one of the biggest con artists of our time.  Those companies that Frank involved himself in were truly affected, and their risk definitely went way up when he was around.  Again, Frank Abagnale has now turned his efforts to helping companies and the FBI minimize risk and fraud rather than perpetrating it.

Quotes from Frank Abagnale:

  • “If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been ‘Catch Me In Two Days’.”   (when asked of his opinion of the Killian memos)
  • “What I did in my youth is hundreds of times easier today.  Technology breeds crime.”   (Frank Abagnale on how easy it is with modern technology to commit fraud)

Why would I be talking about Frank Abagnale?  He’s the perfect example of the unintended risk, “risk management” that outsourcing to transcription vendors can represent if “best practices” are weak, ignored, or relationships are based too much on the sales process and not enough on the verification of sales representations.  You may say, we’ve been working with this company for years, and the status quo has proved out but that may not be enough (although that can say a lot).

Frank had a keen eye for cracks in risk management, best practices and the status quo!  He couldn’t help but develop that eye with how he viewed the world and his lack of ethics, morals and values.  Anyone who is exposed to something day in and day out for years, sees many things as a result.

After 17 years, we too have seen cracks in risk management, best practices and status quo in our company as well as the companies we serve.  We’ve seen companies who approach the importance and quality of the recorded interview or recorded statement as extremely critical to their risk management strategy due to importance of capturing information before the attorneys, neighbors, family and friends enter the legal picture.  We’ve seen companies who know that in addition to transcription quality, there are a number of other areas that are critical for data safety.  Ask some of the top companies who have ended up on the television program 20/20.  We’ve seen companies where the risk management tide flows from one end of the spectrum to the other on a year-to-year basis.  Yester-year, it was risk management in the area of quality, this year in the area of data security and three years ago, price was all that mattered with little or no risk management or best practices applied.  It appears that some companies treat the quality and turnaround times of recorded interviews like they are not terribly relevant to their risk management.  We tend to be a great fit for those companies that place the importance of risk management of the outsourced recorded interviews high.

The hiring, vetting and retaining of the transcription services companies can be seen throughout the hiring and/or relationship process.  We’ve also seen companies who, although I’m sure they understand the importance, may not have clear and concise best practices of hiring transcription services companies.

In fact, we are seeing some organizations looking at the transcription procurement process and service level objectives that accomplish the task of manage risk as well as control costs.  Today’s organizations can actually reduce claim costs by maximizing or developing stronger claims management risk strategies and best practices through service level agreements that are very effective and underutilized.

Feel free to reach out and get more answers to the ways we reduce risk, costs, and the way the relationship is built with the transcription vendor.

I’m Terry Hurst and you can reach me toll-free at 1-800-371-4315 or at TerryH@TranscriptionExpress.com

#1 Buying Mistake when Purchasing Transcription Services

business transcription, insurance transcription, legal transcription, purchasing transcription services, transcription services, transcription services vendorsWhenever you’re purchasing transcription services in the business, legal, or insurance industries, many companies find that they have both good and bad luck.  This seems to be the case year in and year out, and it’s easy to see why, with all the purchasing models and purchasing decisions that must be made annually.  Decision makers are putting their reputations and careers on the line only to have it come back and bite them just by purchasing transcription services.  One decision maker once told me that during his tenure with his last transcription services company he hoped that no audits were done to determine whether or not the company is getting what they are paying for.

How SLO&As Increase the Amount of Customers Purchasing Transcription Services

With all the effort and time spent interviewing or designing and reviewing Request for Purchases (RFP), the mistake that I oftentimes see is when the process is complete, contract agreements are written that appear to shy away from Service Level Objectives and Agreements (SLO&As).

When I first got into the transcription services business 17 years ago, we didn’t have anything close to SLO&As.  Over time, they became important to a few of our clients, and they also came with big financial penalties.  At first, there were feelings of fear on our part, but we finally determined that if we do what we say we’re going to do, there should be no issues at all.  The fact that our client retention with major clients has been 17 years, 11 years, 10 years and 7 years would indicate that we do honor our commitments and will continue to do so.  This is when I realized that the company that had the stated SLO&As in their agreements with us was actually a tremendous benefit.  The companies that don’t use SLO&As in their contract language do themselves a potential disservice.  It is a lot easier for the transcription vendor to not have them and as a result can be a bit sloppy or sell services they really don’t have at all, such as their quality assurance.

Do SLO&A’s Really Work Out When Purchasing Transcription Services?

We’ve seen purchasing transcription services with SLO&As work out very positively.  Companies consistently get the best the vendor has to offer day in and day out, year in and year out. If the vendor has been rock solid for years, companies can make a business decision to not exercise a SLA if they desire, which builds loyalty with the transcription services vendor and encourages more purchasing of transcription services.

Seven Secrets to getting what you pay for when purchasing transcription services!

data security, recorded statements, transcription services, transcription services company, verbatim transcription, work turnaroundsPurchasing Transcription Services:

When purchasing transcription services, do you ever wonder if you got what you really agreed upon?  It’s costly to go visit them at their place of business, although that is one of the very best ways to really get to know a vendor.  Better yet, a short notice visit really does the trick.

The question comes down to this: Is the reality you thought you were buying during the sales process the same “reality” you are living with day-to-day, month-to-month and year-to-year?  For example, does your transcription services company really do the following things they discussed during the selling process?  If they aren’t, here are a few secrets I’ve come to know and follow and even suggest to my own customers to follow.

  • Do they really have a quality assurance staff overseeing, grading, and tracking the quality of work the transcriptionists produce?  Or is the quality assurance “staff” the same person who sold you the account and in some cases answering the phone?  Secret #1 is asking for up-to-date reports of all their graded scores.  You should be able to see the scores being given by the 100% Review Team.  They may need to give you the report for the previous two weeks or even last month.  The key is seeing the report.
  • Secret #2 is CRITICAL!  If it takes longer than 15 minutes for the 100% Review Team reports to be made available to you, BEWARE! Don’t let them say they will have it to you tomorrow.  The Bible tells us the world was built in six days, don’t you think a report could be created in an hour (after their important “meeting”) or even overnight?  15 minutes, that’s it!  Make the request early in the day and possibly find out what their schedule is before asking so as to make sure they have the time to deliver it in the 15 minutes. Guess what, many of your vendors can’t produce reporting because they don’t live up to what they are selling!
  • If it’s verbatim transcription of recorded statements that you need, do they really know how to transcribe the recorded statements using verbatim style transcription?  Where did they learn it, and how uniform is their work?  Secret #3 is simply asking them what the number one challenge they face is when doing verbatim transcription.  They should have an answer that pops out of their mouth immediately.
  • Is the work turnaround time being fulfilled as promised?  Secret #4 is determining whether they are fulfilling their agreement and adding a Service Level Agreement surrounding work turnaround with financial penalties if they are meeting their obligations.
  • Secret #5 is pushing the tracking and reporting to the transcription services company.  When they send their invoice, they need to send their reports!  You can periodically check their reports so you don’t do all the heavy lifting.
  • When your transcription services company spoke to you about data security initially, did you feel alright?  Secret #6 is don’t rely on feelings!  This is a job for your IT/Security team to be involved in. Cover yourself so you know exactly what you have.  There are vendors working out of their houses, where even if digital transport security is fine, you don’t even know their physical security risk.  Be sure you are not going to end up on 20/20 with compromised data resulting in career suicide.
  • I’ve seen the procurement of transcription services decisions go from actual users involved with the services to procurement departments making the decisions.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods.  Regardless of which model you follow, Secret #7 is in the area of relationship-building.  Build relationships when possible and do not become connected to just one person in the transcription services company!  Visit your vendor when possible.  At the very least, speak to not only your customer services representative but also possibly the president or quality assurance personnel.  Know that without various people to fill the roles, and therefore the promises, they are probably not happening.

I would also add to all of the above that connecting personally with different parts of the transcription services vendor might generate additional ways to lower your costs or add value to your operation.  They may have ideas from other work they’ve done that you’ve not ever thought of in your company.