The weak economy has forced businesses to run lean operations, executing their strategies with more precision and fewer resources. However, many organizations still struggle with a skills gap – a significant gap between an organization’s current capabilities and the expertise it needs to achieve its goals. This is the point at which a company stops growing or loses a competitive edge because it can’t fill critical jobs with employees who have the right knowledge and abilities. This gap is further complicated by the increasing expectations of consumers and continued technological advancements.
Educational experts predict that skills shortages will intensify in the coming years as 77.2 million baby boomers retire.
This is especially true in fields such as claims adjusting, in which expertise is traditionally developed over a number of years. As experienced adjusters retire and new technology and construction products enter the market, there is a growing need for claims processing skills and technical know-how.
An ill-equipped claims force can hamper the performance and growth of our industry – reducing profits, impeding market share, lowering morale and increasing attrition. More importantly, it can affect the quality of service provided to customers.
So, how do you build expertise quickly while still providing the highest level of service to a property owner or casualty victim?
One solution is Property Technical Certification (PTC). This three-part curriculum was designed to help organizations with the skills gap created by looming retirements and the entrance of the millennials into the workforce.
PTC ensures that claims adjusters have the knowledge they need to estimate damages accurately, whether they face a routine property loss or a catastrophe.
PTC I, which was developed with an industry advisory committee and launched in early 2011, focuses on core property adjusting skills. PTC II, an in-depth program about residential and commercial exterior loss adjusting (including framing, roofing, siding, fencing, drains and claims handling), was released in July 2012. PTC III, a comprehensive module about interior property construction like flooring, cabinetry and finishing trades, is in development.
As PTC I enters its second year of deployment, we are beginning to collect data on how effective it is. After completing the 12-course PTC I program, adjusters show a significant improvement in knowledge transfer, based on pre- and post-testing. Certificate holders also show improvement in the speed of claims handling and a reduction in the days that claims remain open. This data indicates that the program provides a thorough instructional design, allowing learners to absorb, retain and apply the curriculum.
In other words, early results indicate that PTC is closing the skills gap, resulting in faster, more effective claims administration. And this improvement is true whether the adjuster is new or tenured.
While it is too soon to draw definitive conclusions, all signs point to programs like PTC as the solution to the skills gap in claims adjusting. Look for more information about PTC and available modules at our website. In addition, AdjusterPro, which offers educational and career resources for adjusters, and the National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters (NACA) also offer access to PTC.
Written by Douglas Dell, SVP of eLearning Services for Crawford.