From the Big Picture To the Every Day

by Aaron Swanson, AASP-MN President

As I step into the role of President for AASP-MN – which is an honor, thank you! – I figured it would be helpful to share a bit more about what I do day to day and my perspectives on how to win in this industry. And this seems particularly relevant given this month’s feature article on the SCRS blend study. 

I am a Claims Process Manager at LaMettry’s Collision and have spent my professional life either in a shop, as an estimator, or working as an adjuster for an insurance company. I have a master’s in economics, so I have always focused on analyzing data to see if things are working. (I also played football and know how to knock people over, but that is a less relevant skill.) I spend my time bridging the gap between the everyday details of individual claims and the larger picture of the KPIs of the company. As an adjuster, I worked with many of the AASP-MN members and quickly learned you can’t go around starting wars when your goal is to settle claims.

A good day is when everyone is mad at me; meaning a reasonable compromise is reached and both sides have had to give a little. In my role, it is all one big claim. I spend time negotiating larger challenging claims and managing relationships that make it so I can get a call-back from top line managers at insurance companies; I understand the hard work required to keep lines of communication open.

Claims are getting bigger and bigger, so more and more facts and data must be pulled together in challenging claims. I do lots of training for file managers and front office staff. Often this means showing them how to best build relationships that are critical when trying to find out what supporting material will move a claim forward. I tell them “don’t make anything personal.” This can mean saying, “I understand [insurance company] doesn’t normally pay for this…” while being careful to not insert the adjuster’s name. 

By tracking initiatives, like implementing learnings from the blend study into our estimates, I’m able to see the impact of the team’s efforts with individual claims on our overall KPIs. Knowing our metrics is so important in making change that is practical and has an impact on business. There is so much nuance, strategy and technique to getting through the gatekeepers, and at the same time we don’t want to hold claims up on the small things that aren’t worth it in the end. I can look at the KPIs and see we are trending in the right direction even if we aren’t “winning” on every claim. 

LaMettry’s knows reputation and relationships matter. The team has worked hard to be a top certified shop and build a brand through dealer relationships. We have team members who are at dealerships full-time and have been from the start. This sort of strategy is something that sets us apart, but the fundamental ideas are relevant for shops of every size. LaMettry’s operates with strong ethics, so as a team member it is easy to get behind initiatives and be reminded of the larger goals. That makes the daily battles that much easier to not take personally or take home with you at the end of the day. 

You don’t know who you are going to work with in the future. Everyone knows everyone. Never make it personal. You don’t need to beat an individual to win the game. You don’t need to know everything; just know the right people to ask.

Want more? Check out the April 2024 issue of AASP-MN News!