In light of my recent radio segment on The Wolf 101.5FM, today I’m going to chat about how to deal with insurance companies, or anyone difficult for that matter. This spring there has been a lot of flooding and this has caused unbelievable amounts of damage to properties. Many owners are left with a number to call, a file number to quote, a long waiting time, and a huge stress on their shoulders.
It’s very difficult dealing with situations such as these because they leave you at a state of constant stress over long periods of time. When we are at a state of crisis (stress) it becomes very difficult for us to deal with situations logically and calmly. When we are talking to insurance companies it can become very frustrating. At times it feels like we have to jump through hoops to get the help that we’ve already paid for. Here are some tools to use, in order to keep yourself calm while dealing with the insurance companies (or anyone who you find it difficult to communicate with).
1. ORGANISE YOURSELF BEFORE THE COMMUNICATION
Get out the good ol’, trusty pen and paper. Write down all of the things that you want to ask. Prepare your thoughts and comments before going in to the conversation. This will help you stay on track and get all of your questions answered.
2. ASK FOR THE AGENT’S NAME
By asking for the agent’s name and using it frequently throughout the conversation, you personalize the conversation. This is helpful on both sides. The agent will feel addressed as a person, not a voice on the other end of the line, and you will be able to remember to empathize with the person.
By remembering that the agent on the other line is just a normal person like you and I, you will be able to have more empathy towards them and not lose your marbles on them if conflict occurs. Remember that they are just the messenger; they don’t own the company or set the rules. Treat them as a person, not a punching bag and you will get much better results. They may know loop holes that aren’t normally shown to the layperson and they may be able to help you file appeals, etc. faster. If you beat the snot out of them verbally, they’ll be less likely to stick their neck out on the line for you.
4. TAKE A TIME OUT IF YOU NEED IT
Simply say “could you please hold?” and put the phone down. Go and breathe deeply for a few minutes, jump up and down, shake it off, get logical again, and then go back to the conversation. Nothing good will come of it if you allow your inner beast to take over! When you return you can either just carry on with the conversation or you can explain that you had to take a minute because you were getting angry.
5. TALK ABOUT THE FACTS
Although we would like to pull the heart strings of the agent, because ours are being pulled, remember to talk facts with the agents. They are trained to be impartial, not to mention the fact that they deal with these matters daily, so most have become calloused to the events. If you are pouring your heart out to the agent and they act impartially, you will most likely get offended, and this is a sure fire way to get angry. Remember to stick to the facts and leave the emotions out of it!
6. SELF-CARE ROUTINE
You’re going through a lot right now! Long-term stress is the silent killer and you have to take care of yourself during this difficult time. Take care of yourself! Eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly, practice your self-calming techniques, and remember to do what you like (be that reading, watching a movie, going to the show). During my segment on The Wolf, I told the listeners to kick back, have a beer and watch the game. I've got a lot of comments about that recently, which all make me laugh. The point is to RELAX, I don't promote getting drunk, nor the intake of alcohol in order to relax, but I do know that there are many people who do just that. If you are one of them, then a beer or two isn't a big deal, don't use it as a crutch or an instrument for relaxation though.
I am the founder of The Anger Managers, a clinic that provides court-approved psycho-educational courses and workshops to individuals and corporations