Mastering our Minds – Treating the person behind the loss.
Insurance professionals deal with losses on a daily basis. It can sometimes be too easy to forget that a loss is not just numbers on paper, a house or a place of business… it can have a deep and profound psychological effect on the humans behind the loss. These far less tangible consequences are difficult to identify, and left untreated could lead to damage that exists well after the physical loss has been remediated.
For some advice on the topic, we reached out to Dr. Susan Rodriguez-Manning’s, Clinical Psychologist & CEO of Mastering our Minds. Her guidance, quoted in the book Chicago: Lessons Learned, remains extremely relevant:
“My advice is that while working with a client that has experienced any loss, whether it be their possessions, house, business, or loved ones, it is important to show compassion. Even if you view their case as a standard, run of the mill case, to the individual, it is a very deep and a personal loss. Demonstrate active listening. Let the person know that you want to hear what they have to say, that it is important to you, and that you want to help. Be genuine. Give people realistic timelines. Do not make false promises. If you feel emotionally impacted by their case, let them know that without making it about you. For example, if they tell you something infuriating, let them know “I feel angry just hearing that. It is completely understandable that you are feeling frustrated.” Try to instill a realistic level of hope. Communicate clearly and let the client know that they and their needs are important to you.
We must all remember that the client just went through an unexpected loss. As such, their life is likely thrust into a state of chaos. Try to give the client a regained sense of structure. If you tell a client that you will meet them at 1:00pm. Be there at 1:00pm. If something comes up and you can’t be there at that time, give the person as much warning as possible, explain the reason, apologize for the inconvenience, and give them a realistic time in which you will be able to meet.”
“Obviously, in times of natural disasters, claims teams are stretched thin. It is easy in these times for things to fall between the cracks. Know your limits and be aware of local resources. If a client is experiencing a high level of emotional distress and this is outside of your level of competence, provide the individual with a list of grief and loss counselors in their area. It is important to do this in a way that demonstrates that you are not simply trying to shift the responsibility onto another person, but that you are doing so because you care about the person and are trying to help provide them with the best care possible so that they are able to have their needs met in an understandably distressful time.”Dr. Susan Rodriguez-Manning, Chicago: Lessons Learned (2018)
With the conversation around mental health becoming louder, it has become more important than ever to know who to turn too when you identify a potential issue with your client or yourself.
Mastering our Minds, has partnered with LMI Group provide mental heath services to the Insurance community. This not only extends to the insured, but those brokers and insurers who work in environments where they are exposed to a variety of traumatic events.
If you wish more information on how to help someone in a time of crisis, please download the brochure here and here.
If you wish to learn more about the services that Mastering our Minds provides, please visit the link below for a no obligation chat.