While a majority of chief claim officers at U.S. property and casualty insurance companies, 86 percent, say they empower their claim supervisors with authority to make critical decisions and provide direction to their teams, they also suggest the supervisors’ attention is being diluted by conflicting workplace responsibilities, according to a survey of 35 U.S.-based CCOs conducted in June and July 2014 by global professional services company Towers Watson.

In some cases, competing work priorities result in misguided supervisor focus and ineffective claim supervision, the firm says in its report.

Claim officers generally direct their supervisors to spend two to six hours per day on the core supervisory activity of reviewing their claim handlers’ files. However, the survey results show that on average, supervisors spend less than three hours on files and more than half their day on other activities.

Nearly a quarter (23 percent) spend two hours or less reviewing direct reports’ files, and 51 percent spend between two and four hours. The remaining 26 percent don’t even begin to approach the requisite amount of time for this core supervisory responsibility.

“Greater focus on reviewing claim-handler files is necessary—three hours a day is insufficient to efficiently manage claims,” said Frank Ramsay, Towers Watson’s North American Claim Management practice lead. “Competing priorities prevent supervisors from spending enough time reviewing the files of their direct reports. This inhibits the claim operation’s ability to deliver optimal claim outcomes and can have an adverse effect on insurers’ profitability.”

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