The saying, “Less is More,” can apply to clutter, junk food and sometimes writing but it does NOT apply to your clients’ files. Ever.
Technology has given us so many ways to communicate – emails, texts, voice messages – that documenting client interactions and decisions is not as easy as it was in the days of simple face-to-face meetings and follow-up phone calls.
But taking the time to create a system that everyone in your office must follow saves time and headaches down the road. Such a system should include E&O coverage checklists, activity logs, and all communications with the customer.
Require written confirmations
Especially important are written confirmations of the client’s desired limits, a note when the policy was delivered, and the letter of transmission that clearly spells out the client’s responsibility – including reading the policy and contacting you or your office with questions or changes.
Such a letter also should state that ALL policies have conditions and exclusions that affect coverage.
Major carriers typically provide life and health agents who sell their products with kits that include form letters and checklists as well as guidelines for handling electronic communications.
But does everyone in your office know what they are – and where they are?
Review procedures and audit files
Make a point to review the system your office creates every time someone new comes on board, regardless of whether that person is an agent or support staff member. If you don’t have much turnover, congratulations!
That, however, makes reviewing standard documentation practices for all customers and clients even more important because it is easy to let little things slip over time.
Those little things can cause big problems. A client declined coverage in a text but you didn’t keep a record of it or follow up to get a signature page? Oops.
Conduct random audits yourself to verify that standard documentation practices are indeed standard. Pick a file once a month and look through it.
A good file should read like a boring screen treatment. A good file makes reconstructing the timeline easy and shows not only what was discussed and what was decided but also why it was discussed and how it was discussed. And client’s signatures play a starring role.