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THE TIME I ACCIDENTALLY INFECTED MY ENTIRE FAMILY A Classic Christmas Flu Outbreak
W hen you’re blessed to be as close with your family as I am, hosting them for Christmas is a true privilege. That is until you accidentally poison the holiday feast and knock everybody completely out of commission for a few days. That’s the situation I faced last year, in a nutshell, and let me tell you, I do not recommend it. I should start by telling you that I almost never get sick. I’m not going to claim to be the healthiest guy in the entire world, but my immune system generally keeps things in check. I dutifully get my flu shots, exercise, and do what I can to stay healthy. But last year, in the slightly stressful lead-up to hosting my sister and brother and their families, my parents, and my wife’s family, something somehow made it through. Of course, I didn’t notice it at first. Everybody started rolling into town on Dec. 22 and immediately began settling in and having a great time. It was fantastic to catch up with some of the most important people in my life, swapping stories, relaxing, and laughing together. On the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up with some light dizziness but thought nothing of it. Surely it was just allergies or a little head cold, right? The weekend and Christmas day
to drive all the way back to Houston early for work, and when she got there, she felt too sick to work that day anyway. My brother and sister and their families were spared, thankfully. Of course, after they saw the writing on the wall, they didn’t stick around much longer. My parents ended up weathering the ordeal, and everybody else recovered within just a few days, but it certainly put a damper on the Christmas festivities. The only consolation was the excellent time we’d all had together before I cut the turkey and infected everybody. They were all very understanding, but you can imagine how guilty I felt when my family started getting sick. It’s a “little” funny (for everyone else) in retrospect, but it definitely wasn’t in the moment. So all in all, last year wasn’t the best Christmas we’ve ever had. This year, my wife and I are likely keeping it to a smaller affair, as I’m sure no one will want to risk their holidays by hanging out with me! I’ll give the big get-together another go a little ways down the road. But for now, I think I need to let the magic of time erase the memories of Christmas contagion!
went off without a hitch. My wife and I made a ton of food, I personally cut the turkey, and we all had a fantastic time. I wasn’t feeling well, but nothing serious enough to hamper the holidays. The day after Christmas, I woke up early to help my daughter take her car in to get some work done and began to wonder what was wrong with me. By this point, I really wasn’t feeling good, but I felt like I had enough adrenaline and tasks to attend to that I could just keep pushing through. After I dropped my daughter off back home, I decided to take a quick trip to the “doc in the box” to get checked out. I figured they’d hear my story, give me some antibiotics, and send me on my way. My heart sank when the doctor came out wearing that classic bad-news face. “I’m sorry to tell you this,” he said. “But you’ve got the flu.” I told him there was no way, not with all my family waiting back at the house. But it was the truth. Luckily, he was a nice guy and wrote out enough Tamiflu prescriptions for everyone. He knew what was coming and did his best to prevent it. As most of us started falling sick one by one, though, it became clear that the spread was inevitable. My 80+ year-old parents were laid so low that I ended up having to take my dad into the hospital for pneumonia. My wife got sick. My kids got sick. My poor daughter had
President, Risk Services of AR
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An Experienced Claims Manager With a Lot of Heart
Who comes first: employees or customers? When posed this classic business question, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher had an easy answer: employees. “If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right,” Kelleher explained. As Kelleher knows well, employee-customer relations are a cycle — one that fuels recurring business. Engaged employees deliver service that converts to sales, a fact backed up by a Gallup report. Gallup cited a 20 percent increase in sales as a result of this process. Even as you’re courting leads, you can’t ignore your existing customers. Likewise, even (and especially) as you grow, you have to nurture your employees. The cost of losing either is too high. In the holiday rush, it’s important to not lose sight of your priorities. Get them hooked on your service. Have you ever asked a client why they return to your business? Do you think it’s because they can’t find your product or service anywhere else? Probably not. Think about the last time you returned to a restaurant. Was it because it’s the only place in town that makes amazingThai food? Maybe, but it’s more likely that you enjoyed the welcoming host, attentive waiter, and positive experience you had there. Starbucks is a great example. Even with thick competition, they deliver consistent service and quality products to customers, whether in Oregon or London. And they do this by providing competitive wages and benefits to their employees along with training and learning opportunities. Employees who are knowledgeable and excited about what they are offering pass their enthusiasm on to customers. Own up to mistakes. Even the best businesses make mistakes. When it happens, own up to it. There’s probably been a time when you put in your order at a restaurant, only to receive the wrong thing. How did the business handle it? Did they admit their mistake and offer you a newmeal? How a business treats customers when things don’t go smoothly is a good indication of how they’ll handle adversity in general, and that reaction starts with employees. Set the precedent for employees that a mistake is their opportunity to go above and beyond. A transparent environment will make employees feel more comfortable, which will make customers excited, rather than apprehensive, to engage with your business again. Why Nurturing Employees and Customers Is the Key to Retention The Chicken or the Egg?
At Risk Services/Insurica, we understand that few things are as important to the claims process as the first contact with our insured or the claimant. In this initial stage, it’s our job to not only explain how the process will unfold but to work closely with our clients to steer them through what’s often an extremely difficult time. That’s why we’re grateful to have our claims manager, Pam Pasierb, filling such a vital role and providing expert guidance and boundless kindness to the people we serve year after year. While Pam’s been at Risk Services/Insurica for 13 years, she’s been in the insurance field for decades — since “day one out of high school,” as she puts it. When working with clients, Pam combines her extensive experience with an innately compassionate approach to put them at ease. “I try to explain things as clearly as possible,” she says. “They may be going through a tough time, so it’s important to me that I calm them down and help them not to worry.” Whether she’s managing claims or handling high-profile personal lines of business, Pam knows that deep down “clients want us to take care of it,” she says. “And that’s what we do — we take care of it. It’s why so many of our clients and I are on a first-name basis and why they’ve learned to trust me over the years.” Outside of the office, Pam and her husband spend a lot of time traveling to visit their three children, who are scattered across the United States. Pam says, “We have a son in El Paso who just got out of the Army, a daughter in North Dakota pursuing her Ph.D. in communications, and another daughter working as a forensic scientist for the government.” This Christmas, they’ll each make the trip over to Arkansas for a holiday reunion. She says, “We feel truly blessed to have them in our lives and to have the opportunity to actually see them fairly often!” We’re confident that many of our clients couldn’t possibly imagine the Risk Services/Insurica family without Pam — we certainly can’t! We wish her and her family a merry Christmas and look forward to working with her for many more years to come.
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Why In-Vehicle Cameras May Be a Good Idea for Your Fleet
When your driver is clearly not at fault, footage can placate law enforcement, drastically expedite the claims process, and keep money in your pocket that would otherwise get tied up paying for repairs. If your driver is at fault, then the footage still helps speed up the claims process. And it gives you the information you need to discipline or educate the driver to avoid further damage. There are many different in-vehicle cameras available, each with varying features. You can purchase cameras that only record footage relatively inexpensively, or you can spring for more complex options that can record data, such as aggressive driving behaviors, speed, GPS route history, and many other useful elements. But whether you decide to go basic or full-featured, in-vehicle cameras are worth the cost. When crisis strikes, they can potentially save you thousands of dollars, not to mention an enormous headache down the road.
A fleet is an essential part of many organizations’ day-to-day operations, but it can also be a massive liability. Your drivers are responsible for thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment — equipment that through neglect or just bad luck can do irreparable damage to not just your bottom line but to the lives of your workers and those around them. That’s why today, if you do manage a fleet, it may be worth it to implement cameras in your vehicles to mitigate risk and avoid leaving future claims up to fickle testimony. After an accident, determining fault sometimes turns into a game of “he said, she said.” It’s up to a third party to scrape together a scant pile of evidence and figure out the circumstances behind the collision. But when in-vehicle cameras (aka dash cams) are involved, all you need to do is watch the video to lay bare the objective reality of the accident. It’s difficult to overstate the value of this kind of data in the aftermath of a crash.
Have a Laugh!
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INSIDE This Issue
Brad Johnson Triggers a Family Flu Outbreak page 1
Don’t Let Retention Slide in the Holiday Rush Meet Claims Manager Pam Pasierb page 2 The Benefits of In-Vehicle Cameras Sudoku page 3
A Guide to Making Ideas Stick page 4
Chip and Dan Heath’s ‘Made to Stick’ Uncovers What Makes Ideas Matter
Have you ever wondered why certain stories that have no basis in fact get passed around like wildfire? Whether they’re rumors, urban legends, or conspiracy theories, these tales can often gain more traction than important ideas and facts. In their book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,” Chip and Dan Heath explore the qualities that give ideas relevance and pass-around value.
exciting by their simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, and credibility; are capable of rousing emotions; and are often presented in the form of stories. While these principles are relatively straightforward, they are often subverted in an effort to use business jargon and other neutered forms of language. The Heaths deploy John F. Kennedy’s famous speech about putting a man on the moon as an example of a compellingly relayed idea. “Had John F. Kennedy been a CEO, he would have said, ‘Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry through maximum team-centered innovation and strategically targeted aerospace initiatives,’” they explain. Nobody would have been excited about that. If you’ve ever thought that you had a great idea but couldn’t get your employees to buy into it, a lack of stickiness may be the cause. Understanding how to present your ideas in an inspiring way could unlock the key to increased productivity and growth like you’ve never achieved before. The next time you present an idea to your team, a group of conference attendees, or any other audience, ask yourself if that idea will stick. If it won’t, you’re just wasting your time. If you need a little guidance on how to make your ideas punch a little harder, “Made to Stick” should be on your holiday book list.
“An accurate but useless idea is still useless,” they write. This point is key to understanding why people get excited about certain ideas and ignore others. The Heaths argue that the presentation of ideas can have just as much of an impact on their “stickiness” as the content of the ideas. After analyzing hundreds of examples, they note, “We began to see the same themes, the same attributes, reflected in a wide range of successful ideas.” “Made to Stick” explains those attributes using myriad examples to illustrate how stickiness works in the real world. Early in the book, the Heaths share six key principles, demonstrating how good ideas are made valuable and
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