During the course of every day, producers and CSRs / account managers will be faced with the need to document the various client / prospect conversations. This can certainly be a challenge regardless of whether the conversations are face-to-face or on the phone. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Yet, the importance of the documentation of these discussions is probably one of the most important tasks that needs to be performed.
There are a few approaches to consider.
- One approach that many agencies have found beneficial is to use abbreviations in some of the documentation as opposed to spelling every word out. Abbreviations such as “HO” for homeowners or “umb” for umbrella. Obviously the list would be more extensive than that. If you pursue this approach, work with the staff to develop the “official list of abbreviations”. The general rule should be that if the abbreviation is not on the list then the expectation is that the word is spelled out. If your agency is going to develop a list, be sure to keep some history of the acceptable abbreviations and their “meaning” as there is the possibility that down the road, you will need to produce this list of abbreviations to assist in the understanding of the specific piece of documentation.
- Another approach is to utilize software / tools that “automatically correct” the abbreviation by spelling out the word completely. Thus if you have built in the software that “ins” means “insured”, then when you type in “ins”, the system would then automatically spell the word in its entirety. This is a great approach but it is suggested to proof the documentation notes to ensure that they accurately state the essence of the conversation. Sometimes the various software programs built in will do this but have you have ever tried to reference a conversation with CNA, the system thinks that you mean “can” and will automatically correct it to “can”.
Obviously documentation is the main key that will determine the direction that an E&O claim will go. The documentation should be promptly handled, professional and accurate. It is vital that agencies take a position that high level quality documentation is not an option, it is mandatory. Hopefully the use of abbreviations will help you achieve this goal.