It’s a good thing Worksafe and workcover insurance claims departments aren’t graded on writing skills because the state of writing within most claims departments today is just awful, according to injured workers, who see an average of six to eight mistakes per letter!
Workcover and WorkSafe have appalling writing skills
Most case managers are writing more each week than most professional writers and yet they haven’t had a class in writing since college!
The most common mistakes we see include:
- Punctuation and grammar issues mostly with commas, apostrophes and hyphens
- Grammatical issues such as run-on sentences, sentence fragments and trouble with problematic pronouns (me and I)
- Substantive problems, tone issues like “we are unable to do this” as opposed to “if you do this we will be able to help you”
- Old-fashioned phrases: “as per,” “pursuant to,” “enclosed please find”
Claims professionals should not expect template letters to reduce the likelihood of errors! Even the template letters which make some claim executives and case managers think that they are off the hook in terms of needing help with writing are not very good either!
While it is helpful to have some letters ready to go, case managers in particular forget that a template letter only provides a starting point. The problem is most case managers forget to mold it to a particular injured worker!
There are many examples of a pre-fill template letter where a case manager even forgot to choose a pre-fill option, likely causing confusion for the recipient.
Perhaps injured workers could prepare a company style guide! (and sell it for profit!) If they had a style guide you would be capturing all of the questions that case managers who are sitting at their desk grumbling about or wasting a morning about in terms of ‘do I use this serial comma or not.’
We strongly believe, in our seriously injured opinions, that a 10-to-30 page customised claims writing style guide would be a handy resource for case manager
A lot of letters also show how negative tone is used and those case managers tend to forget that problems with tone can affect the end result of a claim.
We are constantly amazed at the number of case managers who just are not aware that they are crossing the line between objectivity and subjectivity.
Reasons why good writing skills are important to a claims department:
Bad writing hurts customer service, causes embarrassing errors, takes away from professionalism and can lead to substantial complaints , soured relationships and even bad faith lawsuits (the latter in the US).
We reckon that WorkSafe and workcover insurance employees ought to be put through a mandatory writing workshop!
WorkSafe envelope addressed to MR V
WorkSafe’s envelope content addressed to Dear MR V and then Dear MR Z (but this injured worker is FEMALE!)
A bizarre letter from Xchanging
A letter of denial from Xchanging (note the date)
Also note that a “shoulder brace” is “treatment”
Same matter: letter but note the date – so what is it? Approved or not?
A bizarre letter from Xchanging stating that some 5 years previously (date of injury) the injured worker chose…
Got any funny letters from your case manager or WorkSafe, please share them with us!