Many people think about negotiations in a formalized way: offer, demand, counter, counter to the counter and so on. This back-and-forth dance can make many feel uncomfortable. However, negotiation is both an art and a skill. By its very nature, negotiating can be a bit adversarial, yet it can also be personally gratifying to know that a timely, fair and equitable resolution was achieved to the matter at hand.

Executive Summary

Anchoring and preparation are two early steps a claims adjuster can make before entering into difficult negotiations. Here, George Neale, chief claims officer of Selective Insurance, describes these activities—and two others—for negotiating anything from the cost of property/casualty claims to the price of a house. Armed with these tools, artful negotiators are able to move past the adversarial nature of negotiation, ultimately finding personal satisfaction in reaching a timely and equitable resolution of the issue at hand.

Negotiations are a key component of the claims handling process. While some negotiations can be a breeze to resolve, others can prove challenging and daunting to all parties involved. So what are the keys to handling a tough negotiation?

1. Start Before the Beginning

The first is one that may surprise you. It is to start the negotiation process before it ever formally begins. How can that be, you may ask? This technique involves “anchoring.” Anchoring is an often-used term in the negotiation process that is associated with making the first offer and planting the seed with the other party about how you expect the issue to resolve. These “hints” or “suggestions” can and should be made as early as the first interaction.

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