Why some of my colleagues bitch about SIU agents being a pain in the ass is beyond me. I’m forever hearing they don’t answer calls, don’t respond to e-mails, don’t provide enough information about claimants, blah blah.
In my experience, I’ve never found one I didn’t get along with or one who didn’t show me the utmost respect and courtesy. They’re professionals, and good at what they do. All they expect is for you to be professional, and be good at what you do too.
All I can figure is it’s a matter of time. Meaning, mutual respect for it since neither you, nor your client, have any to spare. “Time is Money” is an accurate statement but “Talk is Cheap” is horseshit. Talking takes time, that’s all I’m sayin’.
So, why would it surprise a decent PI that a busy-as-hell SIU agent doesn’t return phone calls? When my caseload’s heavy, I don’t either – particularly when someone wants a great answer to a stupid question. In fact, I’ve worked dozens of cases where everything from the assignment order to the submission of the report was handled via electronic mail and at that, only a couple of messages. I’ve even had a couple of clients I’ve only corresponded with, and never actually spoken to. It’s a beautiful thing, that e-mail. I can’t text-message for shit, my fingers just aren’t that nimble. But if I could, you bet your ass I would in the interest of respecting my client’s precious time.
At that, I’m at a bit of a loss why some colleagues don’t get responses to their emails. Could it be their e-mails are actually eeeeeeeeeee-mails? An e-mail, as far as I’m concerned, ought to be around 3 lines long at most – Anything more should go into an attachment as an official “Document”. I get some messages from these other guys that are just tedious to read, mini-books in fact. Most of the time, it’s just long-winded bullshit that they wanted to word “just so”. Whatever. If I get an e-mail that looks like it’s going to take more than 30 seconds to read, it’s got a great chance of going in the crapper.
Quite frankly, my rates are high enough to charge by the minute so anything that takes more than a few seconds to read costs me money. If it’s in an attachment, the meter starts running – That’s something I consider more like evidence, and digesting such would be time spent on my client’s behalf. As a professional, I try to spend such time-money wisely and with value to my client in mind. Since the entire concept behind the SIU’s existence is to both provide value to policy holders and keep their company competitive, it wouldn’t surprise me that long-winded e-mails addressed to their department likewise go in the crapper as a matter of policy.
As for not providing enough information about a claimant, I’m baffled. Isn’t that what the PI is being paid to gather? If the SIU had enough information about a claimant, why in the hell would they need a Private Investigator?
Absolutely, the more info they can predicate, the better and the SIU guys know that – they’re not idiots. They do get busy sometimes and don’t always review the assignment orders. If they send me one that looks especially difficult (like, a “John Smith”), I’ll occasionally ask if they’ve got anything else on a claimant just to keep from killing the budget on database work. But generally, a name, address and SSN is all I expect. If a PI can’t work on that alone, he probably doesn’t have the resources needed to be effective at his profession and I can see why the SIU wouldn’t be particularly communicative.
I suppose success in the claims industry is all about trying to be a low-maintenance vendor. Do the job, write the report, don’t bug the client and be done with it. That’s how I roll.