Using Trello for Claim Management as an Auto Damage Appraiser

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The phone rings, you get 5 emails, 10 new claims, 2 inspections to go, don’t forget the milk, all the chaos moving around you and you forgot to inspect Mr. Smith’s car or forgot to upload that form they requested for a third time costing you an account. It happens to the best of us. That is why claims management as an auto damage appraiser is so important

(this article is inspired by my interview of the “Everyday Man” Shawn Parsons on episode IA 47 of the Independent Adjuster Podcast. Click HERE to listen to the episode.)

Staying organized and having a system in place can mean the difference between a thriving business, marriage, and family life or disaster and stress on all fronts. Keeping your work organized and having a system and process in place can be critical to ensure you know what needs to be done.

There are great programs like, Claim Leader, that help you manage and run teams of people with as they claim, “The Most Advanced and Complete Appraisal Management System.” I like Claim Leader, but what if it’s just you? Or just you and one other guy? Not ready for a full suite of advanced tools?

During my conversation with Shawn Parsons, the “Everyday Man,” he mentioned a turning point in his career when he was able to get organized and stay on top of the claims and things that needed to be done. He personally used Claim Leader, but he said it’s only once you have enough volume and a team to support it.

Soooo I got to thinking…… if I was to start over right now, knowing what I know, how would I start my own small appraisal company? How would I run my claims management system and keep the costs under $20 a month or better yet….. FREE?!?

This article is here to outline for you how to use a state of the art way to “to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.” IA Path would like to introduce you to, Trello.

Trello is an online platform or app for your phone that allows you to create virtual cards that you can easily drag and drop through the different sections of your workflow board.

I did a test run and I am sold on the idea of using Trello as a small claims company management system. Let me show you how I set this up.

Trello as a Claim Management System

First you need to set up your different stages of the claim. Trello calls these columns “lists.” This will give us our workflow that we move our claims through to know where they are in our process. These claims are called “cards” inside of Trello.

The sections I set up were in the following order, (see image below)

  1. Received – As soon as you receive a claim you create a card to represent that claim. You can do this from your Android or Apple phone or from your desktop app or through your browser. Upload the assignment sheet and guidelines right to the claim card inside of Trello to ensure you don’t miss anything.
  2. Left Message – Reach out to the owner and leave a message? Move the card to this column or phase. (don’t forget to add a comment to keep track of your activity) 
  3. Scheduled – Once you have secured an appointment move the card to this section. This represents the column of all your claims that you have scheduled. You can add a due date that represents the date and time you have appointment set for giving you a visually easy way to see when your claims are scheduled. Trello also allows you to enable a Calendar view, so you can see visually on a Calendar when your appointments are.
  4. Inspected – Once you are done taking your photos at an appointment take a photo of your scope sheet, move the claim card to this column and attach all the photos to the corresponding Trello card. This will make sure you never misplace or lose your photos again. You can also connect your Google Drive account and upload your photos to google drive and simply link your claim card to the google drive folder.
  5. Completed – Once the claim is completed you have the option of putting all the completed claim cards here (which I suggest) and once you have invoiced and been paid for the claim you can archive those claim cards which you have been paid for.
  6. Supplements – Now that you got a call from a body shop and need to complete a supplement you can retrieve your archived card and add it to this column. This will give you a good visual on all the supplements that need taken care of.

This system will not only work if you are a one man team, but will also be very helpful with a small team. You can have real-time collaboration, give your team members the ability to add notes and move cards and allow you to keep track of all the activity from multiple people.

Trello has many useful features that will keep you organized. Below I list some of the ones I got most excited about.

Comments – Each card has its own comments section. This is time stamped and is no different than a claim diary. This is where you can keep track of all your notes and activity

Due Date – Utilize the due date as an appointment date to visualize when your appointments are scheduled in an easy manner.

Calendar – Trello has “power ups” which allow you to make your board even better. One of my favorites in the calendar power up. This would enable us as a claims management company to visualize on a calendar what claims are scheduled for when.

Updates – Trello notifies you of any changes made. This is useful if you have a team of people updating Trello cards. You know which clients need updated on which files quickly.

Assign Member – This useful feature is great if you are working with multiple people. Inside of the claim card you can assign a member to that card adding their initials on the outside of the card for a quick way to see who is handling that claim.

Card Aging – Another very cool power up, Card Aging, visually makes the card age if you haven’t updated it or moved it in a selected amount of time. Very useful to ensure you don’t forget to follow up or status your files each day.

Card Numbers – Want your own file numbers? They have a power up for that. It automatically assigns each card a unique ID #.

Card Snooze – Owner out of town until late next week? Snooze it with this power up so you don’t get sick of seeing it! Snooze (archive) a card until a set time, when it will be automatically sent back to the board.

This is just some of the features and things you can do with Trello. If you are running a company solo or with one or two appraisers, you may want to check out how Trello can work for you as a claims management system. Also check out the episode that inspired this episode by clicking HERE

Regardless of what system or software you use, I highly encourage you to use a system, stay organized, and thrive.

Your Guide

Chris Stanley

P.S. Let me know what you use to do to stay organized with your claims in the comments below.

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