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Critical Thinking for Property and Casualty Professionals

People may assume critical thinking, the ability to objectively analyze and evaluate an issue, comes to us naturally. Yet most would also agree that our thinking is biased and sometimes uninformed. For those in the Property and Casualty insurance industry, profitability depends on the quality of our thought processes and ultimately, the quality of our decisions. Better thinking … critical thinking … should, in theory, yield better decisions.

A critical thinker is one who:
  • Evaluates key information
  • Asks relevant questions
  • Considers alternatives
  • Comes to a logical conclusion
  • Communicates with confidence

In today’s business world, multiple elements distract us from disciplined thinking. We are bombarded with input from a variety of sources, including emails, texts, data and notices. Our environment is changing as technology evolves and cyber security issues emerge. The pace of business is faster. When you consider the many internal and external factors affecting us on a daily basis, we face a constant uphill battle of managing information.

Some issues that we see in the Property and Casualty industry cause us some real critical thinking challenges just as we go about our business day:

  • The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers’ (CIAB) Commercial Property/Casualty Market Report Q2 2019 revealed increases across all-sized accounts and most lines of business. 1
    • How does a Property and Casualty professional navigate a changing marketplace?
  • The construction industry employs approximately 10 million people in the U.S., according to Statista.2   
    • With advances in technology, there may be fewer workers at a job site. Does the current payroll make sense for the exposure?  
  • Regarding sexual abuse and molestation, the N.Y. Child Victims Act was recently extended until a victim is 55 years old, with a one-year window to file claims that were previously time barred, beginning August 14, 2019.3
    • Have you started discussing this change?

In addition to the above, we face numerous challenges in the insurance world, including: data overload, entrenchment, herd mentality, high emotion, reliance on tools, skipping steps and unconscious bias. If we take a moment to PAUSE, we can begin to develop solutions based on probing questions that can lead to better outcomes. We use this handy feature with movies and music — why not in our business lives? Critical thinking will enable us to reach thoughtful and hopefully profitable decisions.

As Richard W. Paul, a leading expert on critical thinking theory famously said, "Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking in order to make your thinking better." 4

Now let’s pause for a moment and think about that!

Endnotes

  1. https://www.ciab.com/market-intel
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/187412/number-of-employees-in-us-construction
  3. https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/03/22/suits-for-sexual-abuse-deadlines-and-statutes-of-limitations
  4. https://sites.google.com/site/robertsseniorpresentation/professional-identity

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