The workers’ compensation industry is all about relationships: relationships with clients, with rehabilitation facilities, and with other insurance agents. With 17 years of experience, Claire Muselman knows what it takes to build and foster a variety of working relationships.
Muselman is the Director of Workers’ Compensation and founder of the first ever Workers’ Recovery Unit with Continental Western Group. She has also earned her doctorate in education, and teaches courses on workers’ compensation at Drake University.
Her top three tips for success are: communicate, be authentic and be transparent.
“This is a very challenging industry to understand,” Muselman said. “Explain the why, make sure the information you are giving out is consumable, and be upfront and honest about it.”
As a Director, Muselman is involved in the recovery process from start to finish, deciding where an injured worker should go to receive care and coordinating services for when the worker returns home. She works closely with referral development teams like Madonna’s to make sure every need is met throughout the continuum of care.
Muselman says a good adjuster is able to be relatable, compassionate and understanding, which helps create more meaningful and purposeful relationships. She believes finding common ground with an injured worker – like parenting, sports or educational experiences – helps create partnerships and bonds to build a true advocacy relationship based on trust.
Advocacy is something Muselman knows well. While advocating for injured workers, she’s also supporting women in the workers’ compensation industry through the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation, where she serves as the Iowa Ambassador. Across the country, there are hundreds of people who participate in Alliance activities and workshops.
“The Alliance of Women in Workers' Compensation is a think tank of engaged female thought leaders committed to discussing challenges and emerging trends in the workers' compensation industry,” Muselman said. “Our goal is to provide an environment that allows for open dialogue on industry-specific topics resulting in idea sharing, insight gathering and networking.”
Simply put, Muselman says, it’s a supportive group aimed at creating a safe space for people to educate one another and gather information, both about workers' compensation and a variety of other topics – including self-development, growth, diversity and inclusion. While the group has historically been a resource for women in the work comp industry, the Alliance also welcomes men and is able to reach industry professionals across the country, especially with the rise in virtual events due to COVID-19.
As an ambassador, Muselman says her role has changed due to the pandemic. She shifted from focusing heavily on Alliance-related event planning to a more facilitative position where she now hosts virtual collaboration sessions once a week. These sessions, while online, act as a forum where attendees actively participate by sharing, listening and self-reflecting on how the conversation applies to their work.
Muselman said simple changes can make a world of difference in the workers’ compensation industry, especially when interacting with patients and families.
“I think the space in general is kind of difficult,” Muselman said. “When you look at the brand of workers compensation as a whole, it is really thought of in a negative and fear of the unknown. But, we have the power to change someone’s day every time we pick up the phone.”
To learn more about the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation, visit their website, allianceofwomen.org.