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The Cornerstone to Building Trust: Frequency-Severity Method

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

As someone who spent nearly two decades in the Property Casualty Insurance industry, we all spent our days guided by the "frequency-severity method" as a means to determine an insured's anticipated claim activity. Well, it has been ten years since I have worked in the Insurance business, but I am still talking about frequency and severity with my coaching clients on a daily basis. These two words are critical to building trust, developing workplace relationships and ultimately navigating the tricky, grey areas of any organization.

What do I mean by this? Well, as some of you may have learned the hard way, plowing your way into a new role or organization like a bull in china shop never works, no matter how smart you are. It doesn't matter how great your ideas are, no one wants to hear them, unless they trust you. In other words, you can not put a roof, window or walls on a house unless you have built a strong foundation of trust, first.

But trust takes time and is hard to earn. This is where frequency and severity come back into play. You have to put the time in (frequency). Whether that means grabbing coffee, lunch, dinner or a walk aound campus, investing the time is the only way to break down any barriers and truly get to know your colleagues, how they think, what is important to them, and the best way to communicate with them. This is the foundation to buidling trust and to ulimately getting things done. Without this foundation of trust, people can start sabotaging your ideas, putting up walls, and it can damage your reputation. It can also result in lost productivity and a negative impact on morale.

So where do you start?. Figure out who your stakeholders are and start scheduling meetings with them. Block out this time on your calendar at least once a week. This will not only boost morale by investing in your collegues, but this will pay dividends in your ability to collaborate with them and get things done. Bottom line, keep the frequency up and ultimately the severity of working in a low trust environment will stay down!


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