The Language of Insurance Claims Adjustment Interviews: interviews or interrogations? Glen Michael Alessi Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia Insurance adjusters in the United States act as independent third parties, interviewing accident victims in order to establish both an accurate report of events as well assess degrees of testimony reliability. The resulting information helps in determining who is at fault, and influences assigning liability for damages. Adjusters are hired by insurance companies to provide impartial expertise in accurately reporting the context, sequence, conditions and chronology of events involved in the accident. When impossible to conduct a face to face interview at the scene of the accident, interviews are conducted via telephone. The interviews follow a predictable sequence of guided semi-scripted questions on the part of the adjuster and unscripted recall on the part of the interviewee. The study here presented is based on spoken corpus of 17 taped and transcribed adjuster-victim interviews comprising 98,936 tokens . It describes the discourse features found in these assessment interviews and compares them with features found in police interrogations. Initial observations revealed highly predictable formulaic question types and sequencing of interrogatives which establish and confirm shared knowledge. Adjusters encourage spontaneous and unsolicited information through open questions only after confronting factual minimal response answers from closed questions. Open questions may elicit more detailed yet tenuous information along with unsolicited answers, contradictions, silences or corrections ; which, as in interrogations, may prove self-accusatory and influence establishing reliability of testimony and assigning fault. Interviews began with closed questions requiring minimal standardized responses. Further on, questions evolved into open questions requiring more detailed yet tenuous information, evaluation and occasional interpretation by interviewee. “ So” questions implying accusation or a presumably shared assumptions were generally used more to restate and summarize information given by the interviewee in the previous turn. The adjuster firmly manages the conversation and elicits information through careful back-channelling, topic management, turn-taking, name repetition, tags, and selection between characterisation and relational identifications or numerical and official identifications. References Buenker, Josef F. The Interpreter's Guide to the Vehicular Accident Lawsuit. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2005. Print. Drew, Paul, and John Heritage. Talk at Work: Interaction in Institutional Settings. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print. Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise. Professional Discourse. London: Continuum, 2009. Print. Heydon, Georgina. The Language of Police Interviewing: a Critical Analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print. Holt, Elizabeth, and Rebecca Clift. Reporting Talk: Reported Speech in Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. Print. Koester, Almut. Workplace Discourse. London: Continuum, 2010. Print. Magarick, Pat. Casualty Investigation Checklists. New York, NY: C. Boardman, 1985. Print. Martin, Warren. "Warren, M. 2009. The Phraseology of Intertextuality in English for Professional Communication. Language Value 1/1: 1-16." Language Value 1.1 (2009): 1-16. Print. Pomerantz, Anita. "Descriptions in Legal Settings." Ed. Button Graham. Print. Rpt. in Talk and Social Organization. Ed. John R.E. Lee. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters, 1987. 226-43. Print. Shuy, Roger W. The Language of Confession, Interrogation and Deception. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1998. Print

The language of insurance claims adjustments: interviews or interrogations / Alessi, Glen Michael. - STAMPA. - (2013), pp. 23-36.

The language of insurance claims adjustments: interviews or interrogations

ALESSI, Glen Michael
2013

Abstract

The Language of Insurance Claims Adjustment Interviews: interviews or interrogations? Glen Michael Alessi Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia Insurance adjusters in the United States act as independent third parties, interviewing accident victims in order to establish both an accurate report of events as well assess degrees of testimony reliability. The resulting information helps in determining who is at fault, and influences assigning liability for damages. Adjusters are hired by insurance companies to provide impartial expertise in accurately reporting the context, sequence, conditions and chronology of events involved in the accident. When impossible to conduct a face to face interview at the scene of the accident, interviews are conducted via telephone. The interviews follow a predictable sequence of guided semi-scripted questions on the part of the adjuster and unscripted recall on the part of the interviewee. The study here presented is based on spoken corpus of 17 taped and transcribed adjuster-victim interviews comprising 98,936 tokens . It describes the discourse features found in these assessment interviews and compares them with features found in police interrogations. Initial observations revealed highly predictable formulaic question types and sequencing of interrogatives which establish and confirm shared knowledge. Adjusters encourage spontaneous and unsolicited information through open questions only after confronting factual minimal response answers from closed questions. Open questions may elicit more detailed yet tenuous information along with unsolicited answers, contradictions, silences or corrections ; which, as in interrogations, may prove self-accusatory and influence establishing reliability of testimony and assigning fault. Interviews began with closed questions requiring minimal standardized responses. Further on, questions evolved into open questions requiring more detailed yet tenuous information, evaluation and occasional interpretation by interviewee. “ So” questions implying accusation or a presumably shared assumptions were generally used more to restate and summarize information given by the interviewee in the previous turn. The adjuster firmly manages the conversation and elicits information through careful back-channelling, topic management, turn-taking, name repetition, tags, and selection between characterisation and relational identifications or numerical and official identifications. References Buenker, Josef F. The Interpreter's Guide to the Vehicular Accident Lawsuit. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2005. Print. Drew, Paul, and John Heritage. Talk at Work: Interaction in Institutional Settings. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print. Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise. Professional Discourse. London: Continuum, 2009. Print. Heydon, Georgina. The Language of Police Interviewing: a Critical Analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print. Holt, Elizabeth, and Rebecca Clift. Reporting Talk: Reported Speech in Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. Print. Koester, Almut. Workplace Discourse. London: Continuum, 2010. Print. Magarick, Pat. Casualty Investigation Checklists. New York, NY: C. Boardman, 1985. Print. Martin, Warren. "Warren, M. 2009. The Phraseology of Intertextuality in English for Professional Communication. Language Value 1/1: 1-16." Language Value 1.1 (2009): 1-16. Print. Pomerantz, Anita. "Descriptions in Legal Settings." Ed. Button Graham. Print. Rpt. in Talk and Social Organization. Ed. John R.E. Lee. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters, 1987. 226-43. Print. Shuy, Roger W. The Language of Confession, Interrogation and Deception. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1998. Print
The Three Waves of Globalization: Winds of Change in Professional , Institutional and Academic Genres
1443851590
978-1443851596
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
REGNO UNITO DI GRAN BRETAGNA
The language of insurance claims adjustments: interviews or interrogations / Alessi, Glen Michael. - STAMPA. - (2013), pp. 23-36.
Alessi, Glen Michael
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