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claim papers have been received, and that railroad claim number of a certain series and number has been assigned to it, under which the investigation will be conducted.
Subsequent correspondence with the freight claim agent of the industry should refer to the railroad claim number, in addition to the industrial claim number, to facilitate the assembling and locating of the correspondence.
As in the case of tracers, it is desirable to assign a separate set of numbers for claims, using a different prefix, preferably the letter C, followed by the number which has been given to a particular claim.
In the assignment of numbers to claims, there is no necessity of indicating the month in which the claim was filed; the letter prefix and the single numeral has been found to be sufficient. Obviously, the same number should not be used again after having once been assigned to a claim.
The advantage of the prefix is that on inbound correspondence, the correspondence clerk, or mail clerk, can readily identify the letters and distribute them to the proper individuals in the department. All numbers bearing a “T” prefix, for example, would be passed to the tracing clerk, and all letters bearing a number with a “C” prefix would be passed to the claim investigator.
The customary practice is to provide stout manilla backs for the correspondence, and on these is provided a space in which to insert the claim number.
This stout back protects the lighter weight correspondence paper and prevents the mutilation of the various documents and correspondence used to substantiate the claim.
THREE CLASSES OF CLAIMS
After the inauguration of the system, claims will resolve themselves into three classes as far as the industry is concerned: claims adjusted, claims declined and claims in suspense.
RESURRECTION OF DECLINED ISSUES
While, temporarily at least, declined claims and those which have been adjusted are, for the time being, disposed of and apparently fall in the same class, it is recommended that declined claims be maintained in a separate file from the adjusted claims. The reason for this is that it is not unlikely that some court ruling or decision handed down at some later date will have a bearing on some of the declined claims, and that this decision may be resorted to as a lever to compel payment.
INTEREST AN ELEMENT OF DAMAGE
Under the Interstate Commerce Commission regulations, claimants are entitled to interest as an element of damage on overcharge claims. In drawing up the claim papers on such a case, a rubber impression stamp is frequently used to indicate across the face of the claim that interest is demanded on this claim at time of settlement for elapsed time after payment of excessive charges at the rate of 6 per cent per annum, in accordance with the ruling of the
Interstate Commerce Commission made as of October 14, 1912.
This has a salutory effect upon the investigation by the carrier. The claim is investigated with the utmost dispatch and reparation made to the claimant as soon as possible, in order to reduce the amount of interest to be paid the claimant.
For the accommodation of claims held in abeyance, that is, those which are under investigation and on which correspondence is continued, ordinary vertical letter files are recommended.
A single tier or so of three drawers should suffice to accommodate the requirements of the claim department of even a large organization and be sufficient for some little time to come. Should the necessity for additional space become apparent, this can be provided by procuring additional units of the same size and construction.
To measure the efficiency of the department in the recovery of amounts involved in claims, various forms of claim registers are available, but no one form can be recommended as adequate for all purposes. The following suggestion, however, will suffice in the majority of cases and in form it may be a bound book to suit the individual case or requirements or, preferably, one of the many loose-leaf devices available.
Fig. 27 provides vertical columns to show the industrial claim number; the carrier against whom the claim