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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Weakening Questions

Sure Enough Insurance is a large insurance company that has recently been experiencing financial difficulties. Claims are handled by claims coordinators who determine how much, if at all, Sure Enough must pay a policy holder who has made a claim. The aforementioned financial difficulties are forcing Sure Enough to fire 25% of its claims coordinators. To minimize the potentially harmful effects of these cuts, it is recommended that Sure Enough lay off coordinators whose average time of completing work on their assigned claims is the longest.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously calls into question the argument's conclusion?

Correct!

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This answer choice weakens the conclusion's assumption. the reasoning behind laying off the agents who take longer to complete their analysis is that these agents are inefficient compared to their faster colleagues, and thus laying them off will do the least damage. However, if the most competent workers are given the complex and lengthy tasks to complete, then obviously they will take up more time per task, despite being competent. This, however, does not mean that they should be fired. Therefore, the data in this answer choice definitely weakens the author's conclusion.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the argument's conclusion because it makes a statement about the payment process in general and does not refer to the factor of time. Weakening the conclusion requires that you show why the criterion according to which staff will be fired is not the best one and that it could lead to firing the wrong employees.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the argument's conclusion because the argument deals with the issue of which coordinators to fire. No mention is made of transferring employees to other departments.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice strengthens the conclusion, but you are required to weaken it. If business is lost when claims take too long to process, then the idea that coordinators that take longer to finish claims should be fired is supported.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the argument's conclusion because the argument does not deal with premiums or competitors. Since no mention is made of these topics, further information about them cannot help us determine which employees to fire.

No insurance payments are made by Sure Enough until a claims coordinator has completed work on the claim.
Other departments in Sure Enough Insurance do not have any job vacancies.
A significant increase in the amount of time it takes Sure Enough claims coordinators to complete work on claims could result in Sure Enough's loss of business to competitors.
Sure Enough's policy is to assign complex and lengthy claims to the most competent coordinators. 
There is no significant difference between the premiums Sure Enough currently charges and those charged by its competitors.