Litigation is often one of the largest cost drivers in many workers’ compensation programs. In this RIMS 2016 session, panelists shared how they revamped each element of litigation management to drive down costs and achieve sustainable results.
- Amy Turner, Senior Manager Risk Management Compliance, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Karen Stankevitz, Director of Consulting, Aptus Risk Solutions
A small percentage of claims can drive a large percentage of program costs. By managing litigated claims, you can significantly impact program performance. It’s important to shift your focus on this small percentage of claims.
You must start by defining a “win”…and that is not always just winning the case. You have to educate your attorney that shutting down the case at the most efficient cost might be your win, not necessarily a verdict in your favor. By defining that win and educating your attorneys to understand the business case, you create the path to the win. Communication is key.
There is a large gap between claims and legal and often lawyers do not want to challenge adjusters. One of the largest opportunities is in obtaining information and authority and knowing where to go to get it. If there is no elevation loop to get your authority you need, your litigation management will suffer.
You must look at your adjuster and attorney as a team and communicate that they will be evaluated on how they perform as such. The risk manager must own this relationship, create this team dynamic and communicate expectations clearly.
Challenges arise with limited resources and data. How can you track what you don’t have and how do you get it? A great place to start is by creating a litigation progress report so that you don’t have to go in and audit to get the information. Create a spreadsheet with basic claims data and ask the attorneys to complete their rows of data. The goal is to try to identify the roadblocks in the process then to facilitate communication between the attorney and the adjuster to remove the delays.
The litigation progress report enables the risk manager to make better business decisions. You can filter the injuries and comorbidity factors that could create costly developmental claims so that you can address them sooner than later. It enables earlier and proper exposure assessment and contributes to identification of an efficient and effective path to resolution, including the accountability necessary to achieve that resolution.