If your law firm is asking, “How Can I Become Panel Counsel for an Insurance Company” focused on workers’ compensation, Legal Expert Connections, Inc. can help. We’ve conducted workers’ compensation panel counsel marketing campaigns for law firms to target new clients in the following categories:
- Workers’ compensation insurance carriers
- Employers who maintain a self-insured retention (SIR) program
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Programs
- Defense Base Act (DBA) coverage, which provides workers’ compensation protection to civilian employees working outside the country on U.S. military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense
The workers’ compensation panel counsel program is often administered totally separately from other negligence panels (like auto or professional liability) within an insurance carrier. This can make it particularly difficult to determine who the individual panel manager is, where they are located, and how a law firm can reach out to them.
At Legal Expert Connections, we make it our business to help workers’ comp law firms connect with the panel manager. We also prepare professional marketing materials as part of our service to help the law firm make an introduction. Our goal is to accelerate your business development cycle.
Below is additional information about the workers’ compensation panel counsel process.
Insurance Carriers for Workers’ Compensation
The top three workers’ compensation carriers across the U.S. in 2016 were Travelers, The Hartford and AmTrust NGH Group, according to an NAIC annual report. Additionally, there are a number of insurance companies, like Accident Fund, which focus primarily or exclusively on the workers’ compensation market.
Insurance coverage for workers’ compensation programs varies by state. Our goal is to identify all the leading carriers within a state, as well as the top employers who maintain their own panel.
Employers and Workers’ Compensation Panel Counsel Programs
Many employers maintain significant in-house control over the workers’ compensation claims process, while other employers outsource some or all of the responsibility to a third party administrator (TPA).
Employers with some level of self-insured retention (SIR) program often maintain a workers’ compensation panel counsel program in-house. Many law firms prefer working directly with the employer, where possible, since rates may be more flexible and there could be a better chance for longer-term personal relationships.
Check also to see if your state is home to an association of self-insured employers. Examples include:
- Florida Association of Self Insurance
- Texas Self-Insurance Association
- New York Self-Insurers Association
- California Self-Insurers Association
These self-insurer associations often host annual conferences and other activities for members that provide a chance for workers’ compensation law firms to meet local employers and insurance carriers.
PEO and Workers’ Compensation Panel Counsel
In recent years, an increasing number of small and medium-sized businesses have employed Professional Employee Organizations (PEOs) to manage basic personnel functions, including hiring, performance management, benefits administration, payroll services, and risk management.
According to 2017 statistics provided by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), the size of the PEO industry is between $136 and $156 billion, as measured in gross revenues. Between 780 and 980 PEOs operate in the United States, and they employ between 21,000 and 27,000 people internally. Up to 180,000 small and mid-sized businesses, employing between 2.7 and 3.4 million people, utilize PEO services.
Many of these PEOs maintain relationships with defense counsel, which may or may not be in a formal workers’ compensation panel counsel context.
Workers’ Comp Panel Counsel and Third Party Administrators
Often, an employer hires a TPA to manage workers’ compensation claims on their behalf. Typically, the employer retains decision-making authority over the law firm’s that handle the defense of claims.
The three-way relationship between the law firm, the employer and the third party administrator can present challenges. This often happens when the TPA has an existing relationship with a law firm, but does not have hiring authority to appoint law firms as workers’ compensation panel counsel.
Also, an employer may change their TPA periodically. This presents both new business opportunities for law firms hoping to break in, as well as possible losses to law firms that had been working with the TPA.
Some of the leading TPAs in the workers’ compensation industry include Gallagher Bassett, Sedgwick, and York Risk Services.
Background on Workers’ Compensation Programs
Workers’ Compensation programs provide benefits to certain workers (or their dependents) who experience work-related injury or occupational disease. These programs are typically managed at a state level by the respective state Department of Insurance.
State-level programs generally administer four major disability compensation programs that provide an injured worker with the following benefit options:
- Wage replacement benefits
- Medical treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Other benefits
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), based in Boca Raton, Fla., is a national industry organization that gathers workers’ compensation data, analyzes industry trends, and prepares objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. The majority of state insurance departments have designated NCCI as the licensed rating and statistical organization for the state.
Workers’ Compensation Panel Counsel Marketing Campaigns
If your workers’ compensation law firm or practice group is asking how you can get on more insurance panels, give us a call. We have helped more than 100 insurance defense law firms pursue new panel counsel clients, including a number of campaigns targeting workers’ compensation panel counsel programs.
Legal Expert Connections, Inc. offers three key benefits to insurance defense law firms nationwide:
- We are the leading U.S. legal marketing agency specializing in the insurance defense market. We know the panel counsel process, and focus on helping you get new engagements.
- Save time and money. You get quality results without the need to invest in senior in-house marketing / business development staff with the associated overhead expense for office space, equipment, and benefits.
- Increase revenue with professional, on-going legal marketing campaigns. We do the research to identify insurance panel managers, so you can accelerate your business development process.
Disclaimer: Information in this article is taken from various company and industry news sources, and is believed to be reliable.