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Subrogation – Workers Comp Money Left On Table


Workers Comp Money – Subrogation Concerns

Sometimes Subrogation turns into the Workers Comp money left on the table. I have covered subrogation a few times in prior posts. I am bringing it up again due to our recent Workers Comp file reviews. One area which we have noticed a lack of training or knowledge in Workers Comp files is subrogation.

Money Subrogation on table
Wikimedia Commons – DEA Employee

One of our trucking clients had left $240,000 on the table due to the TPA not pursuing subrogation before the statutes tolled. Many of my readers will likely know the definition of subrogation. I will not use the classic definitions as they are confusing.

An example of subrogation is when a delivery driver is rear-ended in an auto accident while making his/her deliveries. He/she suffers injuries and files a Workers Comp claim for benefits. The driver of the other car is responsible for reimbursement of the benefits to the Workers Comp carrier. The Workers Comp carrier has the responsibility to protect their client’s interests and to pursue subrogation. This is an easy example.

There are many instances that we find in files where the situation is more complicated, or the initial notice letter to the responsible party is sent, but then there is no follow-up. We also see where the subro check is received by the carrier but is not properly credited to the file. This can cost an insured many times over as their E-Mod would be affected.

Picture Worried Businessman at Table with Wad of Cash in Mouse Trap Subrogation Concerns

Why does this happen? I think it is that Workers Comp adjusters have such a hybrid job to do from a regular liability adjuster. How often does a liability adjuster have to make sure that an injured employee’s weekly check made it to them? The volume of communications or mail is huge for a Workers Comp adjuster.

The bottom line is that they are so busy, that it is just part of the file that cannot be tended to in their normal job duties. I have also noticed that liability adjusters receive a large amount of training in subrogation while the Workers Comp adjuster does not receive that much training in third party liability.

I think that I may have come upon a solution. Check back with me on the next post. I try not to write posts that are too long as insurance is not the most exciting subject.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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