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2023 US Insurance Awards: Gallagher Bassett Services Inc., TPA Team of the Year

Bill Bower

When Oklahoma University Health’s risk officer resigned in 2021, the organization found itself without adequate representation to handle its claims management. 

The health care system contacted Gallagher Bassett Specialty to assess its insurance program, which was weeks away from renewals, and formulate a plan. 

From there, a partnership was forged that resulted in an in-person approach to claims and litigation management, said Chicago-based Bill Bower, senior vice president-director of healthcare at the Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. division. 

Mr. Bower put together a team of Gallagher Bassett attorneys to tackle OU Health’s needs and develop a plan for the organization. The team included Shannon Bickham, a vice president with Gallagher Bassett Specialty; Tyler Brooks, an assistant vice president; and Karen Salmon, a senior vice president. 

“Since Tyler and I are here in Oklahoma City, we really bring flexibility to the account where we’re not claims attorneys who are a few states away or something like that,” Ms. Bickham said. “We’re really able to be a resource, a very hands-on resource, to OU Health and to the university in any way that they want us.” 

“This is just a unique opportunity where Shannon and I can provide real-time advice being the boots on the ground there and being able to be accessible to OU’s risk and legal offices as well as having that constant line of communication,” Mr. Brooks said. 

Mr. Bower said that while litigation management is important, health care organizations that aim to reduce risk need to get “closer to the bedside. They need to prevent bad things from happening.” 

The team created a committee structure enabling a multi-disciplinary approach to assess events and determine “how can we stop this from happening again,” Mr. Bower said. 

Through committee work, the team evaluates prior cases and related patient care to identify “opportunities for the organization so that they can take the learnings from the event and translate that into process improvement,” he said. 

The goal is to prevent bad occurrences that could turn into “expensive lawsuits,” Mr. Bower said. 

Ms. Bickham and Mr. Brooks said involving physicians in the process has been beneficial. 

“The big picture here is we’re helping our client achieve better outcomes for their patients,” Mr. Brooks said. 


• Davies Group — The company’s U.S. division’s services include providing clients with industry knowledge, such as updates on relevant legislative trends affecting claims litigation.

• CorVel Corp. — The company used telehealth and other technology to streamline communication among injured workers, care providers and case managers to achieve better results for all involved.

• Helmsman Management Services LLC — The company, a unit of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., used technology to maintain exceptional customer service during the Great Resignation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

• McLarens Inc. — The company’s agriculture TPA team’s approach to agriculture and food industry claims includes instructional lessons on how to improve the claims-handling process.