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Putting the worst claims in the best hands is the notion behind Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.’s GB Transportation program.
In its first five months, the program was used to successfully close 500 of 1,200 lingering commercial trucking liability claims — deemed among the most difficult to tackle given that they often result in awards in excess of $1 million.
“It’s clear that juries and the plaintiffs bar have compelling arguments to make and juries are awarding significant amounts of money at a great pace and at higher numbers,” said Charlie Lamberta, Houston-based executive vice president, director of operations, for Gallagher Bassett Specialty.
With variances by state in statutes of limitations, lawsuits “can trail for years,” he said, adding that “a fair number of plaintiffs are potentially treated for a long period of time and are not of the mindset to accept a settlement. It’s also a strategy in litigation; plaintiffs will attempt to enhance whatever damages or future damages they may be able to put in front of a jury.”
Noticing this trend of “nuclear verdicts,” with adverse verdicts against transportation companies of $1 million or more increasing by 967% between 2010 and 2018, Gallagher Bassett in 2020 created GB Transportation.
The team brings together more than 100 third-party administrator professionals — from information technology experts and front-line claims managers to resolution handlers and transportation industry-attuned attorneys — to be “in lock step” to better focus on the difficult claims, he said.
Starting in September 2020 the team triaged 1,200 files, focusing on claim severity and time sensitivity, and sought litigation control opportunities. Overall, the team managed that 1,200 open-claim inventory with a reserve reduction of more than $3 million and with incurred outcomes 60% lower than the traditional TPA approach, according to Gallagher Bassett.
“These statistics are indicative of the type of results you can expect when a TPA devotes itself to an industry in this sort of segmented way,” Mr. Lamberta said.
The team, for its quick success in closing 44% of those most challenging claims in months, earned Business Insurance’s U.S. Insurance Award for TPA Team of the Year.
“In order to service our clients beyond the blocking and tackling of claims, which is what you would expect from any TPA, we wanted to throw in our best,” Mr. Lamberta said. “That’s what our focus is. We have these individuals who have lived and breathed transportation claims. … they can work with plaintiffs and plaintiffs attorneys to get to the end of the game sooner,” he said.
• Constitution State Services LLC — A subsidiary of Travelers Insurance Cos., Constitution mobilized the talent and technology to deliver claim capabilities for a gig economy company’s insurers.
• CorVel Corp. — In 2017 a retail chain had a dated workers compensation program, which CorVel helped improve with 24/7 nurse triage to help manage injuries at the onset, telehealth services and analytics.
• Crawford & Co.’s Broadspire — A team working on a clothing company’s account improved outcomes by enlisting data and analytics to help identify delays in care and proper treatment that contributed to higher disability.
• Keenan/AssuredPartners — The company formed a task force of claims operations, medical management, loss control, investigators, legal counsel and customer service team members to help manage nuanced COVID-19 claim activity.
The 2021 Business Insurance U.S. Insurance Awards celebrate a wide range of teams and individuals from across the insurance and risk management sector.