In Memorium: Sedgwick’s Darrell Brown

Insurance industry professionals share their memories of Sedgwick's Darrell Brown, who passed away in November after a brief illness.
By: | December 2, 2019

The commercial insurance industry lost a revered and influential figure in mid-November when Darrell Brown, most recently an Executive Vice President and Chief Claims Officer for Sedgwick, passed away.

Brown was an injured worker advocate before the term became a buzzword. Those who befriended him or worked with him closely remember a man who was a great communicator, well-equipped and well able to help lead the workers’ compensation industry forward.

“Darrell was an amazing colleague and friend and his passing is still surreal to me,” said Kimberly George, a senior health care advisor for Sedgwick.

“Darrell was always collaborative, and he worked diligently to build and empower inclusive, diverse teams,” she added. “Quick to share his knowledge, he was also a tremendous listener, taking in opinions and thoughtfully sharing his own.”

Brown joined Sedgwick in 2001. In announcing Brown’s appointment as EVP and chief claims officer in 2015, Sedgwick’s CEO Dave North called Brown “a driving force in shaping our outcomes-based approach to claims management.

“As our new chief claims officer, Darrell will draw on his in-depth understanding of our industry and the evolving regulatory landscape to help us deliver the highest quality claims and productivity management solutions for our customers,” North added.

One of those customers was Dawn Watkins, an award-winning risk manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“I first met him in 2003; Sedgwick was already on the account,” Watson recalled.

“Sedgwick had a presentation for all of its clients on workers’ compensation. And I was immediately impressed by the power of his presentation, and I think our friendship blossomed from that moment,” she added.

Although Brown was a busy professional who took on more and more responsibility over the years, Watkins said he always listened to her, amply.

“One of the things I admired about Darrell was when I reached out to him whether it was work related, or not, he left me feeling that not only did he understand me, but he had as much time as I needed,” she said.

Peter Rousmaniere, a recently retired workers’ compensation consultant and reporter, said it was Brown’s empathy that made him one of the great ones.

“A workers’ compensation claims professional, to perform her or his job in light of community expectations — claims management is a community vocation — must be able, even under very trying circumstances, to empathize with all those engaged in injury response.

“This aspect of Darrell’s nature was quickly evident when you discussed with him a claims scenario fraught with the risk of discord and missteps,” Rousmaniere added.

“I often teased Darrell in the more recent years, asking which title he appreciated more, being Sedgwick’s chief claims officer or the mayor of workers’ compensation in California,” Sedgwick’s George added.

“Darrell was an industry leader. He thought not of himself or just about Sedgwick, but more so about the betterment of the workers’ compensation industry, across all stakeholders,” George said.

In addition to overseeing the company’s practice groups and Performance 360® quality program, Brown led the development and operation of a unit dedicated to enhancing Sedgwick’s resolution of complex claims. Brown had more than 20 years of claims management experience.

He joined Sedgwick in 2001 as an assistant claims manager, and also served in operations manager and area manager roles. Most recently, Brown spent over five years as Sedgwick’s workers’ compensation practice lead.

Brown was a frequent presenter and also supported the Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study. Sponsored by the Chicago-based medical management company, Rising Medical, the study draws on the knowledge of hundreds of claims experts to identify trends in the workers’ compensation industry.

“I am deeply saddened by his loss, he has left a lasting legacy,” said Denise Zoe Algire, the study’s lead researcher and principal author.

“Darrell was an amazing person. I had the pleasure of working with him as the Chief Claims Officer for Sedgwick and the Benchmarking Study,” Algire said.

“We presented together many times. He brought deep industry knowledge to every session, but always brought it home to one key objective … doing the right thing for injured workers,” said Algire, who also serves as the director of risk initiatives and national medical director for Albertsons Companies. &

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]