The 2021 Workers’ Compensation Power Brokers — and the Lessons They’ve Taught Us

By: | March 15, 2021

Michelle Kerr is Workers’ Compensation Editor and National Conference Chair for Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected].

The February issue of Risk & Insurance honored 188 brokers as Power Brokers, six of them specifically for their efforts in addressing clients’ workers’ comp challenges.

Take the time to read their profiles.

The stories their clients shared with us are a testament to a common truth: There are no easy answers in workers’ comp, pandemic or no.

Each of these brokers, faced with a client’s challenge, jumped in up to their necks to analyze every detail, and found creative solutions.

  • One organization facing a “crescendo” of COVID-19 claims turned to Marsh broker Julie Raatz. Raatz relied on her experience as a claims adjuster to fully assess the client’s needs and pain points quickly, and negotiated the placement of temporary adjusters on the account.
  • When a client needed to improve the effectiveness of its safety program, Jeff Breskin of EPIC Insurance Brokers analyzed the pieces of the existing program, and helped tie it together by identifying a vendor with expertise in making safety a high priority throughout the organization.
  • Marsh broker Brian Gauss spotted a trend that spelled opportunity — a client’s TPA wasn’t aggressively pursuing recovery through the Workers’ Compensation Second Injury Fund. Gauss helped identify which claims to target for recovery. The client has received more than a million dollars in recovery funds so far.
  • For a client with a large bundled program, Stephens Insurance broker Brian Chance dove in and assessed programs, costs and outcomes, and came up with a strategic plan of targeted unbundling that resulted in hundreds of thousands in savings for the company.
  • When clients were facing uncertainty over the fate of their legacy claims during COVID-19 disruption, Marsh broker Wendy Thomas got into the weeds and developed an aggressive strategy to close difficult claims and free up significant reserves.
  • A client of Marsh broker Susan Webb faced a daunting challenge — changing TPAs after a long-time partnership. Webb led the way, analyzing options and details, and helping them choose a proactive partner to meet their precise program goals.

What we can’t fit in to these all-too-brief profiles is what these brokers do with their newfound knowledge once a problem is solved. But I can tell you anyway. Power Brokers identify the lessons that will help them move forward – and share that knowledge with other clients as well as their peers. Most will also tell you they consider it their responsibility to share what they know.

It’s also everyone’s responsibility, across the workers’ comp spectrum.

Throughout 2020, the landscape of challenges faced and solutions created reached extraordinary new proportions, as did the volume of lessons learned — good and bad. In the fatigue of weathering the pandemic crisis, it’s tempting to just move on to the next problem to solve. But that would be a lost opportunity.

Now is the time to reflect on the lessons learned and the solutions put forth, and to separate the wheat from the chaff. A year into the disruption that changed everything, what have you learned? And how can you elevate the workers’ comp community around you with the insight you’ve gained?

The Power Brokers — the ones you’ll read about in 2022 — are already doing that now. Kudos to the 2021 Workers’ Comp Power Brokers for their exceptional work. Keep innovating, Keep sharing. &

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