A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

Developing an app for the insurance sector

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

By Vanessa Porter, Senior Associate, Hall & Wilcox

Early in 2016 the Hall & Wilcox NSW statutory insurance team recognised that, due to changes in privacy rules, the way insurance providers had traditionally approached the identification of recovery potential on workers’ compensation claims needed to change.

Essentially, opportunities for us and other law firms to undertake screening projects in-house for insurance providers were no longer a viable option, as any third party presence on the office floor of an insurer would be a breach of the privacy rules.

The effect of these changes impacted the insurers as they were now required to allocate resources and time to screening claims, and then further resources and time to refer identified claims out to legal providers to pursue. The allocation of resources was not as simple as allocating staff to screen the claims, it also involved extensive training of personnel around the very complex area of law. The effect was also felt by us as a legal provider as the opportunity to partner closely with our clients was taken away, not to mention the opportunity to obtain instructions as a result of an ability to screen claim files to identify recovery potential.

So, Hall & Wilcox partnered with Neota Logic to develop a web based application for the insurance sector to overcome these privacy issues and other 'disruptions' insurers were facing. The app delivers a simple solution to challenge that was complex and overwhelming for many insurance providers. This innovative project was recognised as a finalist in the 2016 ALPMA/LexisNexis Thought Leadership Awards, presented at the 2016 ALPMA Summit Gala Dinner in Melbourne recently.  

The app is user friendly and has the ability to facilitate the identification of recovery potential on workers’ compensation claims. The application requires the user to answer a short series of questions, taking less than a couple of minutes to complete, and is provided with a report containing the relevant information to the recovery aspect of the claim. The application enables insurance professionals to identify claims early in the life of a claim, with little to no cost to them in terms of time or monetary expenditure.

In circumstances where a recovery has been identified, the user can then manage the recovery aspect of the claim internally through their own processes or outsource to Hall & Wilcox or an alternate provider to pursue.

In the past, the identification process may have taken up to half an hour or more per claim, through the use of the application, is done in less than two minutes, and often less than one.

The application can be used to increase the identification of claims with recovery potential across an insurer’s entire portfolio. For example, the application can be introduced as a KPI for staff reviewing claims at the six month mark (or before a claim is closed, where early closure is achieved), ensuring that every claim has been reviewed for recovery potential. 

The result of the review using the application is that recovery potential is identified early, ensuring that any evidence required to pursue such a claim is not lost due to delayed identification, legal advice can be sought in a timely manner and recovery can be achieved early in the life of a claim ensuring that money is going back into the pocket of the insurer/regulator, policy holders see an early and positive effect on their premiums and a permanent record, by way of the report produced by the application, is attached to the file should the information be required for audit or other purposes in the future.

The application can be used by workers’ compensation insurers, insurance brokers/intermediaries and employers. As the technology is simple to use, it can be easily operated by an employee at any level, even someone who has no expertise in identifying the recovery potential on a claim. It can also double as a training tool as its built-in hints and tips assist the user to familiarise themselves with the many and varied scenarios that are involved in a recovery claim.

The recovery application is one of a number of initiatives Hall & Wilcox are implementing as part of its 'Smarter law' strategy, where we are looking at new and better ways of working with our clients, embracing technology, forming new ways of approaching legal issues and improving processes that deliver real value for our clients.

Editor's Note

Readers interested in learning more about this innovative project can watch the video below where Vanessa explains the project and its benefits for the firm, clients and the industry in more detail.


About our Guest Blogger

Vanessa Porter
Vanessa Porter is a Senior Associate at Hall & Wilcox. Vanessa has worked in the insurance industry for 19 years and has gained extensive experience acting for and advising both worker and insurer clients. She has in-house and private practice experience managing workers compensation, work injury damages, common law, double insurance and section 151Z recoveries claims. She has a particular interest in defending work injury damages claims and pursuing section 151Z recoveries. Additionally, Vanessa regularly advises insurer clients with respect to compensation to relatives and nervous shock claims. Her clients include government sector clients, Workcover scheme agents, self-insured parties and specialised insurers.


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