Episode 12: Building the Best TPA Litigation Management Program Transcript

Note: The Litigation Management Podcast is designed to be heard, not read. Unlike the transcripts, our audio includes tone, emotion, and emphasis that’s not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Listen to the full podcast here.

Wesley Todd [00:07]: This is the Litigation Management podcast. And I’m your host, the CEO of CaseGlide, Wesley Todd. The Litigation Management pod is where we talk to some of the most influential and successful people in the claims and litigation management space. It’s a Friday afternoon here today in St. Pete. It’s a beautiful sunny day. So we’re just going to get right into it. Today on the Litigation Management pod, I have Mike Becker, Mike is the chief client Officer of Broadspire. So Mike is a key figure on a really key litigation, or excuse me on a really key leadership team, one of the largest in the world, at one of the biggest and best TPAs in the world. And Mike may look very, but he’s been a claims guy for a couple of decades now. So Mike brings a lot to the table for us today. Mike, welcome to the Litigation Management podcast.

Michael Becker [00:55]: Thanks for having me, Wes, really proud here. A little a little background work for Broadspire, all in total for about 20 years. Started out my career in claims at the desk workers compensation adjuster, worked my way up and started, moved over to the Account Management Client Services area in 2004. And was an account executive and worked my way up and through to Chief client officer what I’m doing today, servicing Broadspire. So my main function right now, I advocate for our clients, and work with our account execs to make sure that our clients are satisfied and come up with solutions and ideas and that’s how we came into contact with CaseGlide.

Wesley Todd [01:54]: Yeah, and I really appreciate you as a partner. And as a friend you know, for those of you know, we have mostly adjusters and attorneys on this podcast, and a lot of claims executives, and a lot of risk management folks as well. And you know, so a lot of the people don’t understand all this stuff that you do, you are worried about from not just the inception of a claim, but even preventing a claim. So I am really excited to have you on you’re talking about those small percentage of claims that don’t go well, but do create the 80-20 of the expense, and you in particular and your leadership team, including Jeff sickles really zoomed in on litigation management is an opportunity to differentiate yourselves from the pack. And so it’s just it’s incredible for you to have all these different you know, tools in your toolkit. And so we’re just going to be talking about one of those today litigation management because that’s what the audience is really into. What I want to start off with Mike is, years ago, you guys and gals at prosper, decided to invest to take risks to change the way you look at litigation management, frankly, to change the way the industry looks at litigation management. What were the challenges that you saw at that time with how we were managing litigation?

Michael Becker [03:21]: Yeah, so since the days I was handling claims, litigation management is always a concern for clients. First and foremost, it’s litigation mitigation. So we want to avoid, that’s the best way to avoid litigation is you know, not have it. But in our world, we know it’s going to exist. And it’s a common question that we get, whether it’s prospects or clients, what are we doing to mitigate our litigation, and it’s their litigation, because we’re expending dollars for our clients, it’s their money, and or carriers. And so very important to them. And as you stated you know, the areas that the money is spent on you know, 20% to 10% of their claims is driving 90% of their dollars. And generally those claims and they get to that level, there is some form of litigation involved. And the question that we’re always asked by our clients, what are we doing to assist them right with those litigation costs? And you know, the adjusters obviously are involved in or working directly with the attorneys and our clients and brokers directly involved in that. But, what’s their tools? So as an adjuster, you can work with a lot of law firms and say, hey, they’re great. They’re great people. I think they’re doing a good job. They’re settling claims for, they’re moving claims forward and litigating claims it’s the last result, right versus settlement. But that’s tough from an adjuster’s perspective to say, hey, how can I control those costs? And that’s where it gets a little bit difficult for them. And in fact you know, wholeheartedly when I would review claims? I could work with an attorney, but I couldn’t tell through a budget to say, hey, an associate should be working this claim a partner should be working this claim, you know, what’s the expanse? What’s the number of hours they should put on it? Sort of table stakes, obviously, we you know, first sort of first cut is legal bill review, we do medical bill review. So let’s do legal bill review, and have an audit type. And that was great back in the day, 20 years ago, and sure that cut down some litigation, but does expense go up you know, through the law firms. Do they do get it somewhere else? And sort of like a balloon, it’s squeezed. So you know, that’s the test. That’s what we’re hearing from clients. What are you doing more than that? Yeah, we can give you that table stakes. But that’s where it was interesting when we met CaseGlide what you had to offer? We were doing this on the medical management side, analyzing data, analyzing what were the best doctors, what’s the best doctors, the cheapest doctor? Is it the doctor that keeps someone off? Is it a doctor that brings someone back to work too soon? And so through studies of that, we found that okay, hey, maybe it’s not the cheapest, but who’s the best? Who’s going to give you the best results? And is that you know, early return to work, good care. And so when we started early discussions with CaseGlide, that’s the realm that we got into sort of that next gen, of analog analyzing the data. So just because an attorney is cheap, doesn’t mean they’re good. And just because they’re expensive, doesn’t mean that they’re good. It’s what’s the end result is what we’re looking for. And this is the first company we’ve engaged with, that looks at it the same way, we were looking at doctors saying, how can, what’s the best result versus what’s the cheapest?

Wesley Todd [07:14]: So yeah, and I really appreciate that. I think that was a really key insight and you’re right. That most people implemented solutions, decade plus ago around you know, getting around cost control, but weren’t really thinking about outcome optimization. I think that was a smart analogy to draw with medical management, I think one of the other key pieces, so you kind of talked about the granular level of like, let’s just focus on total outcomes, which all your clients are going to agree with all of the industry’s gonna agree with. And then but they weren’t given tools to do that, and you guys are now giving them that tool. The other piece that I think is really interesting for your client base, and that the other or that many others in the industry have not caught on to yet is that, you can use your you know, massive resources, you have a great you know, technology arm as well, you have a great analytics arm, you can give each client the benefit of one of the world’s largest litigation departments. So not only are you able to deliver those insights based on one clients experience with one lawyer, but you’re able to deliver those insights based on Broadspire global experience with everybody. Maybe you could talk a little bit more about why that’s important?

Michael Becker [08:33]: Yeah, well, you know, we have over 600 active clients that doesn’t include what we call runoff clients. So we’re talking about 1000s that were involved in litigation. So we have that broad base, and just anything with analytics, the broader numbers that you have, the better data that you can help put right in view. So it’s definitely interesting in that fact that we work hand in hand with our consultative analytics group, as you mentioned. And we’ve done some early exploration into legal spend. But this is where we talk about getting into the next step. So of utilizing that mass amount of data to say, hey, who are the good attorneys who is good in the Chicago land area, that’s where I’m from? And they wonder why, who’s good in California? We’re able to narrow that down through the scope and mass that we have that we can aggregate that data that just provides more information for us to really be able to assist our clients and guide them. We have clients come to us today now that asked specifically was just on a stewardship meeting the other day and a client asked specifically, they wanted to know, hey, we want it we’ve been using this law firm for over 10 years. We believe they’re good, but we don’t know if they’re good. And so this is where it’s interesting to say, Hey, this is where an introduction to say, hey, we can team together, we have a product, that we’ve teamed, we have a partner that we’ve teamed with, that can provide this information. And so it’s interesting, it’s I would say, if I’m a risk manager, and they talk about risk you know, Litigation Management, I’d say you know, hey, this is the way this is the new way to look at things. We have a very small percentage right now of clients of our total base that is utilizing this. And we’re getting the message out to them that, hey, this is the new way, this is the new route, this is the new wave, and you’re asking them what we can do? Here’s the information that we can spit back to you. And we can really drill down into your individual attorneys that they feel are the best we can analyze that and provide them information.

Wesley Todd [11:01]: I was just having this conversation the other day with somebody about how rare it is for someone to see the whole picture. And so we just talked about the big picture, oh, we’re creating a movement, we are going to drag lawyers and adjusters and just in the whole industry into the next level. And through this lens of, we want the best attorneys and adjusters to be rewarded. What I thought was, and by the way that sounds grand and big and analytics, and it sounds great and savings, we’ve all heard that before. What I thought was the key success piece at Broadspire. Early on was that you and Jeff and your leadership team all have sat in the shoes of everyone that works at Broadspire in their position. And so you were not going to force this upon your adjusters or your lawyers, you were going to make sure that it aligned and fit with their day to day and that they got something out of it too. So you made sure that you know that enough to integrate to make sure that everything was automated, that could be automated. So they were freed up from all of the manual and clerical work, you made sure that we set particular configurations around automating alerts, there’s a case set for mediation in a month, it doesn’t have a report, there’s a case set for trial, how can you came at it from the atomic unit of the adjuster or attorney and you thought, sure, I’m going to do all this sexy stuff that’s going to be able to bring people in but I’m also going to make my team happy. I want you to talk a little bit about that. Because I don’t think that that gets enough credit, your real appreciation for what your team does every day makes a big difference.

Michael Becker [12:50]: Yeah, it’s definitely interesting in the fact that, so Jeff sickles, who’s our chief claim officer really looked at this as to say, okay, how can we make their lives easier? We’re constantly doing that. Whether it’s through technology, right development, what can we take off their plates, so that they can focus on the claim at hand? It’s sort of a double edged sword data and analytics, because you need to fill a lot of checkboxes to get that information back. And what can we take off their plates so that they’re not filling that out and focusing on the claim itself? And so what is to me, one of the biggest selling points of this tool is, is the communication aspect of it. The adjusters that are utilizing it on the accounts that are using it, they love it, because it’s taken away a lot of the activity, sort of what I’ll say mundane work, the account calling an adjuster and saying, Hey, what’s the next trial date? Oh, can you send me a copy of the budget, or can you send me a copy of your snapshots of the overall claim and that takes it away. It’s what I look at it is communication. As far as you know, from three ways. It’s all direct, the client has access, direct access, the adjuster has access, the attorneys have access, they can all communicate under one platform which makes it a lot easier. They could set alerts. That’s one of the biggest things, what I call client service instructions in house. So we take down all the nuances that a client wants and how they want to operate from a legal standpoint, it’s easily plugged in to CaseGlide system. So they have all the special instruction that the account was who needs to be notified? Who needs to be involved? And it’s mean, what I’ll say ease of communication, a lot easier, and it’s taken some of those steps of the adjusters have agitate in the past have taken that away, because it’s already in the system and they can see it.

Wesley Todd [15:09]: Yeah, and I just think that it takes somebody that has that whole complete view to make sure that that works. Because when we came in, we needed to rely on you for that information, and you gave it to us and put us you set us with a good vision. And, of course, it’s going to continue to evolve over time, but you made it very clear that if this doesn’t make life dramatically easier for the team, then it’s not going to succeed. And I think that was what was needed to get alignment from the group on committing to this innovation, knowing that there’s going to be ups downs challenges all the way through with any big project and any big change. So I just commend the leadership team for that. And I’m sure that the adjusters and attorneys all appreciate that. I want to shift gears, because one of the consequences of Litigation Management 1.0, which was where we had all the emails and all the manual work and all the clerical work, and then the bill review that just hounded attorneys left and right until they had no free time to actually manage a case. One of the consequences of that is the tipping of the scales to the plaintiffs’ bar, where the plaintiff’s attorneys really you know, their goal is to just make money, get clients and make money. They are not inundated with all of this minutia. And so maybe talk about it through that lens, social inflation, nuclear verdicts, the rise of the plaintiffs’ bar, maybe talk about Broadspire perspective on you know, making these litigation management advancements so that your clients do not have to just surrender to every plaintiff’s attorney that comes through demanding unreasonable amounts of money.

Michael Becker [17:04]: Yeah. Well, you know, in today’s day, as I mentioned earlier, roughly a very small percentage of claims is driving the costs. And so the focus on that, and that’s driven by litigation, the leading indicator, and that’s what drives it. And so you know, that’s why the scope is trying to avoid it as early as possible. You know, I’ll say this, there’s been a change in sort of what I’ll say philosophy from a claims perspective to really be advocates for their employees versus us versus them. And I think that was probably a little more standard back in the days when I started talking about 20 years ago, where it was employer versus client, their own employee. And it was a battle of knowledge, more advocacy, which the hopes through advocacy is to lower overall litigation, because it is so expensive, and it drives the costs. They realize that, our clients realize that, and now through it, and this is where it’s interesting is, you know, you have I always had petitioners attorneys that I would talk to that you knew, and if you saw it, you knew which ones settled, you knew which ones didn’t, you knew which ones wanted to take it to trial. And this is where it’s interesting through this and through data is you know, now if we have the ability to compile who the petitioner’s attorneys are? We’re able to then focus on hey, this one looks to settle, we know this one settles high, this one settles low, it can provide you some insight on maybe what on approach you want to take specific to that law firm that took that case. So you can say, oh gosh, you know, hey, this may be one that we want to settle early. Because in some there is, there’s true denials. What I’ll say is, worth defending this case because we don’t believe that happened. And then but that’s far and few between many of the cases are a dispute over some type of permanency, dispute of what I will call injury creep. So it went from the right arm to the neck, and now their back is bothering them and now we’re questioning. Well, hey, you had a pre-existing back injury not related to us. And so through that, this will help us decide which path do we want to go? Does it make sense to settle, what’s their record? How are they? How successful are petitioners attorneys? How successful are we, and having that information at our hands and fingertips and knowing that data is going to help the industry and our clients.

Wesley Todd [19:58]: That’s very well said, we are seeing it across the board ensures and TPAs are, like we said they’re facing the consequences now of really over engineering Litigation Management, not optimizing for success, really just optimizing for expense. And I think that you know, you guys were naturally really interested in how can I look at the behavior of these plaintiffs lawyers? How can I see what they’re doing? And know that, well, this person like you said, they may ask for $10, but they’re willing to take three, because I’ve seen this 1000 times before, and then giving each individual client that access, knowing that if we force a mediation here, we force a summary judgment, they are going to cave, they do not want to work, or these people may talk a big game, but they don’t actually try cases, just the leap of information that you decided to add to your clients. That was something that you know, you guys did a great job of initiating, and I think that’s really important. So we talked about the internal challenges of change management and having the right perspective, to make sure that you get your whole team on board, not just shove another piece of technology, we all know that doesn’t work anymore. We talked about the internal challenges with you know, the software in the past, or the services in the past driving cheapness instead of excellence in Litigation Management, especially for the attorneys. And lastly, we talked about the really existential threat of the plaintiff’s attorneys taking more money than we budget for and turning a great business that should be profitable into something that loses money for no reason at all, just to pay a plaintiff attorney tax. I think we did a really good job of covering how Broadspire has transformed Litigation Management in the risk management world. And the unusual bit of you know, just being really concise, and to the point and tone of really great story. So I really appreciate it. I would like to know, Mike, if somebody wants to reach out to you and learn more about your processes on Litigation Management, or maybe they’re just impressed with your unique way of thinking as far as other types of risk mitigation? How can they reach out to you?

Michael Becker [22:41]: Well, they can reach out to me direct, and I don’t know, if you want me to post my email address, but you could also go to our website at www.choosebroadspire.com. And there’s links in there to connect, and someone will reach out to you whether it’s one of our sales folks or where myself. But yeah, we’re willing and able to help our current client’s prospects. Any that whether it’s cases you know, Litigation Management, overall cost mitigation. You know, our main goal is to lower our client’s total cost of risk, TCORE as they say. And we do it through analytics. Broadspire is taking a unique approach in which we analyze a lot of data. We have a very large consultative analytics team that works with my account execs hand in hand, and we custom designed specific to client’s needs. Our overall goal when we look at a client is to say, where are your areas of opportunity? And the way we discover that is through analytics. And I’m happy we found a partner that thinks the same way. And is driving that from a litigation perspective, which fits right into our core thought process of let’s identify, let’s use analytics and numbers to identify areas of opportunity to improve our clients programs.

Wesley Todd [24:21]: Yeah, exactly. It’s a great way to wrap things up, Mike, you know what the scoreboard is you’re looking for to lower TCORE you know how you can hold people accountable. Hold your team accountable. Hold your clients accountable for achieving those goals and that’s through dashboards. I mean, I’ve never seen more sophisticated, but useful dashboards then from a Broadspire client. I think you call them what do you call those meetings?

Michael Becker [24:45]: Oh, we call it program. We call them program health assessments,

Wesley Todd [24:48]: Program health assessments. You know, it looks like the cockpit of an airplane with all the dashboards. It’s incredible. So you make it very clear as to how you define success. And I think that stuff concepts have been very helpful for us. But we’ve been able to apply that in litigation as well, where it’s really easy to see how you’re attacking these problems that I just think the rest of the industry is kind of digging their head in the sand about. So I am going to, we could talk forever, as we probably will when I click stop record, but I really appreciate you spending the time with the Litigation Management podcast. It’s a bunch of adjusters and attorneys a handful of claims execs too, but these folks are dying for this information and they don’t you know, get it. It’s really cool for us to be able to open up the door and let these folks see that. So you guys know how to reach Mike as well. I want to really appreciate you sharing your story and Broadspire story with the Litigation Management podcast and let’s do it again soon. Okay.

Michael Becker [25:50]: We’ll do, I appreciate you having me.

Wesley Todd [25:52]: Thank you.

Listen to the full podcast here.

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