4/28/2016

Getting to Know: Suzy Braden

CLM's Workers' Comp Committee co-chair tells us what's in store for CLM Atlanta, May 19-20, 2016.

By Eric Gilkey

On getting involved: “I serve on the board for the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Organization, which has a big conference every year that I help out on. So when the leaders of CLM’s Workers’ Compensation Committee were looking for volunteers, I joined because I felt like I could draw on that experience and apply it to other gatherings like the annual conference and our event in Atlanta, which is being done in conjunction with CLM’s Insurance Fraud and Product Liability Committees. I really enjoy hearing the latest and greatest information out there, and at conferences, you can go from claims manager to claims manager and hear different perspectives and ways of doing things. That kind of interaction is really helpful, especially when considering outside-the-box approaches.”

On the value of networking: “Being involved also allows you to meet other people and network, which I’m all about. Networking has helped me out immensely over the years because when you build that personal relationship with a vendor, they are more apt to help you get something done when you really need it. The same is true with claims professionals; being able to call on other colleagues who have been there and done that is a great resource to have, and those connections are built through networking and sharing personal and professional experiences.”

On what to expect at CLM Atlanta: “There are eight sessions focused on workers’ compensation, and we’re also working with the Insurance Fraud Committee on a session that discusses surveillance and workers’ compensation. Fraud is an issue in workers’ compensation, and these cases stand out. It should be very interesting.”

On the power of social media: “Social media is a big topic for CLM Atlanta and is an area that is still evolving in terms of understanding what can be done with the information and how it can be used to help a case. A lot of times, a claims investigator is trying to square the doctor’s work restrictions with the activities that a claimant is posting about or showing on social media accounts. Many people don’t realize that, if their own profiles are private but their friends’ profiles are not, they can be ‘tagged’ by their friends and the information will be public. If it’s public, it’s fair game.”

On the workers’ compensation sessions she is most excited about: “I’m interested in the session, ‘Aging Gracefully? The Senior Workforce and Impacts on Workers’ Compensation,’ because my company currently has an aging workforce, so it will apply to me directly. I’m also intrigued by ‘Developing a Robust Return-to-Work Program,’ because I always like to hear other people’s perspectives on return to work and what incentives they are offering in order to get buy-in from employees. I also want to listen in to ‘Playing Against a Stacked Deck: Using Poker Theory to Better Manage Workers’ Compensation,’ because that title really captures my attention. Lastly, I’m part of the panel presenting on the session, ‘Opioids in the MSA - How to Mitigate MSA Exposure and Maybe Even Save Lives,’ which will discuss medical cost containment and ways to prevent a claim from derailing so an MSA isn’t so high. In addition to myself, the panel features MSA expert Amy Bilton from Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry P.C. and Dr. Randy Rizor from the Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia P.C. ”

On emerging trends in workers’ compensation: “As a whole, the movement to ‘opt out’ of workers’ compensation in many states isn’t going away. It’s in the legislature in Tennessee, and it’s been proposed in South Carolina. Versions exist in Texas and Oklahoma, too. It’s something a lot of people want to know about because it’s evolving.”



Eric Gilkey is executive editor of CLM Magazine, a publication of the Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance. He may be reached at 513-273-8025, eric.gilkey@TheCLM.org.

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