Changes May be Coming for Workers’ Compensation Adjusters in Tennessee

Written by: Byron K. Lindberg, Esq.

Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that does not recognize certification of workers’ compensation adjusters; but that may be about to change. On August 29, 2017, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation held a Rulemaking Hearing discussing, among other things, a proposed Adjuster and Adjuster Entity Certification Program. The stated purpose of the proposed new rule and new program is to assure employees are treated fairly and that claims are handled appropriately and uniformly.

The proposed new program garnered healthy participation and comments at the August 29, 2017 hearing. Proposed curriculum/training requirements for certification included: overview of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act; general insurance principles; compensability issues; fraud; medical billing codes; medical terminology and abbreviations; cost control; available benefits; ethics.

In addition, the proposal would allow adjusting entities (i.e., third party administrators, insurance companies) to become designated as certified adjusting entities through a process of training implementation, compliance with requirements of Claims Handling Standards, and having a certain percentage of their adjusters and supervisors that process Tennessee workers’ compensation claims recognized as certified by the Tennessee Bureau.

A follow up meeting is scheduled to take place, on October 24, 2017, to discuss the proposed Adjuster Certification Program, comments submitted and concerns expressed at the August 29, 2017 hearing. Although we’re still a few months off from implementation, it is something adjusters, insurance companies and third party administrators should keep on their radars.