Recently, we had the pleasure of talking to one of our members ─ Paul Kearney, chief claims officer for AF Group ─ about how he came to know WCRI. As the leader of AF Group’s corporate claim organization, Paul brings more than 30 years of experience in insurance to his role.
Paul reports directly to AF Group’s CEO and president, and as a member of the AF Group’s Executive Leadership Team, shares in the responsibility of establishing enterprise-wide strategies and maintaining appropriate oversight and control of the brand claim organizations while ensuring compliance to industry best practices and the development and success of their professionals.
Headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, AF Group is a leading provider of innovative insurance solutions with eight brands licensed in all 50 states and over 1,500 teammates.
1) How did you first learn about WCRI?
About 18 years ago, I served as chief operating officer for an Atlanta-based third-party administrator whose reach canvased half of the United States. As we were looking to assess the value add of our worker’s comp book of business, we went in search of independent and objective industry data to compare to our own. Our research led us to WCRI and a personal partnership that has lasted nearly two decades due to the various leadership roles that I have had during this period of time.
2) What value do you derive from being a member of WCRI?
We all know the value that workers' compensation coverage can provide for injured workers and their families and their employers as well. Being engaged and timely and accurate with the offerings and execution of workers' compensation services matters to these individuals. As a member of WCRI, I have been able to use its data to monitor and assess industry trends related to matters such as frequency, severity, and timeliness from across its member states. These points of data have served to validate the efficacy of our efforts in serving our injured workers.
3) What is your favorite WCRI study/research area?
The CompScope™ Benchmarks and Medical Benchmarks studies are a must read and oftentimes provide great insight on the “why” behind both favorable and unfavorable trends in our workers’ compensation industry. Additionally, I welcome the learnings that emanate from the WCRI research articles that touch on matters of importance to our workers’ compensation industry. In this regard, there have been a number of articles that have touched on such important matters, like the opioid crises, topical analgesic usage, physician dispensing, fee scheduling nuances, the impact of COVID-19 on medical treatment for injured workers, and even topics regarding legislative matters that are affecting workers’ compensation.
4) Can you describe a moment when WCRI’s research was really helpful?
I cannot think of a time when I did not find WCRI’s research material insightful and helpful. To this point, there was the occasion a few years ago when I had the honor of serving as a member of the Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation’s Medical Advisory Committee. As we began the process of analyzing our Georgia fee scheduling outcomes, we relied heavily on the comparative analyses of WCRI. In doing so, we came to better understand how our outcomes relatively compared with other member states of WCRI, and we came to see the value adds of our Georgia fee scheduling process and outcomes.
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