How to Get Work from Insurance Companies
It’s easy once you know how it’s done
There are four different sectors that you can target for insurance related work. One of them – National Insurance Companies – is irrelevant. The other three are Self-Insured Companies, Third Party Administrators, and Insurance Defense Attorneys.
National Companies: (Irrelevant) When you talk about “Insurance Work” these are the companies that everyone knows about, but can’t get into their vendor’s list. We are talking about Liberty Mutual, Travelers Insurance, GEICO, The Hartford, MetLife, Etc.
The reason I say they are irrelevant, is because they have contracts with national/international vendors – G4S, VRC, ICS Merrill, Global Options, Etc. Yes, I know that they sub-contract their work to small companies at pennies on the dollar, but these insurance companies simply don’t care.
As a small agency, you simply do not have the resources or the man power needed to fulfill the needs of a national insurance agency. They have very rigid requirements that makes it close to impossible to qualify as an approved vendor.
It is not about the quality of work, so don’t be offended when they turn you down. I believe that when it comes to investigation services, small companies crush national agencies. After speaking with former adjustors, insurance companies simply do not have the time to deal with hundreds of investigators across the United States. They would much rather deal with one national company to handle and manage subcontractors and payroll.
Think about it, which would you rather pay – one bill to cover all your expenses, or multiple bills and risk missing a payment? The main benefit that national PI companies offer to Insurance Companies is the one stop shop benefit.
So let’s not worry about the national companies. Instead, let’s focus on where the money is – (in my opinion).
Self-Insured Companies: This is the top of the pyramid. These are the companies that generate so much revenue that they are able to cover their own insurance claims. They don’t need the assistance of a national insurance company to cover a claim.
Some of the notable companies would be: Microsoft, Google, AT&T, Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, Etc. Here is a huge list of companies in Washington Alone: Self Insured List.
Typically, a self-insured company will hire a retired or experienced insurance adjustor to work as a full time claims manager. Their job is to cover the insurance claims as they come in.
These people are often called Risk Managers, Works Compensation Managers, Claims Analysists, Risk Analysis, Disability Program Managers, etc.
Regardless of the title, just know that these people are the ones responsible for all the claims that come in and out of the company. They are hired to minimize worker’s compensation fraud and monetary losses.
If the company is self-insured and they handle their own claims, the people listed above (Risk Managers, Claims Analysts) are going to be your primary points of contact. If a company does not want to handle their own claims, they still assign a person as the primary contact (usually the owner or a senior person) but they hire a third party administration company to handle the claims.
If they hire a Third Party Administrator (TPA), the POC at the company has one job – to approve and decline the claims. They don’t really deal with investigators too much. But they are still the person that you must contact if you want to sell them on investigation services.
With that being said, stop trying to get a hold of the manager, or the owner, or the president. They don’t have time to deal with your sales pitch. Instead, try to find the POC at the company that handles insurance claims, and arrange meetings (more on that in the next sections).
Third Party Administrators (TPA): A third party administrator is usually an adjustor working for a small company that handles insurance claims for third parties. Usually, these companies are self-insured companies, but they can be Government Institutions, Cities, Local Governments, Groups, Associations, etc.
TPAs are often times composed of small groups of insurance adjustors, risk managers, security officers, etc. Most of them are specialized in one particular industry or another. Whether it be transportation, energy, government, health, factory, etc.
There are hundreds of TPA companies across the United States. New companies open up year after year, many get acquired and some go bankrupt. Nothing new here.
These companies fight each other for contracts from the self-insured agencies, and some of the contracts they acquire are massive. One TPA can keep an investigator busy year round.
The difference between a TPA and a national insurance company is that TPAs DO care about the quality of work and often times decide to work with small investigation agencies because they offer a better service and get that “personal touch”.
You have to remember that TPAs work for self-insured companies. If your work is sub-par, they can very easily lose their contract to a different TPA. So as long as you keep offering top level results, the TPA company will continue to use you – you are only as good as your last case. If you screw up your case, this may be your first screw up, but the TPA may be on their last straw with the self-insured agency.
Insurance Defense Attorneys (IDA): These are the people that defend self-insured companies when insurance fraud is detected. An insurance defense attorney is usually contracted by the self-insured company, but we have seen rare cases where the IDA is hired directly by the TPAs.
The purpose of the IDA is to protect the company in court, and thus, it is rare for an IDA to contact you for surveillance service. You are going to be contacted for service of process assignments, witness locates, skip tracing, recorded statements and interviews, translations, or court record pulls.
Daily Budget: The final piece of the puzzle. Most of the claims are assigned a daily budget by the self-insured. Let’s say that the daily budget for a claim is $5,000. The TPA takes that budget and hires a private investigator, nurse case manager, transportation services, pays for medical bills, and general bills for worker’s comp.
This is the reason why TPAs prefer to work with investigators that give them daily flat fees rather than hourly rates. They have to budget out the full day, if you come to them with an $80 hourly rate, they have to guesstimate how many hours they need.
I would suggest to give them a daily rate of $650 (average) to start off with. I have seen everything from $550 to $800 per day. The price is going to be up to you. Remember that a daily rate is going to cover everything: Mileage, Gas, Expenses, Report Writing Time, DVD Expenses, Shipping Costs, etc. The daily rate is an all inclusive price. TPAs HATE mileage and “additional expenses” so you have to include them into the daily rate. You’ll end up winning and come out ahead more often than not.
Those are pretty much all the primary definitions you need to know. Anything else is just going to come from experience and working the field. Hopefully by now you are starting to see the puzzle come together.
Since we’re located in the State of Texas, we are going to use our state as an example. This technique of tracking self-insured companies down can be used in any state of the union.
Keep in mind that every state will have different rules, laws, and statues regarding self-insured companies. Most of the states have some sort of department that is in charged of the approved self-insured companies, our goal is to figure out what department handles this.
We are going to start by visiting our trusted Investigative Database (Google.com) and we are going to search for “[State] Self Insured Companies”
Once the results pop out, we are going to have to dig through them to find the the government agency that handles Self-Insured Companies. Here is the link for the State of Texas: Approved Self Insured Companies. I added three different states in the section below to show you how they look: