Fish: Licensing Necessities for Staff’ Compensation Misplaced-Time Claims Handlers| Staff Compensation Information

By Mike Fish

Monday, May 10, 2021 | 0

The Alabama Department of Labor requires all individuals dealing with lost work compensation claims to complete eight hours of continuing education per calendar year. Only medical adjusters are exempt from this requirement.

Mike Fish

As a rule, the eight CE hours must be completed in person. As a result of the pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, arrangements have been and will be made for virtual participation.

According to Steve Garrett, director of the ADOL Workers’ Compensation Division, the department will decide in the middle to the end of the year whether to offer a webinar option again. He went on to explain that if their employer restricts their travel throughout 2021, no one will lose their rights to process claims for the Alabama WC Division.

Loss handlers must fully meet CE requirements in order to be able to submit initial injury reports electronically.

In addition to the CE requirements imposed by ADOL, the applicant may also need to meet the licensing requirements of the Alabama Department of Insurance (ADOI) depending on whether the claims handler is handling claims for a private insurer, self-insured company, or independent appraisal claims.

An employee of an insurer who only adjusts claims for that insurer (“company recruiter”) does not need to be licensed by the ADOI. Company adjusters do not need a license to adjust claims of any kind for their employed insurers. An expert handling employee compensation claims for self-insured plans is also exempt from the ADOI’s licensing requirements. However, an independent expert who only processes employee compensation claims must be licensed through the ADOI.

Compliance with an Adjuster’s home licensing state requirements relieves an Adjuster from its obligation to meet the ADOI’s CE requirements (if the home state reciprocates and recognizes Alabama residents on the same basis).

Individuals who are licensed in the state of Alabama and not exempt must satisfactorily complete the courses that are eligible under the regulations for a minimum of 24 hours (three of which should be ethical) per biennial reporting period.

Excess credit hours earned in the previous two-year extension period cannot be carried over to the next reporting period.

The eight hour CE required by ADOL cannot be applied to the adjuster’s 24 hour CE requirement unless it is earned by attending the Alabama Self-Insurers Association’s three-day conference in Sandestin, Florida or the three-day conference Created by the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Organization.

Mike Fish is an attorney with Fish Nelson & Holden LLC, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. This entry is republished with permission from the company’s Alabama Workers’ Comp Blawg.

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