Fish: Licensing Requirements for Workers' Compensation Lost-Time Claims Handlers
Monday, May 10, 2021 | 0
The Alabama Department of Labor requires all people handling lost-time workers’ compensation claims to complete eight hours of continuing education per calendar year. Medical-only adjusters are exempt from this requirement.
Typically, the eight CE hours must be completed in person. As the result of the pandemic and associated travel restrictions, arrangements have been and will continue to be made for virtual attendance.
Per ADOL Workers’ Compensation Division Director Steve Garrett, the division will make a mid- to late-year decision on whether to, again, offer a webinar option. He further stated that no one will lose their Alabama WC Division claims-handling privileges if their employer restricts their travel throughout 2021.
Lost-time claims handlers must be in full compliance with the CE requirements in order to submit first reports of injury electronically.
In addition to the CE requirements imposed by the ADOL, depending on whether the claims handler is handling claims for a private insurer, a self-insured entity or handling claims as an independent adjuster, he or she may also have to satisfy the licensing requirements of the Alabama Department of Insurance (ADOI).
A salaried employee of an insurer who adjusts only claims for that insurer (“company adjuster”) does not have to be licensed by the ADOI. Company adjusters are not required to have a license to adjust claims of any sort for their employing insurers. An adjuster who handles workers’ compensation claims for self-insured plans is also exempt from the ADOI’s licensing requirements. However, an independent adjuster who handles only workers’ compensation claims must be licensed through the ADOI.
Satisfaction of an adjuster’s home licensing state’s requirement will relieve an adjuster from his or her duty to complete the ADOI’s CE requirement (if the home state reciprocates and gives credit to Alabama residents on the same basis).
Individuals licensed in the state of Alabama who are not exempt must satisfactorily complete courses as may be approved in accordance with regulations in the minimum number of 24 hours (three of which should be ethics) per biennial reporting period.
Excess credit hours earned in the previous biennial renewal period cannot be carried over to the next reporting period.
The eight hours of CE required by the ADOL cannot be applied toward the adjuster’s 24 hours of required CE unless they are earned as the result of attending the three-day Alabama Self-Insurers Association conference in Sandestin, Florida, or the three-day conference put on 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 firm's Alabama Workers' Comp Blawg.