September 2020 Subrogation Newsletter
Following a storm or other natural disaster, canvassers hired by the “hail cartel”—lawyers or opportunistic general contractors—can be found blanketing a neighborhood and knocking on doors. They locate and fabricate damages which either did not exist or were pre-existing and ask the homeowner to sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and promise them a new roof at no cost and with no hassle on their part. Claim solicitation efforts such as these have ensnared innocent homeowners in unnecessary lawsuits in recent years by promising big payouts at no cost. The result of the widespread scheme is higher insurance premiums and less choice in insurance companies throughout many states.
Workers’ compensation subrogation has another growing adversary—one that can slip in during the cover of night, gutting subrogation, and reimbursement rights, even after an insurance company or third-party administrator has spent thousands of dollars in recovery efforts. It is known as an OCIP, CCIP, or CIP, acronyms which spell trouble for workers’ compensation carriers which zealously pursue recovery opportunities on behalf of their insureds.
The Court of Appeals has held that even requesting that plaintiff prove the employee wasn’t made whole can lead to liability for plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees. This decision lays bare the anti-subrogation atmosphere in Arkansas, which places large jury verdicts and injured workers’ rights ahead of statutory subrogation rights of Arkansas small businesses for whom subrogation success means lower experience modifiers and lower workers’ compensation premiums.