Strategic Law Partners
FHM Insurance Company started a unique program with its defense counsel 10 years ago which has resulted in considerable benefit to the company and its insureds.
It has often been said that the billable hour concept rewards inefficiency on the part of lawyers rather than being “results oriented.” Moreover, it was observed that the billable hourly rates among the firms FHM was using varied widely in amounts, as did their results. The company selected one law firm in each area of Florida from among the 30 firms which had previously been engaged and determined a fair quarterly retainer for each firm’s defense of all the company’s worker’s compensation claims in that part of the state. By paying this retainer, FHM has created a system that rewards efficient case handling. This arrangement relies, of course, upon the professionalism of the lawyers involved, but over the past decade the system has worked extremely well in Florida. As FHM grows in the other states it now serves, the company expects to extend the Strategic Law Partner system to those states.
In addition to more efficient and professional case handling, the company and its insureds have also benefited by having the Strategic Partners become part of the claims-handling team. The law firms gather periodically with the claims manager and supervisors at USIS to discuss new developments in the law and procedures and to share successful strategies. They help the company communicate with FHM’s insureds about their claims, work closely with adjusters in case handling, settle cases with as much salvage as possible (i.e., less than the reserve set by the adjuster), and identify and prosecute fraud where it exists. Instead of competing as firms usually do, the Strategic Partners cooperate with one another and share each other’s excitement when one of the firms has a victory.
FHM is proud of its Strategic Law Partner program. If you have questions or would like to discuss any aspect of the program, please call George Gabel, General Counsel, at (904) 798-7360.