David Yates Mar. 6, 2015, 12:15pm


Attorneys and experts will soon gather and discuss the latest developments impacting the Texas workers’ compensation system.

Next month, the Insurance Council of Texas will host the 2015 Workers’ Compensation seminar, entitled “Don’t Monkey Around, Get it Right!,” in Austin and Dallas.

The seminars, slated for April 8th and 23rd, will focus on the accuracy of the payment of income and death benefits, which has been the subject of recent audits by ICT’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The DWC audits discovered underpayment of lifetime income benefits and death benefits totaling $511,000, according to a Thursday, March 5 press release.

According to the press release, ICT’s seminars provide insurance adjusters, attorneys and other claims professionals with knowledge about the accurate calculation and payment of income benefits.

Seminar speakers will cover: the accurate calculation of income and death benefits; legislation currently being considered by the Texas Legislature; and “hot button” claims-related issues.

The following individuals have been slated to speak:

-Jay Thompson, general counsel of the Insurance Council of Texas and partner at Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, will provide an overview of workers’ compensation legislation that has been filed during the current legislative session;

- Dana Gannon, a partner and attorney at Smith & Carr, P.C., will discuss administrative violations and ethics. Adjusters and attorneys will earn one ethics continuation education credit hour;

- Erika Copeland, an attorney with Stone Loughlin & Swanson, L.L.P., will provide an overview of maximum medical improvement, impairment rating and designated doctor issues as well as recent rule changes impacting designated doctor examinations;

- The morning sessions will conclude with a discussion of death benefits and full salary continuation income benefit calculation issues by Robert Stokes, a veteran workers’ compensation defense attorney and partner at Flahive Ogden & Latson, P.C.;

- Robert Graves, a partner and attorney with Burns Anderson Jury & Brenner, L.L.P., will provide an overview of the newly adopted lifetime income benefit rules and the proper calculation of those benefits;

- Stuart Colburn, a shareholder and partner at Downs Stanford, P.C., will moderate a panel discussion on infectious and occupational diseases and the compensability of those diseases;

- Brandi Prejean, a partner with the Thorton Law Firm, will discuss common income benefit calculation mistakes made by adjusters and provide an overview of how to accurately calculate income benefits;

- The seminar will conclude with a presentation by Mark Pew, senior vice president at PRIUM, on issues associated with prescribing medical marijuana for workers’ compensation related injuries.

ICT is the largest state insurance trade association in the country consisting of approximately 500 property and casualty insurers writing business in Texas.

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