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Dec
2

Sham bids and contingent commissions aren’t the only questionable practices

The ongoing investigations into broker and insurer malfeasance continue to send shockwaves throughout the insurance industry. And, these investigations are causing those doing business outside the “broker-insurer-underwriter” world to revisit what have been long-established “ways of doing business.”
While Mr. Spitzer and colleagues have started their investigations at the sales end of things, they may well find themselves uncovering many other instances of inappropriate or unethical payments.
For example, managed care vendors often pay TPAs an “administrative fee” that is a percentage of the revenues they receive from the TPA’s clients. Typically these fees amount to 10-15% of total revenues, but fees in the 25% range are not unheard of. There is speculation in the WC industry that one large managed care firm pays one large TPA upwards of $10 million in “fees” annually.
These fees are rarely fully disclosed to the TPA’s clients, and when there is disclosure, it is obscured by legalese, buried in the depths of a lengthy contract, and often mistaken for innocuous boilerplate.
One very large WC TPA claims it has provided full disclosure by including language similar to the following.
“The TPA does not receive any payment from the managed care vendor, except it reserves the right to charge the vendor for administrative expenses related to implementing managed care programs.”
Clearly it is incumbent upon risk managers, TPAs, underwriters, and brokers to fully and completely disclose these arrangements. It is just as clear that until and unless the light of day is shone on a few of these deals, they will continue unabated.


One thought on “Sham bids and contingent commissions aren’t the only questionable practices”

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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