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Apr
3

Brian Downs – one of work comp’s best

Brian Downs runs claims and medical management for the Work Comp Trust of Connecticut. He’s the best claims exec you’ve never heard of.

The Trust serves the healthcare industry in Connecticut with both insurance and administrative services. It may be the best-run payer in the nation; with very strong financial results, results which would be the envy of any payer, big or small, a complete and total focus on claims handling excellence, and provider relationships that are core to the Trust’s success.

Those financial results are driven by management’s single-minded focus on it’s customers and patients. Everything revolves around what’s best for policyholders and patients; preventing injuries and illnesses, and delivering the best possible medical care to patients drives the company.

I’ve never heard Brian or CEO Diane Ritucci talk about discounts or savings; those metrics just doesn’t exist. This in a state with among the highest provider fee schedules in the nation.

I met Brian over a decade ago when I was asked to audit the Trust’s medical management program. The more I learned, the more impressed I was. For a small insurer with few resources working in one small state, the Trust was remarkably effective.

The audit found a claims culture focused entirely on outcomes. A medical management approach rooted in partnering with the right providers, with a proprietary network of constantly-evaluated physicians. Results that would be the envy of any payer, large or small.

  • Combined ratio hovering around 90% for years
  • A large and growing fund balance
  • Consistent record of premium returns amounting to about 10% of premiums this year

Before anyone starts saying how easy it is for a small payer working in one state, let’s talk resources.

This payer’s IT budget is a tiny fraction of the big boys’. The staff is equally small, with many folks wearing multiple hats. It competes in a market that’s home to many other payers, ranging from the Hartford and the Travelers to Sedgwick and other trusts. It serves a market – healthcare – with high frequency and occasionally high severity.

Yet despite these challenges, the Trust is nimble, focused, and innovative. Brian meets regularly with individual physicians, groups of docs, employers and other stakeholders. He’s out and about listening and learning, while letting those providers know what the Trust expects of them. The Trust invests heavily in customer outreach, product innovation, network refinement, and staff education.

Brian is the epitome of an effective leader and manager. He has no ego, is constantly looking for ways to get better, to deliver more, to innovate. I’ve never heard Brian sound satisfied or content, he’s always asking, questioning, pushing to improve. Quiet and unassuming, engaged and calm, you’d be hard-pressed to pick him out of a crowd.

I’m lucky indeed to count him as a friend and colleague, and the Trust’s customers have benefited greatly from his competence and professionalism.

Brian Downs is one of work comp’s best.

 

 


2 thoughts on “Brian Downs – one of work comp’s best”

  1. Well said!! Brian is a consummate professional. He is focused and always positive and committed to excellence and getting the job done. He is an open-minded individual who is able to accept differing viewpoints with the ultimate goal of finding the best solutions for the Trust and its members. He is always striving for improvement. A true credit to his profession and a tremendous asset to the Workers’ Compensation Trust.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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