This week Katie Stromstad and I are in Las Vegas, NV, at the 14th Annual NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) Conference. Five hundred eleven of our law firm members do insurance subrogation work. Many of our debt collection law firms have expanded into the insurance subrogation industry to diversify their business. For those of you who are not familiar with subrogation matters, I encourage you to check out this video that NASP created to define subrogation, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5UMTpEIphE.
The NASP Conference is the best venue for law firms to learn about subrogation recoveries, to network and to market themselves. There are 950 attendees, 89 exhibitors, 135 speakers and 54 education sessions this year.
How to reach your full potential
I really enjoyed the keynote speaker, Mike Rayburn. He is an incredibly talented musician and comedian. He was introduced as an authority on personal development and human potential. He presented three simple tools to reach our full potential. You, too, can learn the secrets to reaching your full potential by checking out his “What if…?” presentation on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c_bd4guK38&feature=related. It’s entertaining and motivating! “What if….?” is a catchy phrase that I’ve heard people say throughout the Conference.
On Monday morning, 39 attendees received their Subrogation Recovery Professional Certification (CSRP). This is quite an accomplishment. I was told by some that took the test that it takes about 50 hours to study, and that the pass rate is just 70 percent. Congrats to all those who earned their certification including Tiffany Gilbert of Wilber; Adrienne Johnson of Insurance Subrogation Group; Ted Traut of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis; and Kathleen Maish of TransGuard Insurance.
One of the sessions I attended was “Buried Treasure: Recoveries from Dormant Judgments and Beyond,” presented by NL attorney member David Silverman. One post-judgment action unique to subrogation matters in uninsured motorist claims is that you can suspend the adverse party’s driver’s license after judgment. David also described his firm’s cycle approach to asset locating and other post judgment actions, such as wage garnishments, bank levies and property liens.
FTC subrogation opinion
I also attended a session entitled, “FDCPA, FCRA and Subrogation.” In it, I was given a book with multiple case laws relevant to FDCPA, FCRA and subrogation claims. I learned that there is an FTC opinion written in 1992 that states subrogation claims are tort claims and not a “debt,” as defined by the FDCPA. Therefore, subrogation claims are not subject to the FDCPA. However, some state consumer protection laws do apply many of the restrictive notice requirements and provisions of the FDCPA to subrogation claims. According to the presenter, about 20 states have their own consumer protection laws. There was a question in this session posed by a lawyer: “Can you pull a credit report post-judgment in a subrogation claim?” The answer was not clear. However, one of our attorney members, Jason Sullivan with Javitch, Block & Rathbone, wrote an article on this subject that was published in The Subrogator. If you are looking for answers to this question, I would strongly encourage you to read the article. Unfortunately, the article is not on-line. But you can contact Jason Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
What NL does to build relationships
Another great session was “Building Effective Business Relationships with Subrogation Counsel.” In this session, a question was posed, “What do you do if a lawyer misses the Statute of Limitations?” One response was that the carrier requests the firm make a claim with their malpractice carrier. Another person said in this instance they would file a claim with The National List of Attorneys’ insurance policy. I responded with an explanation that NL does have an insurance program that protects clients against theft of funds, but that it does not cover malpractice. What NL does do in the case where a lawyer misses a statute is to facilitate communication between the lawyer and the client. Often times the two parties conduct an analysis of the likelihood of recovery, and in most cases, they are able to come to a financial settlement.
If your firm does subrogation work or you think you would like to, I highly recommend attending the next NASP Conference. It will be well worth your time!
By Beverly Unrath