Alabama Department of Labor and Department of Insurance Licensing Requirements for Workers' Compensation Lost Time Claims Handlers
The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) requires all people handling lost time workers’ compensation claims to complete 8 hours of Continuing Education (CE) per calendar year. Medical only adjusters are exempt from this requirement.
Typically, the 8 CE hours must be completed in person. As the result of the pandemic and associated travel restrictions, arrangements have been and will continue to be made for virtual attendance. Per ADOL Workers’ Compensation Division Director, Steve Garrett, the Division will make a mid to late year decision on whether to, again, offer a webinar option. He further stated that no one will lose their Alabama WC Division claims handling privileges if their employer restricts their travel throughout 2021.
Lost time claims handlers must be in full compliance with the CE requirements in order to be able to submit first reports of injury electronically.
In addition to the CE requirements imposed by the ADOL, depending on whether the claims handler is handling claims for a private insurer, a self-insured entity, or handling claims as an independent adjuster, he or she may also have to satisfy the licensing requirements of the Alabama Department of Insurance (ADOI).
A salaried employee of an insurer who adjusts only claims for that insurer (“company adjuster”) does not have to be licensed by the ADOI. Company adjusters are not required to have a license to adjust claims of any sort for their employing insurers. An adjuster that handles workers’ compensation claims for self-insured plans is also exempt from the ADOI’s licensing requirements. However, an independent adjuster who handles only workers’ compensation claims must be licensed through the ADOI.
Satisfaction of an adjuster’s home licensing state’s requirement will relieve an adjuster from his or her duty to complete the ADOI’s CE requirement (if the home state reciprocates and gives credit to Alabama residents on the same basis).
Individuals licensed in the state of Alabama who are not exempt must satisfactorily complete courses as may be approved in accordance with regulation in the minimum number of 24 hours (3 of which should be ethics) per biennial reporting period.
Excess credit hours earned in the previous biennial renewal period cannot be carried over to the next reporting period.
The 8 hours of CE required by the ADOL cannot be applied toward the adjuster’s 24 hours of required CE unless they are earned as the result of attending the 3-day Alabama Self Insured Association conference in San Destin, Florida or the 3-day conference put on by the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Organization.
About the Author
This blog submission was prepared by Mike Fish, an attorney with Fish Nelson & Holden, LLC, a law firm dedicated to representing self-insured employers, insurance carriers, and third party administrators in all matters related to workers’ compensation. Fish Nelson & Holden is a member of the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. If you have any questions about this submission or Alabama workers’ compensation in general, please contact Fish by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him directly at 205-332-1448.