Agent News

Angle Q1 2019

Managing Claims With Excellence – Three Questions With Brad Schmitt

Third Coast Underwriters’ director of Claims discusses how strong partnerships have led to superior outcomes for customers, highlights recent claims team accomplishments and reviews the strategy for this year to keep the momentum going.

How does 3CU outperform the industry from a claims perspective?  

BS: The remarkable partnership between the 3CU service team and our agency partners and customers helps reduce loss frequency and minimize loss costs when an incident occurs. This relationship begins well before the event. We establish strong communication channels and expectations and work with our agency partners to identify pre-loss claim and loss control strategies that can positively impact customer results. The claims team works with our partners to help establish processes that drive individual and management accountability, as well as heighten the overall safety culture within the customers’ operations. In the severity business, where temporary and seasonal work is common, it is critical that a seasoned claims professional reviews every loss to identify and execute any necessary mitigation steps. This is where our dedicated 3CU claims examiner model pays dividends. In general, a bottom-up approach where claims are elevated to a higher tenured examiner as they escalate works well.  However, that method can lead to missed opportunities and much higher costs for our more complex customers.

What are some recent claims team achievements?

BS: 3CU continues to have stable and profitable growth. In the last year, the department has added staff, which further expands our jurisdictional capabilities while adding extra depth in existing core states. Bilingual team members have also been added to enhance our servicing platform. In 2018, we expanded our core claims handling capabilities to include Kentucky, and we are adding Colorado and Arizona this year.

What is the claims strategy for 2019?

BS: Our agency partner claims advocates are key partners in our success. Many of our agency partners have similarly grown, and we need to reconnect or, in some cases, make new introductions. We are working through our regional underwriters and service teams to identify opportunities to refresh existing relationships and forge new ones. Our agency partners put their names on the line when they recommend our services, so it only makes sense that we work in lock step to ensure a unified approach to service delivery. I extend an invitation to any of our agency partners to coordinate a service team meeting if they would like to.

To learn more about 3CU’s claims process, contact your 3CU business development consultant or Brad Schmitt at

AF Group Employees Raise Nearly $267,000 for Charities

Employees from AF Group and its subsidiaries, including 3CU, pledged $266,750 in support of numerous charitable organizations around the country as part of the company’s recent Caring and Sharing Community Campaign. Together with a dollar-for-dollar corporate match, AF Group and its subsidiaries will contribute $533,500 to 34 organizations nationwide throughout 2019. Learn more.

AF Group Investing in Innovation with Focus on Customer Experience

AF Group is investing in new technology, data and analytics, and capabilities to improve the ease of doing business for agents and customers. The enterprise kicked-off 2019 innovation efforts with an Employee Innovation Week, highlighted by a variety of initiatives designed to enhance the customer experience. Check out our 2018 innovation accomplishments and see what’s coming in 2019 – like wearables, hackathons and data-driven underwriting. Learn more.

AccuPremium eLearning Resource – Talk to Your Customers About Pay-as-You-Go

AccuPremium is Third Coast Underwriters’ pay-as-you-go solution. It’s a simple way to pay premiums with the goal of saving time and improving cash flow. Learn more about its advantages in a new self-guided course. View Course.

What We Write

At Third Coast Underwriters (3CU), our customers are our top priority. Because we specialize in addressing complex operations and challenging exposures, we know the importance of developing unique workers’ compensation solutions. The list below illustrates the varied mix of accounts we have written recently within our core segments. Let us help you deliver successful outcomes for your customers today. For more information, visit, email or call 866-641-2328.



Grain Manufacturing – All Operations $336,016
Artificial Insemination of Cattle – All Other Employ $691,994
Contractors Machinery Dealer & Drivers $699,493
Farm: Cattle or Livestock Raising Noc & Drivers $750,169 – $878, 712
Farm:  Dairy & Drivers $277,784
Farm: Poultry or Egg Producer & Drivers $448,845
Farm Machinery Operation – By Contractor & Drivers $288,021
Farm: Orchard or Grove & Drivers $289,322
Gasoline or Oil Dealer & Drivers $242,313
Hay, Grain, Feed, Or Fertilizer Dealer & Local Man $157,833
Sawmill $2,235,685
Store Meat, Fish or Poultry Dealer $975,214
Tree Pruning, Spraying, Repairing & Drivers $234,754
Trucking Noc – All Employees and Drivers $249,778



Airport Construction Paving & Drivers $232,370
Buildings – Operation by Contractors $319,884
Carpentry Installation of Cabinet Work or Interior $227,293
Clearing of Right – of – Way Electric, Power $202,270
Concrete Construction in Connection with Bridges O $1,049,827
Concrete Construction – Bridges and Drivers $193,740
Concrete or Cement Work – Pouring or Finishing Of $186,782
Concrete or Cement Work – Floors, Driveways, Yards O $204,459 – $472,863
Concrete Ready-Mix Dealers – Yard $151,874
Conduit Construction – For Cables or Wires & Drivers $227,002
Construction Elevator or Hood Hoist Installation, R $276,802
Contractor – Executive Supervisor or Construction $261,096
Electrical Wiring – Within Buildings & Drivers $178,853 – $242,266
Excavation & Drivers $205,773
Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration $158,199
Iron or Steel Erection: Frame Structures, Not Over $1,844,753
Lawn Maintenance – Commercial or Domestic & Drivers $621,446
Machinery or Equipment Erection or Repair Noc & Dr $192,626 – $261,940
Masonry $180,250 – $300,974
Millwright Work Noc – Outside & Drivers $401,082
Mobile Crane and Hoisting Service Contractors – NOC $337,850
Painting Noc & Shop Operations, Drivers $188,743
Park NOC – All Employees & Drivers $413,788 – $549,413
Plumbing Noc & Drivers $153,121 – $278,145
Roofing All Kinds & Drivers $580,477 – $490,388
Sheet Metal Work Installation & Drivers $165,285 – $228,400
Sign Installation, Maintenance, Repair or Removal & Drivers $158,247
Sprinkler Installation & Drivers $178,490 – $195,159
Street or Road Construction Paving or Repaving & D $196,730 – $290,113
Street or Road Construction Subsurface Work & Drivers $787,233
Wallboard Installation – Within Buildings & Drivers $596,395
Water Main or Connection Construction & Drivers $165,986
Welding or Cutting NOC & Drivers $226,226


Carpentry Installation of Cabinet Work or Interior $167,043
Scrap Dealer & Drivers $166,823 – $579,854
Locomotive Works $314,331




Nitrogen Injection into Oil Wells & Drivers $224,597
Oil or Gas Well: Equipment Rental: Without Operator $377,013
Painting or Paperhanging NOC & Shop Operations, DR $235,127
Stevedoring by Hand Trucks Exclusively $440,276


Store Wholesale – NOC $2,773,826
Tank Building – Metal – Shop $326,704



Automobile Haulaway or Driveway – Long Distance $261,309
Automobile Haulaway or Driveway – All Employees $1,041,554
Building Material Dealer – New Materials Only $684,368
Bus Co – All Other Employees & Drivers $565,278
Freight Handler NOC: Coverage Under State Act Only $261,098
Furniture Moving & Storage, Drivers $198,522
Gas Dealer – Liquefied Petroleum Gas & Drivers $387,196
Mail Hauling Under Contract with U.S. Post Office $1,250,433
Store – Wholesale Noc $998,990
Trucking – Hauling Explosives or Ammunition – All $717,142
Trucking – Long Distance Hauling $170,979 – $361,020
Trucking NOC $413,708
Trucking NOC – All Employees & Drivers $246,454 – $1,617,592
Trucking NOC & Drivers $246,163 – $1,331,766


Legislative Update


The insurance industry has started initial lobbying efforts in Washington to extend the terrorism risk insurance program, which expires at the end of 2020. The program was created after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when carriers suffered excessive losses and eventually highly populated commercial areas across the Nation were unable to secure coverage. In an effort to maintain market stability, AF Group will work with Congressional leaders over the next 18 months in support of a timely renewal.


The Florida Legislature is considering two bills, SB 1636 and HB 1399, that address workers’ compensation. SB 1636, proposes reasonable fixes for the Florida Supreme Court’s adverse decisions a few years ago that invalidated both the statutory contingent attorney fee provision (Castellanos) and the 104-week limitation on temporary total disability (Westphal).  The Senate proposal seems the preferable approach as an overall reform vehicle, although H.B. 1399 does have one favorable provision that is lacking in S.B. 1636, as it would tie outpatient hospital reimbursement to Medicare, in lieu of the current charge-based approach. We anticipate some form of merged compromise to occur between the Senate and House proposals.


SB 854 would require carriers to provide injured workers with medical cannabis, which would be characterized as “medicine”; and require compensability even where an accident is solely caused by medical cannabis, if it was administered or taken in accordance with a physician’s written certification and instructions.  In general, the industry opposes mandatory marijuana reimbursement under workers’ compensation system, based on both the federal illegality of cannabis and the lack of sufficient objective medical evidence of its efficacy in treating workplace injuries.  We are aware that some insurers want the discretion to recommend or treat with marijuana when it appears in a case to be a suitable alternative to opioids. The bill now awaits consideration by the House Economic Matters Committee.


The industry is closely monitoring Senate Bill 567, which establishes various presumptions for hospital employees.  According to the proposal infectious diseases, cancer, musculoskeletal injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and respiratory diseases; would be presumed work related injuries for hospital employees. The future of this initiative is unclear at this time.


As previously communicated, enacted Senate Bill 1737, requires carriers to send employer and agency premium increase notifications on all Illinois policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2019 that have premium in excess of 5% of the rate recommendation filed with the Department. The industry had previously been misadvised this provision applied to all Jan. 1, 2020 new business. AF Group has invested in system changes and created new processes/procedures in an effort to ensure compliance and timely communication with all stakeholders when notification are required.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission approved the 2019 Medical Services Provider Manual (MSPM) with changes taking effect April 1, 2019.  The summary of the changes can be found at the following link: