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An exceptional third-party administrator (TPA) provides optimal system support for its claims representatives, communicates clearly to you and your organization and is flexible to your needs.

But what else do risk managers look for in a TPA? Karl Zimmel, manager for Risk Management Services at UNS Energy Corp. in Tucson, Ariz., expands.

The TPA industry is a very challenging business primarily because it is largely driven by a large labor force that can vary significantly from one office to the next. Given the human element of the service, there will always be some level of issues to resolve if the program has much size covering more than one state with more than a thousand claims per year. 

My current program is strictly in one state with less than 100 claims, so it was fairly easy to pick what we believed to be the best claims office in our state and it runs smoothly.  Larger programs are more challenging partly because there is more staff involved on the employer side. If there is a significant amount of employer staff involved who don’t have the full knowledge of how a TPA program should be run, then it is imperative to educate them and set the expectations. Program issues can be exacerbated by divisions or subsidiaries directing their frustration from the allocation of claims expense at the claims adjuster. 

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