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Longshore Insider
DOL Introduces Efficiencies for Claims Processing
Jun 3, 2020 - David Widener, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc.

Recent Industry Notices from the DOL

The DOL’s Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) recently issued two industry notices which will potentially benefit both employers/carriers and the DOL with more efficient claims processing.

Industry Notice No. 179 details the Director’s new policy to accept electronic signatures on documents submitted to DLHWC. The notice explains the types of acceptable electronic signatures and the recordkeeping required.

As most companies are paperless, and with an increasing number of communications generated through email, this is a welcomed change. This new policy has the potential to speed up the resolution of claims by eliminating delays caused by requiring multiple parties to sign documents with physical signatures.

Industry Notice No. 180 introduces new procedures and forms for stakeholders to use to request an action of the DLHWC. These forms include:

  • Form LS-4 (Attorney Fee Approval Request)
  • Form LS-5 (Application for Special Fund Relief)
  • Form LS-6 (Commutation Application)
  • Form LS-7 (Request for Intervention)
  • Form LS-8 (Settlement Approval Request Section 8(i))
  • Form LS-9 (Stipulation Approval Request)

These procedures and forms became effective May 4, 2020, when the DLHWC implemented a new claims operating system (and, coincidentally, the same day AEU implemented our new claims system, Origami).

The new forms will function like a cover sheet and upon receipt, the DLHWC will be alerted to the filing and be able to more efficiently take the appropriate action. For example, when a Form LS-8, which is a settlement approval request, is uploaded by a party via the DLHWC’s online upload portal (SEAPortal), the responsible claims examiner will be notified of the request and an internal timetable will be initialized, ensuring that the application will be acted upon within the time required by the Longshore Act and code of federal regulations.



David Widener joined AEU in 2019 as Director of Claims Advisory Services. David began his longshore career in 2003 with F.A. Richard/American Equity Risk Services, where he was a claims supervisor for eight years. He joined the U.S. Department of Labor as a claims examiner in 2011, and was promoted to District Director six months later, overseeing operations for the Houston District Office. He is a frequent speaker at Loyola Law School’s Annual Longshore Conference, Longshore Claims Association meetings, and Defense Base Act seminars. He has developed and conducted continuing legal education seminars in conjunction with Loyola Law School and the U.S. Department of Labor. David has a B.S. in finance from Louisiana State University and is a credentialed mediator for the state of Texas.

The opinions and comments expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of ALMA, AEU or Amwins. None of ALMA, AEU, Amwins or the authors are responsible for any inaccuracy of content or for any loss or damages incurred by any party as a result of reliance on information contained in this article. Content may not be published or reproduced without the written consent of the authors. Prior articles may not be updated for accuracy as pertinent information changes over time. The Longshore Insider is intended to provide general information about the industry and should not be construed as legal advice under any circumstances. For legal advice, please consult a licensed attorney.
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