Carving out a niche requires adaptation, forward thinking and finding solutions
By Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse, LLC
Timing was not right for me when I launched Company Nurse in 1997. Company Nurse provided a new service, beyond the traditional provision of insurance and loss control services that employers and insurance agents were used to – Company Nurse was a little ahead of its time.
In the early years, I learned that rather than distributing our triage services through independent insurance agents, we would be more successful approaching employers directly. Why? Because employers saw they could improve service to injured employees, and save costs.
My first account was in food service, specifically an IHOP franchisee, for which we continue to work with today. My inclination at the time was that the demand would be with private sector employers that had an increased risk of injured workers, like the food service or construction sectors. What I discovered was that there was an uptick in public entity demand because it resonated with their core values. In the 70’s and 80’s, public entities found themselves on their own when the private insurance markets were unable to insure them. With nowhere to turn, public entities formed self-insurance pools as a result. They were very receptive to any type of service that takes better care of employees and, again, saves money.
Our first clients in the public entity sector were cities and counties, with the City of Little Rock being our first public sector account. Additional cities, counties, school districts and state agencies soon followed. Word spread and Company Nurse rapidly grew its public entity clients around the country in the early to mid 2000s.
Fast-forward a decade and insurance agents caught on, and started becoming channels to the marketplace in the early 2010s.
Today, public entities continue to be innovative, and generally open to adding new services like our telehealth integration. This addresses a growing need given clinics in rural areas have been closing. We are currently running a pilot with several self-insured public entity pools, and they selected to use Concentra, to further develop our telehealth service.
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I’ve reflected on what we might have done right to position Company Nurse for success today – and 20 years from now. I maintain that it was our ability to be nimble and forward thinking; embracing one of my company pillars, “driven to find solutions.”
For example, when I started Company Nurse, I used a third-party software solution. At a certain point, I was faced with a choice to continue down that same path and license a new platform as our original one became outdated, or develop our own system. We decided to enter the software business and developed our own solution; that all started happening in 2008 during the recession. By 2010, we developed the first iteration of software with the reporting element answering a big need for clients. Then, we developed a whole new front-end interface to enable more customization of the caller experience.
I really enjoy innovating with clients. So, our platform is tailor made to meet their needs.
To build a business, work with great people, and contribute to an evolving industry is gratifying. I enjoy innovation and the creative side of the business, particularly how Company Nurse can continue to improve the level of service to insurance agents, claims adjusters, employers and employees at all stakeholder levels.
While carving a niche was an uphill battle back in 1997, twenty years of evolution in the industry has proven to be filled with great achievements and personal satisfaction.
Paul Binsfeld is the founder and president of Company Nurse, LLC, a firm that specializes in medical triage and injury management for workers’ compensation. In Q4 2016, Binsfeld formally launched the first-to-market SaaS solution for worker’s compensation nurse triage management.
Binsfeld’s career began as a workers’ compensation consultant with mid-size employers helping to streamline claims processes and improve outcomes for injured workers. By working with many different types of employers, he identified a common need for early intervention in the workers’ compensation claims and injury management process, and thus, Company Nurse was born in 1997. Binsfeld – one of the pioneers of the pre-claim nurse triage industry – was recently appointed to the Entrepreneurial Insurance Alliance Advisory Board of Directors. He has over 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation and is one of the most influential leaders in the market.