Moderators, Speakers and Panelists
Albert Betts, Jr.
Executive Director, Insurance Council of Texas
Albert Betts, Jr. is the executive director of the Insurance Council of Texas, a non-profit trade association representing the interests of nearly 500 property and casualty insurers doing business in Texas.
Previously, Albert was a partner at the law firm of Thompson Coe Cousins and Irons, LLP, practicing in the firm’s Insurance law and Governmental and Legislative Advocacy Group. His practice focused on representing clients before the Texas Department of Insurance and other regulatory agencies, including representing and advising insurance trade associations, insurance companies, and other clients on insurance business transactions and regulations, as well as advocating for clients’ interests before the Texas legislature and other government officials.
In 2005, he was appointed, by Texas Governor Rick Perry, as the first Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation for the State of Texas. Albert was reappointed in 2007 and served as Commissioner from 2005 through 2008. Prior to being appointed Commissioner, Mr. Betts served as Chief of Staff for the Texas Department of Insurance.
Overall, Mr. Betts has nearly 25 years experience as a lawyer and public policy administrator including prior experience at the Department of Insurance, the State Office of Risk Management, Texas Attorney General, and the former Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission. He is also co-editor of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Handbook and is a frequent speaker to insurance, risk management, and employer groups on property and casualty insurance and workers’ compensation issues.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and has been a licensed attorney since 1991.
Public Counsel, Office of Injured Employee Counsel
Jessica Barta was appointed Public Counsel on October 31, 2014 and was most recently reappointed on March 1, 2019 by Governor Abbott. Under her leadership, OIEC has met or exceeded 100% of its key performance measures. During her time at OIEC, the percent of OIEC assistance in the dispute resolution proceedings has increased to more than 50%.
Before her appointment with OIEC, Barta spent four years at the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) as the Workers’ Compensation Legislative Liaison and then Assistant Director of Government Relations. Prior to her service in state government, Barta was General Counsel for Great American Financial Resources, Inc. She holds bachelor’s and law degrees from Indiana University. She serves on the board for the Texas Self-Insurance Guaranty Fund and Kids’ Chance of Texas, is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Austin Bar Association and the Austin Young Lawyers Association, and former member of the Junior League of Austin. Additionally, she volunteers for Magellan International School, Doss Elementary School, and Lonestar Soccer Club. She and her husband, Dr. Adam Barta, have four daughters and two “doodles.”
Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation
Cassie Brown was appointed to serve as the Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation by Governor Greg Abbott in 2018. She oversees the Division of Workers’ Compensation, which regulates the workers’ compensation system in Texas, ensuring injured employees receive the necessary benefits to quickly return to work, and that workers’ compensation costs are kept at a reasonable level for Texas employers. As commissioner, she enforces the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act and rules and administers the certified self-insurance program for individual employers. DWC’s responsibilities also include resolving claim level disputes about medical and income benefits, as well as medical fee disputes.
She also serves as a member on the Executive Committee for the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators and on the Executive Women in Texas Government President’s Advisory Committee.
Brown has more than 20 years of public service experience. She previously served as deputy commissioner for Regulatory Policy at the Texas Department of Insurance. In this role she oversaw the regulation of the forms, rates, and products that are sold in the Texas insurance market; oversaw the residual markets; assured the adequacy of insurers’ loss control programs; and provided education, inspections, and compliance activities related to the state’s windstorm market. Earlier in her career, Ms. Brown served as a key advisor to Governor Rick Perry on policy and budget issues including insurance, health regulatory, and workers’ compensation. In addition, Ms. Brown served in the administration of Governor George W. Bush.
Brown received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from St. Edward’s University and attended the Governor’s Executive Development Program at The University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Vice President & GBCARE Advisor Team Lead, Gallagher Bassett
Jennifer Cogbill leads the GBCARE Advisor Team, which is responsible for education and client support for Gallagher Bassett’s managed care products and services. A graduate of University of California, San Diego, Jennifer has been with Gallagher Bassett since 2002 and has 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. Jennifer is actively engaged with managed care operations, analytics and product development focused on innovative solutions in medical care for injured workers.
Attorney, Downs & Stanford, PC
Stuart Colburn is a shareholder of Downs Stanford and opened the Austin, Texas, office. He is board certified in Workers’ Compensation Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Colburn is an AV Rated lawyer by Martindale Hubbell. He is a certified lobbyist and attends Legislative meetings and hearings. Mr. Colburn is the firm’s representative at Division meetings. He has extensive experience in all phases of dispute resolution before the Division of Worker’s Compensation and in district courts across the state. The State Bar of Texas Workers’ Compensation Section awarded Stuart “The Barb-wire Award” for lifetime service in the area of workers’ compensation. He also received the Comp Laude Award by Workcompcentral.com for his contributions as a defense attorney. Mr. Colburn was the founder and first Chair of the State Bar of Texas Workers’ Compensation Section. He is a co-author of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Handbook published by LexisNexis. Mr. Colburn served as a Contributing Editor for the Texas Insurance Code Annotated and contributor for The Complete Guide to Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance. He serves on the Executive Committee of the LexisNexis Advisory Board for Larson’s on Workers’ Compensation. He served as founder and first chair of executive committee for the workers’ compensation subgroup for Primerus Defense Institute. He is extremely active in the education of attorneys, adjusters and employers for workers’ compensation and bad faith allegation and is certified by the Texas Department of Insurance as a continuing education provider. The Texas Bar CLE Staff awarded Mr. Colburn the Standing Ovation Award recognizing his efforts, commitment and leadership. A sought-after speaker, Mr. Colburn has delivered over five hundred speeches regarding Workers’ Compensation across the country. He also served as the Course Director for numerous programs including the Texas State Bar’s Advanced Workers’ Compensation Seminar and Texas Workers’ Compensation Forum.
James M. Loughlin
Partner, Stone Loughlin & Swanson, L.L.P.
James M. Loughlin is a partner in the law firm of Stone, Loughlin & Swanson. Mr. Loughlin’s practice consists primarily of representing workers’ compensation insurance carriers in indemnity and medical benefits disputes, regulatory compliance matters, subrogation, and complex claim consulting. He also represents employers in employer liability claims and workers’ compensation health care networks and political subdivisions in the drafting and review of network contracts as well as network formation and regulation. Mr. Loughlin has worked in private practice since 1996 and is board-certified in workers’ compensation law by the Texas Board of Legal specialization since 2004. From 1996 – 2004, he practiced at Wilson Grosenheider & Jacobs. In 2004, he became a founding partner of Stone, Loughlin & Swanson. Mr. Loughlin has an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He is a member of the Austin Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. From 2010 – 2016, he served as a member of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization Workers’ Compensation Law Advisory Commission. Mr. Loughlin graduated from Baylor University School of Law, where he was an editor for the Baylor Law Review, a member of the Order of Barristers, and served as Senior Class President of the Student Bar Association. Before law school, Mr. Loughlin graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in political science.
Senior Vice President,
Product Development & Marketing
Mark Pew, senior vice president of product development and marketing for Preferred Medical (www.ThePreferredMedical.com), is a passionate educator and agitator. He has been addressing painkiller over-prescribing since 2003. Known as The RxProfessor, Mark is focused on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment, particularly as it relates to the clinical and financial implications of prescription painkillers, non-pharma treatment modalities and the evolution of medical marijuana. He is a strong champion for the workers’ compensation industry to #PreventTheMess and #CleanUpTheMess, movements he created to drive attention to the importance of individualized appropriate treatment for injured workers. Mark is a vocal advocate of the BioPsychoSocialSpiritual treatment model. Since 2012, Mark has presented educational content more than 575 times (including 48 webinars) to more than 48,000 people in 42 states and the District of Columbia. He is also an accomplished writer, blogging daily along with 40 original articles published in national magazines. His blog was recognized in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as a WorkersCompensation.com “Best Blog.” Mark received the WorkCompCentral Magna Comp Laude award in 2016 and the IAIABC’s Samuel Gompers Award in 2017. He serves on the IAIABC’s Medical Issues Committee. In addition, he serves as technical advisor to regulators and legislators in 20+ jurisdictions on subjects such as drug formularies, treatment guidelines, Opioid Task Force initiatives, encouraging support of non-pharma treatment options and the medicinal use of cannabis. In July 2019 he was added as the only non-clinician to the Advisory Board for SimpleTherapy (www.simpletherapy.com), an innovative provider of musculoskeletal care powered by Artificial Intelligence and health coaches. In October 2019 he was added to the Advisory Board for Harvard MedTech (www.harvardmedtech.com), a cutting edge developer of evidence-based “smart technology” (including virtual reality) for the management of pain.