George Rawlings, who founded industry that recovers health-care costs from patients who get settlements or judgments, dies at 77

George Rawlings, who made a fortune by starting an industry that recovers health-care providers’ costs of caring for patients who later get settlements or verdicts for injuries from accidents and defective products, died Thursday of the blood cancer multiple myeloma. He was 77.

“His foundation’s tax records show he and his company gave away millions to both sectarian charities and evangelical causes, including youth camps in 13 underdeveloped countries and to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, where the divinity school is named for the Rawlings family,” reports Andrew Wolfson of the Courier Journal. “He also gave generously to local causes, including $1 million to Baptist Hospital in La Grange and $100,000 apiece to the city of La Grange and Oldham County, when both were experiencing budget troubles.”

In a 2018 profile, Wolfson described Rawlings as “probably the richest Kentuckian you never heard of.” His company, the Rawlings Group, is based in LaGrange and employs 1,600 people. Its customers pay it 20 percent of the amount recovered in a process known as subrogation. “Critics have called the subrogation practice cruel because severely injured people can lose most or even all of a settlement — money they counted on to defray lost wages or to compensate for pain and suffering,” Wolfson writes. “Rawlings has said the recoveries his firm made reduced health-insurance costs.”
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