RISC eNews

April 17, 2014
APRIL 17, 2014


Conference Update
A final agenda is now available for the 2014 Trustees Conference.  You may view the schedule and session details here and click on Schedule along the left.  We look forward to seeing you in San Diego!

SAVE THE DATE! Please mark your calendars for upcoming NLC-RISC conferences:

  • 2014 Fall Staff Conference: October 20-22, 2014 in St. Paul, MN
  • 2015 Spring Trustees Conference: May 7-9, 2015 in Savannah, GA

Data Breach & Cyber Security

7 Scary Findings from the 2014 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report
Property Casualty 360, 4/11/2014

Symantec Corp has issued a report that analyzes 2013 cyber security trends. A link to the full report is available from the article. Among issues of potential interest to pools are the threats associated with spear phishing, ransomware, mobile device and social media vulnerability, and the Internet of Things.

4 Types of Employees Who Put Your Cyber Security at Risk, and 10 Things You Can do to Stop Them
ABA Journal, 3/28/2014

The threat to workplace security is a serious and growing problem. 41% of IT professionals say that “rogue” employees are the biggest security threats to their organizations. Four types of employees contribute:

  • security softie - knows very little about security
  • gadget geek - plugs in devices to work computers
  • squatter - uses company IT resources inappropriately
  • saboteur - hacks into unpermitted areas

This article provides helpful tips for mitigating insider threats.

Comfort in the Cloud
Property Casualty 360, 3/25/2014

Many industries have been adopting cloud computing to reduce costs and expedite implementation of new systems, but insurers are still wary about data security and privacy for data that is not under their control. Clouds offer some security advantages, however, because they have multiple layers of security and providers go through a lot more scrutiny than an insurer’s privately maintained data center is likely to have. Cloud providers also provide around the clock monitoring versus being limited to data center staff. The experience of Philadelphia Insurance Company in adopting the cloud into its technology environment is discussed, which may assist pools that are considering moving some or all of their activities to the cloud.

Employment Practices

EEOC and FTC Release Guidance on Background Checks
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 3/21/2014

On March 10, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) issued a joint guidance regarding the common issues employers face. These publications are efforts to increase awareness of federal regulations relating to background checks. One document is designed for the employer, emphasizing the need for written permission from job applicants before obtaining background reports. The second document is for job applicants, reminding them that it is not illegal for potential employers to ask about their background as long as they do not discriminate. The goal here is for people on both sides to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Opportunity for Automated Underwriting Grows: SMA
Property Casualty 360, 3/25/2014

Twenty-seven percent of commercial insurers that responded to a vendor survey expressed dissatisfaction with their policy administration system. Automated underwriting may help ease competitive and pricing pressure for all size of insurers. Better data driven decisions as well as speed may contribute to greater efficiency. More than two-thirds of insurers are planning to spend more than 10% of their technology investments on their underwriting systems in the next 18 months.


Deadly Washington State Mudslide Highlights Lack of National Landslide Tracking, Maps
Vancouver Sun, 3/30/14

The residents along the deadly path of the Washington state landslide had no type of warning or signal to what was coming their way. There is currently no national system to monitor slide activity or an effort to produce a detailed nationwide landslide hazard map. This leaves communities and cities to work with a patchwork of maps showing landslide hazards. Some states and cities are working to develop regulations that would guide development on landslide-prone areas and are using different methods to monitor, prevent and track landslides.

States Collaborating on Rules to Address Earthquake Risks of Fracking
Insurance Journal, 3/31/14

Regulators from Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio are joining together to battle the mounting risks of earthquakes linked to the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Their goal is to help states toughen their standards and develop a set of common procedures to monitor for earthquakes, investigate their cause, and draft rules to prevent them.


Use of Cellphone Tracking Device in Michigan County Questioned
Insurance Journal, 4/11/2014

Local law enforcement agencies are beginning to adopt a powerful cellphone tracking device that masquerades as a cell tower and was used by the military to fight terrorism. Concerns about breach of privacy and potential use without a search warrant are resulting in some concerns about this technology being used by local police departments.

Ex-St. Louis Officer Awarded $7.5M in Sexual Harassment Suit
Insurance Journal, 3/24/14

In a sexual harassment suit against the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, a former St. Louis police officer claimed that her supervising sergeant sexually harassed her and that she had suffered retaliation for complaining. The jury awarded her $7.5M in punitive damages and $300,000 in compensatory damages, showing the potential severity of these claims.

Untrained Volunteers Risk Harm During Disasters: Study
Claims Journal, 3/28/2014

Post-disaster volunteers run the risk of being harmed physically or mentally during a disaster response, especially if they have not been properly trained. A community using volunteers should ideally operate through an organization such as a local Citizen Corps group, and should understand how their state's liability and workers' compensation laws apply to the volunteers. Pools should also be aware of how their members handle these exposures, because their activities may result in additional exposure for the pool, depending on how the volunteer's relationship with the member is configured.

Property & Casualty

Where Rates Are Heading for 6 Commercial-Lines Coverages
Property Casualty 360, 4/10/2014

A report by Willis says that the moderating trend in rate increases is expected to continue through the year. This analyzes the trends for D&O, commercial property, employee benefits, cyber risk, employment practices liability, primary and excess casualty, and workers’ compensation, and provides a link to the full report.

Understanding Snow Collapse Claims
Claims Journal, 4/7/2014

A review of the risk factors for roof and building collapse due to snow load. It includes the estimated weight for different substances, from water to various types of snow and to ice.

You Break It, You Buy It: Understanding Anti-Indemnity Statutes
Claims Journal, 4/3/2014

A good overview of state anti-indemnity laws and their effects.

Top States for Water-Related Claims: State Farm
Claims Journal, 4/1/2014

State Farm Insurance paid out more than $1.3 billion for more than 175,000 water loss claims as a result of burst frozen pipes, flooded basements and broken appliance hoses. The top states with the most water related claims for 2013 were Texas, California, and Georgia.

No End in Sight for Falling Reinsurance Rates
Property Casualty 360, 4/1/2014

Property and casualty reinsurance prices declined on policies renewing for April 1, amid an oversupply of capital and reduced demand from clients. The rate reinsurers can charge customers are under pressure as low interest rates drive capital market investors into their market. The industry is wondering how much lower rates can go before capital markets lose interest and supply for reinsurance gets closer to demand again.

Snohomish County Officials Thought of Buying Out Homeowners at Mudslide Site
Governing, 4/3/2014

Two years before new homes were built near the slope that recently collapsed in Washington Snohomish County officials knew that there was a possibility a landslide could be a threat to life and property and considered buying up the properties and emptying out the Steelhead Haven neighborhood, but decided stabilize the slope instead. Residents express concern that they did not have information they might have found useful in deciding whether to live in the area.

Workers' Compensation

Firefighters with Cancer Bear Burden for Benefits
Advisen FPN, 3/26/14

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city’s fire union is advocating that the city’s Board of Supervisors adopt a cancer presumption law that would permit firefighters to receive full pension benefits if they retire early due to work related cancer. The state already has a cancer presumption in its workers’ compensation law. The tone of the article makes it an interesting read for any pool that is dealing with cancer presumption laws in their state.

Other Topics of Interest

U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance
National League of Cities is a national sponsor of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, which offers cities “savings and solutions”. U.S. Communities is the nation’s largest purchasing cooperative for local and state governments, schools, other public agencies and non-profit organizations. It reduces the cost of purchasing thousands of products and services from national companies and suppliers through pooling purchasing power of public agencies nationwide. This is accomplished through contracts collectively solicited through lead public agencies. Last year alone, cities purchased more than $225M in products and services from U.S. Communities and saved an estimated $25M. NLC-RISC member pools or members could use this service with no cost to register. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate this program into grants and incentives programs offered to pool members.

U.S. to Mandate Rearview Cameras on Vehicles by 2018
Insurance Journal, 3/31/2014

The U.S. Government has issued a mandate to require all new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. to have rearview cameras by March 2018. This will apply to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks. This mandate is intended to help prevent backing accidents, which is a special problem for police drivers, and is something for pool members to consider when planning to update their fleets.

Local Government Public Safety Technology Priorities for 2014
24-7 Press, 3/19/2014

The Public Technology Institute recently conducted a survey and asked 54 million public safety and IT officials to rank 16 public safety technology topics according to their internal priorities. The top topics listed were “just keeping up with technology changes, personal changes and the general workload” and cyber security.

In This Issue

Upcoming Events

2014 NLC--RISC Trustees Conference
May 8-9, 2014
Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Mid-States Loss Control Meeting
May 1-2, 2014
Sioux Falls, SD

Western Region Loss Control Meeting
July 7-9, 2014
Girdwood, AK

2014 NLC-RISC Staff Conference
October 20-22, 2014
St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN

2015 NLC-RISC Trustees Conference
May 7-9, 2015
Westin Savannah Harbor

Employment Opportunities in Pooling

Click on the job title below for more details about each position. Please visit NLC's Career Center for additional opportunities in local government.

Claims Supervisor
Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. working exclusively with the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency
City, State

Director of Member Services
South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance
City, State

Director of Member Services
VML Insurance Programs
City, State

Director of Underwriting
South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance
City, State

Human Resource Senior Consultant
Citycounty Insurance Services
City, State

Law Enforcement-Human Resource Senior Consultant
Citycounty Insurance Sesrvices
City, State