July-August 2012


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NLC-RISC Staff Conference Update

RISC Resource: Erin Rian

Plans are well underway for the Fall Staff Conference October 22-24, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina. A Preliminary Agenda is now available and details about the conference can be found on the NLC-RISC Staff Conference web page. Please note that the deadline for conference and hotel registrations is Wednesday, September 26th.

An underlying theme that has emerged for us in planning this year's conference is building cross-functional collaborations (or as we like to call it "breaking down the silos"). The challenges facing public entity pools and your members - tough economic times, cost control, reducing liability and risk - transcend every area of your organization and every part of the country. These challenges are not unique to just claims or just underwriting, or isolated to just the east coast or west coast. As you explore sessions we encourage you to think outside the box, and perhaps outside of your comfort zone. Each session is designed to allow plenty of time for the exchange of ideas, so come prepared to share your perspective, strategies and solutions with others.

We also recognize the importance and value you place on networking with your peers. To that end, there are plenty of opportunities for you to network and exchange ideas, information and best practices with your colleagues from around the country. Look for "Think Tank" opportunities scheduled throughout the conference for open discussions on timely topics of interest.

Additional session details will be available soon, so please check our website for updates. See you in Charleston!

Pools In the Spotlight

This section of the RISC Report provides highlights from recent NLC-RISC member publications. With the publishing pool's permission, these reprints will showcase the pools' expertise and services allowing RISC member pools to learn from, and build upon, each other's efforts. If RISC is not currently on your distribution list for these newsletters, please consider providing us with either a hard copy or electronic version of your newsletter.

RISC Resource: Claire Reiss

Governmental Entities Exposed to New Medicare Rules on Workers' Compensation and Liability Claims

(Printed with permission from TML Risk Management Pool. The following article was written by Jim Morrison, Director of Claims and featured in the July 2012 POOLSIDE newsletter.)

The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 was signed into law and amends the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP). These changes result in two things with regards to claims involving a Medicare Beneficiary (usually age 65 or older):

1. Imposes reporting requirements for claim settlements and penalties for non-compliance;
2. Shifts the responsibility for protecting Medicare's interest to all parties involved.

If you are a member of the TML Risk Management Pool and have Workers Compensation and / or Liability coverage, compliance with MSP for these coverages will be handled in the normal course of processing a claim. However, if a Pool member decides to pay a small claim on its own, you should be aware of the future implications and liabilities you could be committing your entity to. The Pool will report submitted claims that are required within the time tables set forth by MSP and protect Medicare's interest as required by law for all claims paid under the Workers Compensation and Liability Policies.   Read more.

Oath of Office: Ethics, Liability, and Best Practices

(Reprinted with permission from CIRSA. The following article was written by Tami Tanoue, CIRSA General Counsel/Claims Manager and featured in the Summer issue of Coverage Line.)

With the passage of time since you were elected, does your oath have continuing meaning as an ethical commitment? This article examines the oath as a commitment to best practices in carrying out your responsibilities, and as a path to avoiding liability. We'll focus on four key areas: allocation of responsibilities, transparency in meetings, quasi-judicial rules of engagement, and personal conduct.  Read more.

For Your Information

Agility Update

RISC Resource: Claire Reiss

The Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool has joined Agility Recovery Solutions on behalf of its members. The Pool is the seventh NLC-RISC member pool to provide its members with Agility's suite of disaster continuity and disaster recovery services. Those services include expedited access at pre-negotiated rates to power generation, office space, technology assets computer systems, networking equipment and satellite internet and telephone connectivity, which enable cities to continue operations until their premises can be repaired and their usual equipment and lifeline services restored. Agility also provides each member city access to the MyAgility business-continuity planning tool, which stores critical information in a cloud application that the city can access from any computer.  Read more.

Mortgage Condemnation: A Potential New Source of Risk for Pools?

RISC Resource: Claire Reiss

There is a potential new source of risk on the horizon for public risk pools, and it could affect pools both as insurers and as investors of the funds they hold on behalf of members. The source of risk is a new tool that is being proposed to help cities deal with the drag of underwater mortgages on their local housing market and on their local economy. The tool is called "mortgage condemnation". This innovative use of the power of eminent domain to seize certain performing underwater mortgages and permit property owners to refinance on better terms could expose a local government (and potentially its pool) to protracted and costly litigation with the original note holders. Conversely, if a pool is invested in mortgage backed securities, widespread adoption of this tool could diminish the value of those investments.  Read more.

NLC-RISC Seeking Nominations for Board of Directors

RISC Resource: Claire Reiss

NLC-RISC is now accepting nominations for the NLC-RISC Board of Directors. One vacancy will occur on the Board as a result of a board member reaching term limits. The NLC-RISC by-laws require this particular vacancy to be filled by a pool administrator.

The Board of Directors consists of four League Executive Directors and four Pool Administrators. Each member of the Board of Directors at the time of his/her election shall be an employee of a member state municipal league or pool that has been a member of NLC-RISC for at least three years. Board members serve two-year terms.

Nominations have been extended through August 31, 2012. Nominations may be submitted to Claire Reiss. Please include the name of the individual being nominated, their position, organization and a brief bio.

NLC.org Gets New Features, New Look - New RISC Communication Tools Coming Soon

RISC Resource: Erin Rian

Visitors to www.nlc.org will notice new features and a new look as part of an upgrade to the website's content management system that was implemented late last month. These changes impact NLC-RISC in that the RISC Report newsletter has a slightly different look and our website address has changed. You can still find us under "About NLC" and "State League Programs" or by going directly to our web page at www.nlc.org/about-nlc/state-league-programs/nlc-risk-information-sharing-consortium.

This is the first in a series of changes to the communication tools through NLC-RISC. Additional enhancements include a members-only portal and alternatives to our listservs. Details will be released soon and we hope to have more information about the changes at the Fall Staff Conference in Charleston.

Nominations Open for NLC's 2012 Stutz Award

RISC Resource: Catherine Moses

RISC member pools are invited to submit nominations for the John G. Stutz Award. NLC gives the Stutz Award to any league director, pool administrator or staff member that has completed a total of 25 years of service with one or more state league or intergovernmental risk pool.

Nominations for the Stutz Award will be accepted for staff of RISC member pools through August 31, 2012. Please send nominations to Catherine Moses. Include the name, organization and biographical information of the staff member being nominated.

United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

RISC Resource: Claire Reiss

US-CERT is an operational program of the US Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division. It leads DHS efforts to improve cybersecurity and promote information sharing about cyber risk, including gathering information about cyber incidents and software vulnerability. At this link, pools can register to receive weekly bulletins that identify and describe new system vulnerabilities that have been identified by US-CERT and provide links to patch information for the vulnerabilities. The site also includes a page of government specific resources.  Read more.

Western Regional Loss Control Conference Takes Place in Boise

RISC Resource: Claire Reiss

The Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP) organized and hosted a successful Western Regional Loss Control Conference in Boise, Idaho July 11-13, 2012. ICRMP executive director, Rick Ferguson, and risk management specialists, Mary Kummer and Jim McNall managed the logistics and content of the meeting. Although not currently an NLC-RISC member, ICRMP serves Idaho municipalities and has participated in the Western Regional Loss Control Conference since 2010 by invitation from the group's members. Several RISC member pools were in attendance. The topics discussed included sewer and water, employment practices, motor vehicle / driving, law enforcement liability, workers' compensation, among others.  Read more.

    In the News

    Expect a $10b Loss Every Four Years from Hurricanes

    (PropertyCasualty360, 8/21/2012)

    A new report by Karen Clark & Co. says storms capable of major losses are not as infrequent as we might assume. In fact, the United States can anticipate insured losses of at least $10 billion from a hurricane an average of every four years, based on an analysis of more than a century of hurricane experience.   Read more.

    National Public Safety Network Begins To Take Shape

    (Government Technology, 8/20/2012)

    For many years the dream of an interoperable radio for the nation's first responders had stalled at the federal level. In 2010, twenty-one cities, counties and states formed the Operator Advisory Committee (OAC) and formally applied to the FCC to use the bandwidth, which was granted in May 2010. The national system is backed by a $7 billion congressional appropriation, which experts say is only a small fraction of the amount that will be needed to fully build out the network. This year Congress also created the First Responders' Network Authority, called FirstNet, to help make the project a reality nationwide.   Read more.

    Workers' Comp State Legislation Battles to Watch

    (PropertyCasualty360, 8/20/2012)

    There has been significant reform activity in a number of legislative chambers, and a handful of states have put forth some major reform efforts that impact Workers' Comp payers as well as injured workers. No single area of the system is immune from scrutiny: State legislators are raking a hard look at everything from disability benefits to the cost and delivery of pharmacy and ancillary services. States to watch include New York, California, Florida, Maryland, Oklahoma and Louisiana.  Read more.

    City Cameras Track Anyone, Even Minneapolis Mayor

    (StarTribune, 8/17/2012)

    Mobile cameras are increasingly popular with law enforcement agencies locally and nationally because they can port criminals and other wanted persons in real time. But without a state law, the data is public and can be stored indefinitely. Now several legislators are joining privacy experts who say the Legislature needs to set standards on the classification, retention and use of that data.  Read more.

    Lack of HHS Guidance Holding Up State Insurance Exchanges, Regulators Say

    (PropertyCasualty360, 8/17/2012)

    The deadline for states to achieve certification for their health-insurance exchanges is fast approaching, but regulators say the lack of rules and guidance from Washington is holding up the process.  Read more.

    California Supreme Court Adopts "All-Sums-With Stacking" Rule Disapproves FMC Corp v. Plaisted in the Process

    (Mondaq, 8/16/2012)

    In a long tail first party environmental contamination claim, the California Supreme Court has issued a decision that permits policyholders facing losses arising from continuous or progressively deteriorating property damage over several years to stack insurance coverage from different policy periods, providing a limit that equals the sum of all policy limits. The decision was issued in the context of environmental policies that promised to pay "all sums" for property damage during a policy period that results from "an accident or continuous or repeated exposure....", but may have implications for other claims for damages that unfold over a period of time without a single definable cause.  Read more.

    Recent Reports Outline Stiff Industry Challenges Despite Rising Rates

    (PropertyCasualty360, 8/16/2012)

    Property and casualty insurance rates are on the rise, but reports released in late July and August seem unsure whether the pricing trend will build into sustained underwriting profits during a period of rising loss consists and low investment returns.  Read more.

    Upcoming Events

    The following events may be of interest to RISC members. You may also find details under the Events tab on the NLC-RISC website.

    • NLC-RISC Staff Conference: October 22-24, 2012 in Charleston, SC
    • NLC-RISC Trustees Conference: May 16-18, 2013 in Denver, CO
    • Southern Municipal Underwriting Group Meeting: April 8-9, 2013 in Louisville, KY
    • Southeast Loss Control Meeting: April 16-19, 2013 in Annapolis, MD
    • Midwest Loss Control Meeting: May 2-3, 2013 in St. Paul, MN

    Employment Opportunities

    If you would like to post a job opportunity on the NLC-RISC website or in the RISC Report, please send us an e-mail request.
    RISC Resource: Erin Rian