Friday - September, 21 2018
From the Desk of the Executive Director

From the Desk of the Executive Director

As the new Executive Director of APEI, I wanted to introduce myself and report on our successful policy renewal season.

Monday, June 26, 2017/Author: Cole Cummins/Number of views (1146)/Comments (0)/

APEI Appoints Barbara Thurston as Executive Director

To Alaska Public Entity Insurance Members, Brokers, and other interested parties:

The Board of Directors of Alaska Public Entity Insurance is pleased to announce the appointment of Barbara Thurston as Executive Director effective May 1, 2017.  


Monday, May 1, 2017/Author: Cole Cummins/Number of views (1952)/Comments (0)/
How to Make Great Sausage - From the Desk of the CEO, Jeff Bush

How to Make Great Sausage - From the Desk of the CEO, Jeff Bush

Otto von Bismarck is attributed with the famous quote, “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." 

                Although the legislative process may not always be pretty, this year the legislature got it right when it passed House Bill 316, which will start the process of bringing Alaska workers’ compensation medical costs, and hence premium rates, under control.
Friday, April 18, 2014/Author: Cole Cummins/Number of views (2830)/Comments (0)/

What to Expect this Renewal

From the Desk of the CEO, Jeff Bush

Every year I am startled to realize that it’s time again to begin the annual insurance renewal dance.  APEI will be sending out renewal applications to brokers in the next couple of weeks, so you should expect to be hearing from your broker soon. 

Although it’s still too early to promise anything, here is a short version of what you might expect when you get your insurance quotes later this spring:

  • No Decrease in Property Rates.  Hurricane Sandy ruined it for the rest of us.  Sandy put the pinch on many large property insurance companies, who therefore are pressing for higher rates.  Fortunately APEI has had few major property losses in recent years, meaning that we can expect our rates to remain fairly stable.  However although rates should be stable, we expect most members will be increasing their property values, hence raising their premium.
  • Flat Liability and Auto Rates.  APEI members continue to have good loss experience for these lines of business, and consequently overall program rates should remain fairly flat.  Of course, individual premium rates will vary, because a member’s individual loss experience is the single most significant factor in determining liability or workers’ compensation premium rates.
  • Higher Medical Costs Mean Higher Workers’ Compensation Rates.  We are anticipating workers’ compensation rate increases of as much as 10% program-wide, due to ever-increasing medical costs for these claims.  We continue to push for constructive legislative reforms to address this problem, but to date no bills have been introduced.  If you have the chance, please encourage your legislators to consider changes to the workers’ compensation system to bring medical fees under control.
As always, this time of year provides excitement tinged with a hint of trepidation.  In the coming months we will be busy working with our excess and reinsurers to put together the best possible program for our members.   At the same time we will be working with your insurance brokers to gather necessary information and develop quotes as quickly and efficiently as possible.  This year, reinsurers are requiring complete and accurate underwriting information (the stuff you put in the renewal application and schedules), so please pay careful attention to detail.  Thanks.
Sunday, December 1, 2013/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2987)/Comments (0)/

About 15-Passenger Vans

From the Desk of the CEO, Jeff Bush

One of the things I like about my job is that new challenges are presented almost daily. Here’s an example:

Recently we received a question from a member’s broker regarding how APEI insures 15-passenger vans. In researching the broker’s question, we learned much.

We have long known that 15 passenger vans are more dangerous than other motor vehicles. Research indicates that 15 passenger vans have a 70% greater chance of rolling over when loaded with 15 people or the equivalent in people and luggage. They also have a higher rate of single vehicle accidents than any other vehicle.

However, research in response to the broker’s question revealed more. School districts should never use such vans to transport kids. Since 1974, federal law has prohibited pre-primary, primary and secondary schools from purchasing or leasing new 15-passenger vans to be used significantly to transport students unless the vans meet the federal standards for school buses. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that 11-15 passenger vans do not and cannot meet many such federal standards, including rollover protection, body joint strength, and crash protection systems.

In short, schools are prohibited by federal law from leasing or purchasing new vans designed to carry more than 10 passengers (even if some seats are removed), if the school intends to use the vehicle to transport students. They are, quite simply, unsafe. “Pre-primary, primary and secondary schools should not use 15-passenger vans for transporting school children, as they do not provide the same level of safety as school buses. It is also against federal law for schools to buy new 15-passenger vans for school transportation purposes.” NHTSA Consumer Advisory, Oct. 10, 2010. Any auto dealer selling a 10+ passenger van to a school district is subject to severe penalties.

We see many vans with seating capacities above 10 on our school district auto schedules. We strongly encourage districts to look for ways to de-commission those vehicles that transport students and replace them with other types of vehicles that meet federal safety standards.

Monday, July 1, 2013/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (3399)/Comments (0)/

Let it Snow... NOT!

From the Desk of the Director, Jeff Bush

It’s only mid-January, but for many Alaskans this has already become a winter to remember.  Cordova has made national headlines with its record snowfall.  Haines and Valdez have had comparable dumps of the fluffy stuff. Anchorage and Fairbanks are on pace for new annual records. Even Seattle is expecting 10 inches today.  If it isn’t snowing where you are, it’s likely bitter cold.  Schools are closed today in Bethel because the city’s sewer lines are frozen, and even down here in the Alaska banana-belt, Juneau’s temps have hovered  around zero for several days.

Not surprisingly, the harsh weather is causing a rash of insurance claims.  Roofs have collapsed or been damaged by snow loads, and sewer lines have frozen, causing some unpleasant claims.  When winter sets in like this, employees suffer snow-related injuries and snowplows inevitably cause minor damage to personal autos or mailboxes.

As we all know, tough winters are just part of life in Alaska.  But at APEI, where we see winter-related insurance claims, we also see that many are avoidable.  When working outdoors, please be cautious and avoid hazardous situations.  Wear your “yak traks” if you have them.  Keep your roofs clear of heavy snow. Drive carefully.

We can’t control the weather, and this is Alaska, after all.  But we can be aware of weather-related risks and do our utmost to avoid accidents.  And if you have an accident, whatever it may be, please report it to us as soon as possible, and we will guarantee you the very best help and service we can provide.

Let’s hope the worst of the winter of 2011-12 is now behind us.  Stay safe, stay warm, and from all of us at APEI, Happy New Year.
Saturday, December 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2419)/Comments (0)/

APEI Fall Board Meeting Report

From the Desk of the CEO, Jeff Bush

In late October, the APEI Board of Directors gathered for two days of meetings, including the annual membership meeting, the regular fall board meeting, and a full-day planning session to develop a short- and long-term strategic plan for the company.

At the annual membership meeting, APEI Chief Operating Officer Laurel Eriksen presented the APEI annual report, including audited financial statements, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.  It will come as no surprise that the company is doing extremely well.  If you are interested, a copy of the annual report is available to all APEI members upon request. 

The first order of business for the board was the appointment of APEI board members.  Jenny Martens, Director of Finance & Budget for the Lower Yukon School District, was appointed to a vacant seat on the board.  We all look forward to working with Jenny in the months and years ahead.  Karen Goodwin (Northwest Arctic Borough School District), Elizabeth Masoni (City of Unalaska), and Bob Herron (at-large) were also reappointed for new 3-year terms.

The board also took up some housekeeping issues, making minor revisions to the bylaws and cooperative participation agreement, and formally adopting changes to the company’s target equity policy.  With adoption of this new policy, APEI will retain equity in an amount consistent with that retained by similar-sized private insurance companies.

As a result of the strategic planning session, APEI staff now have a long to-do list.  Most immediate is working to get the legislature to address rising medical costs in workers’ compensation claims.  Alaska now has the highest workers’ compensation rates in the country, which are being driven by very high and ever-increasing medical fees.  The issue is now drawing the attention of Alaska’s public and private employers alike, and I am optimistic that some solution will be found during this next session.
Monday, October 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2565)/Comments (0)/

Renewal Successes and Challenges

From the Desk of the Director, Jeff Bush

During the recently completed renewal season, APEI added one new member, Aleutians East Borough, and welcomed back the Nondalton Water/Sewer project, which was shut down in 2011-12 and hence uninsured. No existing members left APEI, so we currently sport an all-time high membership count of 66 public entities. Although members generally saw some premium rate increases this year, these were largely offset by over $1.9 million in dividends paid out to renewing members.

Obviously we at APEI are once again pleased with the results of the renewal cycle.  Nonetheless, we faced some new challenges this year that, in the future, will likely negatively impact our members.  In general, the national and international reinsurance markets are “hardening,” meaning prices are rising.  We hear talk that the cause is large insurance losses due to natural disasters around the world, but it could just be the natural pendulum swing of the market.  World insurance markets have been “soft,” with prices either flat or declining, for several years.  Whatever the cause, increased prices in the insurance industry in general mean increases to everyone, including Alaska’s public entities.

The other concern is the continuing refusal of the state government and legislature to deal with increasing medical costs in workers’ compensation claims.  While most states have in place effective statutory fee structures that control medical service costs in workers’ compensation claims, our state government has, in recent years, irresponsibly retreated and allowed these medical costs to climb virtually uncontrolled.  The result is, by our estimation, a more than 30% increase in medical claim costs in the last year alone, which translates into overall claim costs going up almost 25%.  Some of these cost increases are already showing up in rates, but unless something is done, workers’ compensation rate increases for all Alaska employers are likely to spiral upward in future years.

I encourage you to pass along your concerns to your local legislators.
Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2276)/Comments (0)/

Dividends and More

From the Desk of the Director, Jeff Bush

There are many signs of Spring: breakup; budding crocuses; more daylight; baseball.  However, there is another Springtime ritual that is becoming commonplace: the distribution of dividends to APEI members.  At its Spring meeting this past March, the APEI board, for the third year in a row, authorized the company to pay out dividends to members.  This year, the total amount to be handed out will be the highest ever. 

This year’s distribution, which will show up on members’ renewal quotes, will reduce renewing members’ premium bills by almost 15%.

Each member’s dividend will vary.  Although every renewing member will receive a dividend, the amount of the dividend is affected by two things: longevity in the APEI program (maximum benefits apply after 3 years) and the member’s loss record.  Those members with fewer than average losses will see higher than average dividends.  This is just one more reason to do all you can to keep losses in check.

Alone, the dividend is a wonderful way to reward program members and help keep insurance costs low.  But that’s not all.  Also at the Spring meeting, the board again approved using some excess company assets, or equity, to reduce premiums for everyone.  Even new members will enjoy these premium reductions.

Premium reductions will lower the cost for each APEI member’s insurance by another 10%.

Between the two programs—the dividend and the premium reduction—the cost for insurance for APEI members is being cut almost 25%. 

Insurance costs in general are rising.  Although we hope these programs will result in lower premiums compared to last year, that is not a guarantee.  Claims and reinsurance costs continue to rise.  But even if a member’s premium doesn’t go down, these programs nonetheless help offset any other increases. 
Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2241)/Comments (0)/
Reporting a Loss?

Alaska Public Entity Insurance

2233 Jordan Ave
Juneau, AK 99801-8050

Phone: 907-523-9400

Toll-Free: 877-586-2734

Fax: 907-586-2008