Wednesday - September, 19 2018

Conducting Performance Reviews That Work

The anticipation of a performance review often brings about anxiety for both the employee and the evaluating manager. Anxiety may be justified because a poorly conducted review can result in more harm than good. Performance reviews should produce positive results.

Preparation is the key to a successful performance evaluation. Important to preparation is on-going communication with the employee.

A formal review may only take place once a year, but communication between an employee and his or her supervisor regarding job performance should be continuous. The employee should go into a performance review knowing how he or she has performed throughout the year with no surprises.

Employers and their evaluating managers should treat performance assessments as a valuable communication tool for both employees and supervisors - a stepping-stone for progress in the right direction. When the evaluation is complete, both parties should have a clear picture of where the employee has been in the past year and where he or she is going. Then, the manager must routinely follow-up with the employee to assess his or her progress, daily, weekly or monthly, until the next formal review.
Monday, October 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2282)/Comments (0)/

Members Doing the Right Thing

Have you ever seen your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) lying around collecting dust? OSHA says that PPE that is defective and unclean shall not be used. The City of Wasilla found a great way to store and track their PPE with a vending machine. These machines can dispense gloves, masks, hard hats, goggles, and other PPE items. Not only is it easy for your employees to access the necessary equipment, it makes tracking these items much easier.

Monday, October 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2285)/Comments (0)/

Workers' Compensation Experience Rating Changes

The premium a member pays for a Workers’ Compensation policy is primarily determined by considering three items:

  • The types of work done by employees (which are grouped into “classifications”)
  • An experience modification
  • The amount of payroll for employees in each classification

Classification grouping is done to reflect the fact that employees in certain jobs (such as roofers) have a greater risk of injury than employees in other positions (such as office jobs).  Members pay higher workers’ compensation rates for employees in higher risk job classes.

The experience modification (“experience mod”) is an adjustment made to reflect each member’s own past loss experience.  Members with few or no past losses generally receive a “credit” experience mod, which lowers their premiums.  Members with many or large past claims often receive a “debit” mod, which increases their premiums.  Experience mods provide APEI members with a financial incentive to work on preventing accidents and help injured employees return to work.

Experience mods “follow” an employer if that employer changes insurance companies.  This means that APEI is able to fairly calculate and apply an experience mod when writing new business, as well as for our long-term members.

Since employers generally have more control over the frequency of accidents than the cost of the injuries resulting from those accidents, the formula calculating the experience mod gives more weight to the number of claims than to the cost of those claims.  It does this by dividing each claim into two portions:  a “primary” loss amount, and an “excess” loss amount.  While all of the primary loss amounts are included in the calculation of the experience mod, only a portion of the “excess” losses are included.

For many years, the “split point” between primary and excess losses has been set at $5,000.  Thus, the first $5,000 of each claim has been considered primary, while amounts over $5,000 have been considered to be excess.   Inflation has caused the $5,000 split point to become outdated, with more claims falling into the excess category. 

In an attempt to better reflect cost increases, this split point will be increasing, first to $10,000 in 2013, and then to $15,000 and higher over the next several years.   This change is intended to be revenue neutral, so the average experience mod for all APEI members should not change.  The experience mods will change for most members, though, with members who have high-cost claims likely seeing an increase in their experience mod, and members with few or low-cost claims seeing a decrease.

These changes mean that a member’s premiums will be more sensitive to their loss history than in the past, and make it even more important to implement loss control measures to reduce the likelihood and cost of accidents.  APEI provides loss control services that can help with this.  For information on these services, contact Cole Cummins, your loss control manager, at

Monday, October 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2405)/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 (2561)/Comments (0)/

APEI team building retreat

From left to right, Abe, Barbara, Brad, and Jeff at the

APEI team building retreat.
Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2170)/Comments (0)/

APEI Partners with SafeSchools to Offer Free, School-Focused Online Training

APEI is excited to announce its new partnership with SafeSchools, the leader in online training for schools. This partnership will help our school district members to improve safety for students and staff and also meet compliance mandates. As featured in our How to Save Premium Dollars section, online training will count as training for the premium credit program.

This partnership provides free 24/7 access to over 200 online training courses tailored specifically to schools and school employees. These courses cover a wide array of topics including: bullying prevention, youth suicide, school violence, bloodborne pathogens, slips, trips, and falls, and many more.

SafeSchools will replace the TargetSolutions training for our school district members. Municipalities and other non-school district members will continue to use TargetSolutions for their free online training needs. If you haven't signed up for either program, or just want more information, contact Abe Levy at to get started.

Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2246)/Comments (0)/

How to Save Premium Dollars

Online Training

APEI offers free online training to its members. For School districts, APEI has partnered with SafeSchools, and for municipalities, APEI has partnered with Target Solutions.

Online training provides many benefits to your organization. In Alaska, it can be difficult and expensive to hire a trainer to conduct on-site training. With APEI’s online training programs, there is no cost to you, and you don’t have to get all your employees in one place at one time. They can take their training when it fits better into their schedule.

Not only is online training easier and less expensive, but through APEI’s premium credit program it can save you money. This program allows for up to a 12% credit off the APEI portion of your general liability and workers’ compensation premiums at renewal.

To get your organization signed up, contact Abe Levy, your loss control manager, at
Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2170)/Comments (0)/

Age Discrimination and Retaliation - A Risky Duo

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the most frequently alleged charges by the federal work force in 2010 were retaliation (7,712) charges. And, for the past five fiscal years, the EEOC has seen an upward trend in complaints alleging both retaliation and age discrimination. 

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) applies to employers with 20 or more employees and protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his or her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including job assignments.

The ADEA forbids harassment of a person because of his or her age. Age harassment that is frequent or severe can create a hostile or offensive work environment. 

Retaliation claims stand alone, meaning that even if the underlying age claim allegations are not proven, the employee may still recover on the retaliation claim. Two loss prevention keys can help employers avoid costly retaliation and discrimination claims.

First, employers must provide training for workers in all areas of equal employment opportunity including protection of employees from discrimination or harassment. 

To curb retaliation claims, employers should not only train managers and supervisors on the types of behavior that constitute retaliation, but they should also take action to protect employees who report discrimination. Communicate that retaliation is not tolerated and provide a direct and safe method of reporting retaliation.
Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2251)/Comments (0)/

Members Doing the Right Thing

In a recent visit to the Copper River School District, we came across a great example for storing materials. Large boards, poles, and other similar materials create a significant hazard of being knocked over or slipping out when leaned against walls. In the image above you can see a storage system with bins and chains to prevent materials from falling over. You can also see a footboard to prevent items from slipping out. This is an ideal way to store leaning materials. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2297)/Comments (0)/

What Not to Do When Terminating Employees

One fundamental premise of employment practices risk management is that when terminated employees feel they have been humiliated or treated unfairly during the termination process, they often file wrongful termination lawsuits. 

Losing a job is a traumatic event, even when performed with the utmost respect. To avoid the risk of wrongful termination lawsuits, terminating an employee requires planning and professionalism. Management should anticipate how an employee might react to the stress of termination. In addition, a manager should never have a termination conversation with an employee when the manager is angry or upset.

Common sense dictates appropriate behavior for managers when terminating employees. Refrain from using humiliating or disrespectful language, and remain professional during the termination process. If an employee responds with an emotional outburst, stay calm. Furthermore, never threaten or shame the employee at any time during the termination process. 

Importantly, never terminate an employee in front of other employees. Terminations should take place in private with a witness and not in a staff meeting.

Terminating employees with respect helps avoid costly claims. Many jurors have either lost a job or know someone who has, making it easy for a jury asked to decide a claim to identify with a terminated employee.
Sunday, July 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2090)/Comments (0)/
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Alaska Public Entity Insurance

2233 Jordan Ave
Juneau, AK 99801-8050

Phone: 907-523-9400

Toll-Free: 877-586-2734

Fax: 907-586-2008