Friday - January, 19 2018

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 (1832)/Comments (0)/
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Laurel Eriksen, APEI Deputy Director, visit with Bonita Williams former (retired) Finance Director

 

Laurel Eriksen, APEI Deputy Director, had a chance to visit with Bonita Williams in February 2012. Bonita is the former (retired) Finance Director of APEI as well as former Executive Director of ASIC. Bonita has a long history with ASIC and was closely involved as the company transitioned to APEI. Bonita retired five years ago and now lives in Seattle.

Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (1957)/Comments (0)/
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How to Save Premium Dollars

Loss Control Premium Credit Program

APEI's loss control premium credit program allows members to save a lot of money on their premiums. A member reaching the maximum amounts will receive 15% off the APEI portion of their workers' comp and general liability premiums as well as 4% off the APEI portion of their property premium. This program is surprisingly underutilized. You can find out more information about it in your loss control manual. Contact Abe Levy, your loss control manager, at alevy@akpei.com for more information.
Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (1707)/Comments (0)/
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Staying Safe in the Cloud

Welcome to the Cloud. Cloud Storage. Cloud Computing. These are the buzz words for today’s new technology. Every day more organizations are deciding to switch to the cloud. We regularly interact with the cloud in different ways, but many of us don’t really know what the cloud is. In the simplest sense cloud computing refers to storing data or information on a virtual server over the internet.

Many organizations are moving towards cloud computing for their own storage and eliminating the traditional on site servers. There are many things that need to be considered when looking into this change. In Alaska, especially remote areas, internet connectivity may be a big concern. It would not be effective to use cloud computing without a stable, reliable internet connection.

Another large concern with cloud computing centers around the ownership of the data stored in the cloud. We are faced with multitudes of legal fine print when using computers. The standard is to scroll down and click ok or agree without reading. When looking into cloud computing it is very important to read the terms of services (ToS) and read them completely.

Google uses a single ToS to cover most of its products. The ToS clearly state “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.” That sounds good. If your organization is going to switch to cloud computing, the information needs to continue to be the property of the organization.

However, upon further reading of the ToS you will find the following: “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

Woah! So the information stays the property of the organization, but the information can be used by Google for just about any purpose they choose. While it is unlikely that Google would actually do anything with your data, this is a risk you may not be willing or able to take.

An example of more ideal language is found in the DropBox ToS. “You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services.”

There are other considerations to be made, but make sure you read the ToS completely. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you don’t have the privacy you were expecting.

Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (1767)/Comments (0)/
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Members Doing the Right Thing


Have you ever had trouble keeping the areas in front of your electrical boxes clear? OSHA regulations require 30 to 36 inches of clearance in front of electrical shutoff panels depending on voltage. The Petersburg City School District has clearly marked off such areas with yellow paint to remind students and employees to not store items in these areas.

Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (1751)/Comments (0)/
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Cyber Bullying

Bullying is a problem schools have faced for a long time. However, recently with the rise of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices, cyber bullying is becoming a major issue.
One of the difficulties school districts face is how to address cyber bullying without infringing upon students' First Amendment rights to free speech. Cases across the country continue to be litigated and the answers are not clear. However, even when electronic devices are used off-site, schools may have some authority over student cyber bullying if it is detrimental to the educational environment.

School administrations should take proactive steps to prevent cyber bullying from occurring. Some of the actions that should be taken are:
  • Develop clear rules and policies to prohibit the use of schoool technologies to bully others.
  • Educate students and staff members about what types of behavior constitute cyber bullying and how the school district's policies apply to them.
  • Provide adequate supervision and monitoring of student use of technology.
  • Establish systems for reporting cyber bullying or misuse of technology.
  • Establish effective responses to reports of cyber bullying.
Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (1864)/Comments (0)/
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APEI Wins Longest Outstanding Civil Litigation Case On File

APEI’s oldest and most expensive civil litigation file was finally resolved by a Bethel jury verdict on February 24th.

Thirty-one Hooper Bay residents sued Lower Yukon School District, claiming the district was responsible for the August 2006 Hooper Bay school fire because the plywood skirting around the school was not maintained, allowing children to gain access. The plaintiffs were asking for millions of dollars in damages for their homes and lost personal property.

What took lawyers and experts over 4 years of contested argument and opinion, including two Supreme Court petitions for review, required the jury less than 15 minutes to decide and sign a special verdict form that LYSD was not negligent.

As prevailing party, LYSD has filed for and will be awarded Civil Rule 82 fees and costs, which will be owed jointly and severally by each named plaintiff.

Plaintiffs have not filed an appeal.
Sunday, April 1, 2012/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (2103)/Comments (0)/
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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 (1884)/Comments (0)/
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APEI Newsletter July 2011

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Friday, July 1, 2011/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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APEI Newsletter December 2010

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010/Author: Alaska Public Entity Insurance/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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