The start of the new year represents the end of our busy fall conference schedule. APEI attends conferences for most of the larger public entity professional organizations in the fall, and our staff frequently teaches a session or two at each. It’s a busy time of year for us, but satisfying as well. This year, as the new Executive Director, I attended most of these conferences and was able to meet many representatives of our members. I enjoy the opportunity to meet our members, and to listen to your concerns and suggestions. We attempt to reflect all of these interests as we tailor our approaches and coverages to best meet the needs of our members.
Though our members will not begin the insurance renewal process until early spring, for APEI the process begins right after the new year, as we start negotiations with the insurers from whom we purchase excess insurance to cover extreme losses. Although it’s still too early to be sure, here is a forecast of what you might expect when you get your insurance quotes this spring:
- Flat or a slight decrease in Workers’ Compensation Rates. APEI’s workers’ compensation experience continues to be better than the industry average, and we expect to be able to maintain flat workers’ compensation rates. Some members may even experience decreases in their workers’ compensation costs. As usual, WC rates vary significantly by class code, so members experiencing a shift in their payroll from one year to the next may see larger changes (up or down).
- A potential increase in Property Rates. APEI, like all insurance companies and pools, purchases excess property insurance through a world-wide property insurance market. Several major hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes caused 2017 to be the worst year in history (by far!) for catastrophic property losses, and all insurers are feeling the pinch. We’ve already met with our property excess carriers to start preliminary discussions regarding the 2018 renewal, and will continue to do so throughout the spring. As usual, APEI’s goal is to maintain rate stability as much as possible, while continuing to offer comprehensive coverage to our members.
- Flat or a modest increase in the 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, due to members’ individual loss experience and the vehicles they insure.
It’s never too soon for members to arrange for sprinkler inspections or to start implementing the safety committees and other work that helps to minimize losses. Make sure that your employees are participating in training, and that such training is being documented, so that you’ll qualify for the largest premium credit possible at your renewal this spring.
Winter tends to be our busiest time of year for claims, with many slip and fall claims among employees, and an increased risk of fire due to the use of space heaters and other heat sources. Focusing on loss prevention helps both you as a member, and APEI as a whole, by keeping a healthy workforce and community, and protecting public properties. APEI has some ice-grippers that we will send to members to hand out to employees to help with winter conditions. These are particularly useful for employees who regularly work outside, including public works employees, playground supervisors, or maintenance workers. Call Cole Cummins in our office to request some ice grippers, or for some other ideas on how to step up your focus on safety.