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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Making Progress in Going Backwards

“Since March of 2016, four fire service personnel have been killed by emergency response vehicles that were backing up.” That is the first line of new training information and a video from ResponderSafety.com. How many near misses and how much property damage were also the result of emergency vehicles backing up?

U.S. Fire Administrator Keith Bryant writes, “There is no excuse for needlessly increasing the dangers to firefighters by not using recognized safety procedures while backing up. Death and injuries from our own vehicles is tragic and unacceptable. I call on all firefighters and fire department leaders to implement these safety procedures and use them immediately.”

ResponderSafety.com has compelling information on backing procedures available online, including an 11-minute video. The video drives home the need for standardized signals and procedures, including what to do when the driver no longer sees the spotter in the mirror, which happens frequently.

But there is a need to do more than just watch the video. Departments need to have a standardized backing procedure that is reinforced by training and diligent enforcement. It’s about doing it the same way every time, whether backing into the station or up to a drop tank.

Here is link to the article, the video, and also a document of best practices: respondersafety.com/backing.

A big shout out goes to ResonderSafety.com and all the good work they do.

Up next: Fentanyl Exposure Risks—A New “Did You Know?”

Stay safe,
Rob

Monday, January 29, 2018

Mental Health First Aid and “Joe’s Story”

For the past two years, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) has partnered with Fairview Hospitals to sponsor Mental Health First Aid classes. The day-long course is a national curriculum aimed at giving attendees the background and basic skills to assist people in a mental health crisis. The class size is kept small to encourage interaction and discussion—and the instructors from the Fairview staff are great.

The first year we sponsored the classes, we limited enrollment to law enforcement officers. Last year we opened the classes to any city employee, which made for a broader discussion and fostered team building within the city staff.

Eagan Police Officer Joe Moseng attended one of these classes and had the opportunity to use what he learned in one of the sessions shortly thereafter. Click here to watch “Joe’s story” (a powerful 2-minute clip). 

We hope we will be able to sponsor additional classes this fall. The courses have been certified for police officer POST credits and may meet the proposed learning objectives for the new required Crisis Intervention and Mental Illness Crisis training. Watch our website for the class announcements.

Up next: Making Progress in Going Backwards

Stay safe,
Rob

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dividends!

League staff from all over the building
 help stuff dividend envelopes every year.
Cities around Minnesota recently received checks in the mail from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT). In total, the checks represented $6 million in dividends from LMCIT’s recent fiscal year.

The checks represent a couple things. First, they signify a way of doing business where membership is rewarded when losses are below the expected level, and the potential “profits” are returned to members. It’s like being a member in a co-op. The dividends also signify a good year for LMCIT’s property/casualty fund. That is the fund that covers everything from property claims to liability to all the things that happen involving the cars and trucks that are owned by membership cities.

Laura Honeck, the LMCIT operations manager, agreed to answer a few questions about the dividend.

Q. Are you able to attribute the surplus in the property/casualty program to anything in particular?

A. Whether a dividend can be returned is largely based on how well members’ losses ultimately turned out during preceding years. If there’s favorable claim development in recent years, then a larger dividend can be returned. If there’s less favorable claim development in recent years, a smaller dividend can be returned. While LMCIT does its best to estimate and project what members’ loss costs will be, there’s just no guarantee a dividend will always be returned to members because it is impossible to know precisely what losses will occur or cost. Dividend amounts will vary from year to year just as they have in the past. For example, here are the total dividend returns to all members of LMCIT in the last 5 years:

2017 - $6 million
2016 - $25 million
2015 - $16.5 million
2014 - $9.5 million
2013 - $10 million

In 2016, LMCIT could return the largest dividend in its history because of favorable loss development, but it also released some money it had reserved for claims related to the Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). LMCIT received some favorable court decisions on these claims, and therefore could release some of the contingency it had set aside for the uncertain outcome on these claims.

For 2017, the Board of Trustees once again looked at members’ losses (property, police liability, employment liability, and auto physical damage claims were higher than average) and other financial measures, and they determined $6 million could be returned while remaining fiscally responsible to pay members’ future claims and losses.

Q. What was the smallest and largest dividend in this mailing?

A. The smallest dividend check was made out for $7 to a small joint powers alliance. The largest dividend was sent to one of our largest cities, in the amount of $80,837.

Q. How many dividend checks did we send out?

A. A total of 1,192 dividend checks were mailed!

Q. What else would you like us to know?

A. The goal of LMCIT is to manage risk—in other words, uncertainty. While LMCIT can’t always guarantee future dividends, members should be proud of their success in controlling losses during 2017. LMCIT’s hope is that loss development for prior years is better than expected as time goes on, just as it hopes losses for the coming year are better than expected, both of which would potentially allow LMCIT to return larger dividends to members in future years.

Up next: Mental Health First Aid Training Pays Off

Stay safe,
Rob