March 2013 - Issue 13

Risk Management Program Update

Coverage for Railroad Crossings within Quiet Zones

Optional Payment Plans for Retrospective Deposits

Property Insurance Renewal

La Puente Achieves Success with Performance Improvement Plan

Meet Your Risk Management Team

AB 2298: Public Safety Employee Automobile Accidents

Jon Shull

News: Worthy

Risk Management Program Update

by Jonathan Shull, Chief Executive Officer

As early as 2005, staff began looking into ways of working more closely with members in implementing risk management recommendations. These early efforts led to the creation of the California JPIA’s Loss Control Action Plan (LossCAP) program. 

For the past couple of years, the Authority has focused its efforts on reaching out to the members in order to engage them in improving their risk management activities. These efforts have included LossCAP, customized training, greater accessibility to claims staff, and better use of electronic communication and educational tools. To that end, the Authority’s involvement in member operations has continued to evolve.

The Authority’s LossCAP program was built around the idea that the Authority be jointly involved in member operations in order to effect better risk management. As each member has gone through the LossCAP program, the ensuing action plan that has been developed tends to touch on most if not all areas of member operations. The Authority’s risk managers, which have primary responsibility for member management, regularly engage member staff, and routinely schedule onsite meetings in order to update each member’s action plan and work through obstacles and barriers that interfere with completion of the plan.

LossCAP 2.0 saw the creation of a healthy member protocol that was specifically purposed to facilitate the good governance of its members by elevating the importance of risk management in member operations, believing that it can help organizations run better, eliminate costly claims, reduce employee injuries, and provide better services to its constituents.

In desiring to enhance these efforts, the Authority is deploying five regional risk managers that will take the place of the centrally-located risk consultants at the Authority campus in La Palma. These regionally based risk managers will have increased responsibility in caring for the risk needs of members, and will add member training and claims to the traditional risk consulting efforts. Also, the regional risk managers will be positioned to serve as ambassadors for the Authority, and ready to attend needed member meetings, including those involving both executives and elected officials.

In effect, it is intended that the Authority’s risk manager becomes an extension of your organization, and seen as a facilitator and problem solver in managing risk.

Read about the risk management team featured in Pro: Files section of the newsletter.


News: Worthy

Coverage for Railroad Crossings within Quiet Zones

by Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager

In 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration adopted the "Train Horn" rule that required that locomotive horns be sounded at public highway-rail crossings and provided flexibility to localities to silence horns through the establishment of "Quiet Zones." The rule went into effect on June 24, 2005, at which time state and local whistle ban laws were preempted.

In 2007 and 2008 several Authority members began the process of establishing quiet zones, and Authority staff was consulted pertaining to the agreements being drafted to facilitate the construction of the safety enhancements necessary to qualify the crossings for quiet zone designation. Upon the recommendation of Authority staff, members sought alternative insurance and indemnity language from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA). Some of the language was modified, and some was not.

As the Authority became more aware of the quiet zone concept, concerns were raised as to whether implementation of a quiet zone impinged upon the "operation of a railroad" as referenced within Exclusion K of the Memorandum of Liability Coverage (MOLC). As a result of these concerns, Exclusion K was amended in the 2009-10 MOLC to clarify that quiet zones were excluded from coverage as were protected contracts pertaining to quiet zones.

Over the past two years, several members constructed the safety enhancements and readied their crossings to be designated as quiet zones, but some chose not to seek the designation until their liability protection concerns could be addressed.

At its meeting of October 24, 2012, the Executive Committee approved amendments to the MOLC to delete the exclusion for quiet zones. The MOLC was also amended to allow the approval of "Protected Contract" status to indemnity agreements pertaining to railroad crossings up to $2 million per occurrence if pooled within the liability program, and up to reasonable limits if the coverage can be purchased commercially. Staff was directed to explore the possibility of having the Authority purchase the insurance on behalf of the group rather than having the individual member responsible for purchasing it directly.

Pricing indications and terms have been provided as follows: 

Individual Member Purchase:

  • $1 million limit: $20,000 premium per crossing with a $100,000 self-insured retention.
  • $2 million limit: $30,000 premium per crossing with a $100,000 self-insured retention.

Group Purchase by the Authority (for seven crossings):

  • $2 million limit: $65-75,000 premium with a $100,000 self-insured retention.
  • Additional limits are being pursued.

The insurance carrier will not name operating railroads as Additional Insureds, thus, members will retain this exposure if they have agreed to it in a written agreement or contract. However, the carrier will provide coverage for members’ contractual liability to OCTA and SCRRA, excluding indemnification of an operating railroad. This results in a coverage gap for the members, and they will retain the full exposure for their contractual indemnification of an operating railroad.

In years that coverage cannot be purchased for a reasonable amount, the pool will likely retain the risk with the same limits, deductibles, and surcharges.

For more information about the quiet zone coverage, contact Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager at jthyden@cjpia.org.


News: Worthy

Optional Payment Plans for Retrospective Deposits

by Alexander Smith, Finance Director

Retrospective deposits and refunds are cost allocation adjustments to prior coverage periods. Some claims take many years to resolve and over time their estimated value changes. The retrospective adjustments are calculated annually and take into consideration all the changes in claim values that occurred during the most recent year. The outcome of this year’s retrospective computation was added to any outstanding balance that was carried forward from prior retrospective computations. This created new retrospective balances in each program for each member.

Payments on retrospective deposit balances were temporarily deferred between 2010 and 2013, however, in accordance with the Authority’s retrospective deposit payment policy, payments are scheduled to resume beginning July 1, 2013 for the Liability program and July 1, 2015 for the Workers’ Compensation program.

Optional payment plans are available which can extend the payment period up to 6 years. Additional information, including a payment plan calculator, can be found at the following link: http://eoc.cjpia.org/4dcgi/costallocation/retrorepayment.shtml.

Members are encouraged to include this important consideration in planning and budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year. Prior to April 30, 2013 all members with a deposit balance due in the Liability program are requested to notify the Authority regarding their payment option selection. Members can do this by responding to the e-mail survey sent to Finance Directors, Risk Managers, and City Managers on March 19, 2013.

If you have questions or concerns please contact Lam Le, Financial Analyst, at (562) 467-8729 or by e-mail at lle@cjpia.org.


News: Worthy

Property Insurance Renewal

by Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager

The property insurance program includes all-risk coverage for real and personal property, such as buildings, office furniture and equipment, fine art, contractor’s equipment, mobile and unlicensed equipment, all other vehicles, property of others while in your care, custody and control, personal property of others, and buildings under construction (builders’ risk/course of construction).

Optional coverage is available for earthquake and flood, licensed vehicles, and boiler & machinery.

Those members who participate in the property program have the added optional benefit of receiving an annual inspection of buildings that exceed a certain amount, if listed on the member’s property schedule. Members are contacted by an inspector from Alliant Insurance Services, to schedule the inspection. The inspections are intended to evaluate these buildings for fire protection and engineering risk assessments. While the inspections are useful in assisting with employee safety and sometimes included in the Authority’s Risk Management Evaluations, they are primarily geared toward reducing the risk of damage to the buildings themselves.

All participants in the property program are asked to keep their schedules current and to maintain their accuracy. Since property schedules determine member premiums for property coverage, updates should include adding or deleting buildings, equipment, and vehicles acquired/sold since the schedule was last updated. Additionally, a review of the current values listed for both property and vehicle schedules should take place. It is further recommended that buildings be appraised every seven to ten years by a professional appraiser to ensure they are properly valued.

Those members who participate in the boiler & machinery program are offered inspections of certain pressurized vessels. These inspections are mandated by the State of California. Chubb Insurance, the Authority’s boiler & machinery insurance carrier, will conduct these inspections at no cost to the member, and will help identify ways to prevent losses to valuable equipment. Members are contacted directly by Chubb prior to the expiration of a vessel’s certificate.

Rates vary depending on the type of coverage but for all-risk coverage for buildings it is just two cents per $100 of values, which translates to only $200 for a building worth $1,000,000.

All property is insured at "replacement cost" so with only a few exceptions, the property will be repaired or replaced at the current cost rather than "market value" (what it would sell for at an auction or yard sale) .

While the deadline for members to update their property schedules has passed, the schedules can be changed at any time to reflect the current values or to add/delete property. Premiums will be adjusted accordingly.

Members who do not currently participate in the Property Insurance Program can join at any time by contacting Gail White with Alliant Insurance at gwhite@alliant.com.

Complete information about the property program is available on the Authority’s website. If you have questions about the program, please contact Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager, at jthyden@cjpia.org.


Re: Members

La Puente Achieves Success with Performance Improvement Plan

by Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager

In 2010, the California JPIA implemented what is known as the Healthy Members Protocol. Behind the healthy member idea is the fundamental belief that the Authority should be keenly interested in the actions of each member, especially when those activities adversely affect all other members of the pool.

The Executive Committee strongly supported these efforts, and not only suggested that members be responsive to the Authority ’s recommendations, but that the Authority play an active role in supporting healthy members and good governance. Good governance, in the context of member agencies, is about how well these units of government make decisions about matters of public concern, how well they manage and administer their resources--both human and physical--and the degree of importance given to managing risk.

The corollary is members that practice poor governance pose a significant risk to other members of the Authority because of the absence of the very qualities ascribed to good governance. For example, poor employee relations in a member organization reflect on the governance of that agency, and suggest that such practices are more likely to lead to morale concerns, instances of harassment and complaints, and eventually claims against the member. When a member experiencing significant claims or judgments is allowed to go unchecked without intervention from the Authority, all other members of the Authority are forced to unfairly bear the cost of such actions. Upon the Executive Committee ’s approval of any performance improvement plan, the member must formally agree to the performance improvement plan by adopting a resolution by action of its governing body.

In July 2011, the Executive Committee adopted a Performance Improvement Agreement for the City of La Puente. The agreement included a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) which outlined seven standards to be completed by December 31, 2012. The purpose of the plan was to mitigate the risk exposure to the City and the pool caused by the Ci’s poor governance and poor public policy.

Over the past eighteen months the City of La Puente worked diligently to fulfill the obligation of completing all of the plan’s defined standards. Significant improvements were made in the City’s governance at both the legislative level as well as the executive level.

At its meeting in December, the Executive Committee determined that the City of La Puente complied with all of the standards of Performance Improvement Plan and voted unanimously to dissolve the performance improvement plan and restore the City to a member in good standing.

Council Member Vince House and City Manager Bret Plumlee attended the Executive Committee meeting. Curtis Morris, Vice President of the Executive Committee, acknowledged House and Plumlee and expressed the Committee’s sentiments, "The City of La Puente should be very proud of this major milestone and accomplishment." Mayor Dan Holloway commented, "The City Council and staff worked diligently to complete the very important steps that were required by California JPIA to enable the City to be removed from the Plan. This is a proud moment for the City of La Puente."


Pro: Files

Meet Your Risk Management Team

Maria Galvan

Maria Galvan, Risk Manager

"There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens." - Tommy Lasorda, iconic manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers

"I’m the type of ’player’ who makes it happen", says Maria Galvan, one of the newest members of the risk management team and a loyal Dodgers fan (she averages 25 games a season).

Maria joined the California JPIA as Risk Manager in February. She was recently employed as a Management Assistant with the City of La Puente where she was responsible for the city’s risk management efforts including: drafting and implementing policies and procedures, preparing staff agenda reports for the city council, drafting press releases, coordinating training opportunities for city staff, reviewing insurance certificates and coverage agreements, overseeing the city’s special events insurance program, and most important, overseeing the city’s LossCAP program.

Her experience with La Puente (a member agency of the California JPIA) has given her a unique understanding of what members need most from the California JPIA and its risk managers. "I’ve worked in an environment of layoffs, budget constraints, and limited resources. Oftentimes an agency’s risk management decisions have involved making choices or trades because of limited resources and risk management gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. I’m here to help members and be a part of their team."

When the Dodgers are in town, Maria brings her three nieces to Dodger stadium to cheer on the hometown team. Maria also enjoys hiking and outdoor activities including skydiving, white-water rafting, and zip lining (she is a risk manager!). One of her more safe activities is walking her dog, Augie.

Jim Gross

Jim Gross, Risk Manager

Jim recently celebrated his ten-year anniversary with the California JPIA. Having begun his career as a risk manager, as the senior member of the team he has experienced first-hand the growth of the California JPIA membership and the evolution of risk management program.

Jim was a big part of the development and implementation of the Authority’s Risk Management Evaluation process, the LossCAP program, and the Lessons Learned in Litigation program. "When I first began as a risk manager, our focus was to conduct risk management evaluations every two years and then provide members with a list of recommendations. The new service delivery model is about engaging and working alongside members, helping them embrace risk management within their agencies."

Jim has a tremendous sense of pride in being a part of the risk management team and of the California JPIA staff. "There is a methodical approach to what we do at the California JPIA. We are guided by our core values and vision: we will exceed members’ expectations. The regional risk management program is unique--it sets us apart from other risk pools."

He is a subject matter expert on issues relating to contracts, Cal/OSHA, and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). His extraordinary knowledge is a benefit to the risk management team. "As regional risk managers, our focus is to benefit all members of the pool." Jim cites a recent example whereby a federal lawsuit alleged that a member city was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. During discovery, it was learned that the city completed a self-evaluation, developed the transition plan, and appointed a grievance coordinator. Unfortunately, these efforts were not sufficient to defend them from a lawsuit because the city had not completed the transition plan. It is expected that under the new service delivery model, members will be more engaged with the Authority’s risk managers, and they can worked collaboratively to ensure that risk management concerns are properly addressed.

Jim enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He and his wife are recent empty-nesters. Jim laughs, "I thought my new found free time would be spent sailing or on the beach, but my wife keeps me busy with house projects and gardening."

Melaina Francis

Melaina Francis, Risk Manager

Melaina joined the California JPIA in February. Melaina has extraordinary experience with over 18 years in safety and risk management. She was recently employed as a Risk Manager with the Riverside Transit Authority (RTA) and Safety Officer for Long Beach Transit. Melaina directed the risk management program at RTA including managing its liability and workers’ compensation claims, developing and implementing key policies and procedures, and coordinating OSHA training, safety programs, and emergency preparedness for the RTA.

When asked what interested her about joining the California JPIA team, Melaina said, "I was intrigued to assist a variety of public agencies working in a proactive team-driven environment such as the California JPIA. I am energized to utilize my skills and experience to assist members addressing and solving their risk management issues."

The risk managers participated in a two-week "boot camp" to help indoctrinate them to the strategic vision of the risk management program. Having wrapped up the boot camp last week, Melaina commented, "the training to bring the new staff up to speed was intense, however everyone is supportive and patient. I have joined an outstanding group of dedicated professionals."

Over the next two months Melaina will be scheduling visits with members to develop an ongoing communication plan and identify how she can best integrate into their agency. "I want to first work with members to determine current issues and assist with their immediate risk management needs, and to partner with them to work through any outstanding LossCAP items."

Melaina has three children and will be a first-time grandmother in April. She and her fianc* are soccer fanatics. They follow the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team and travel to see them play whenever they can. Go Team USA!

Alex Mellor

Alex Mellor, Risk Manager

Having been hired in December 2012, Alex has the distinction of being the first new risk manager hired to join the risk management team.

Alex has six years of risk management experience specializing in workers’ compensation and ADA/FEHA reasonable accommodation. He was recently employed as a Workability Consultant and Bill Review Manager with RehabWest, Inc. where he was responsible for working with employer representatives to develop Job Function Analyses, facilitating the ADA/FEHA Interactive Process, and analyzing performance data to recommend process and workflow improvements. Alex has worked with a number of California JPIA member agencies in his capacity as Workability Consultant.

"Having worked for a company who partners with the California JPIA, I knew firsthand the reputation and integrity of the California JPIA. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a talented group of people", said Mellor. He agrees with his fellow risk managers on the rigorous boot camp training. "It is good to be a part of an organization that believes in the professional development of its staff."

Alex has met with a number of member agencies in his short tenure. "Members are embracing the new service delivery model. They are beginning to recognize the risk managers as an extension of their agency." Working with members on a broad range of risk management issues is one of the things that Alex finds most interesting about his job. "Members have differing needs. My role is to understand and recognize how best to partner with members and provide solutions."

Alex and his wife are the proud parents of twin 9-month-old boys. Not that he has a lot of free time, but when he does, you can find Alex out on the golf course or working in his woodworking shop.

Joe Eynon

Joe Eynon, Risk Manager

Rounding out the risk management team is Joe Eynon. Joe will soon celebrate eight years with the California JPIA.

Having started his career as a Senior Training Specialist, Joe has established relationships with many members, primarily those members in the central coast whom he affectionately refers to as his "central coast peeps." And the feeling is mutual. Karen Sisko, Human Resources Manager for the City of Arroyo Grande, shared "it is great having Joe back in the field. Joe is responsive and he understands our needs."

Although his role has changed from Senior Training Specialist to Risk Manager, Joe’s philosophy has not changed, "my focus is to serve the members." Joe appreciates the dynamic of the risk management team. "Although we serve members in varying regions, we share the same vision." Joe attributes the cohesiveness of the team to the leadership of the California JPIA, "we hire only the best and most talented individuals. The risk managers have tremendous respect for one another and their areas of expertise."

Being a grandfather of eight grandchildren keeps Joe busy, but sun or no sun, the beach is where you will find Joe most weekends. He is an avid water sportsman; he enjoys snorkeling, diving, and body boarding. He and his wife are active in their church and community and appreciate time spent with their family.


Risk Solutions

AB 2298: Public Safety Employee Automobile Accidents

by Jim Gross, Risk Manager

While the Authority formally opposed the provision of AB 2298 (Solorio), Governor Brown signed it into law on September 30, 2012. What does the passage of AB 2298 mean to employers of public safety officers?

In short, the measure stipulates that in the event of loss or injury that occurs as a result of a vehicle accident, during any period when operated by a police officer or firefighter at the request or direction of their employer in the performance of the employee’s duty, the police officer or firefighter shall not be held liable. Instead, within 10 days of the accident, the public safety officer must report and provide to their private vehicle insurer all documentation and information related to the accident. The employer in these cases will be considered the owner of the vehicle for liability purposes and defense of the claim.

If it is subsequently determined that the employer did not direct or request the employee to use the private passenger motor vehicle when the loss occurred, the employer and employee must provide notice to the insurance company so that the employer may be reimbursed. The involved public safety officer will still look to their private insurer for physical damage coverage for the damage to their personal vehicle.

The Authority’s Vehicle Use Policy template has been modified to reflect the provisions of AB 2298. Members with public safety officer employees are encouraged to update their own vehicle use policies to reflect the provisions of AB 2298, as well. The Authority’s revised Vehicle Use Policy template is available on our website, in the Resource Center, at: https://cjpia.sabanow.net/Saba/Web/Main.

If you have questions about AB 2298 or the Authority’s Vehicle Use Policy, contact your designated risk manager.