September 2012 - Issue 7

California JPIA Awards Eleven Scholarships to Attend the 17th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum

Memorandum of Liability Coverage

California JPIA Members Benefit from Workers’ Compensation Symposium

Management Academy Celebrates 10 Years

Edith Avina, Administrative Assistant

Risk Management Q & A

UPDATE: Who Pays when an Employee is in an Accident in a Personal Vehicle?

Jon Shull

News: Worthy

California JPIA Awards Eleven Scholarships to Attend the 17th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum

by Jonathan Shull, CEO

In last month’s edition of The Authority newsletter, I shared with you the Executive Committee’s support of a scholarship fund to assist members unable to attend the forum due to financial limitations within their agencies. The Executive Committee approved a scholarship fund limited to a cost not to exceed $5,000, and offset through the contributions of sponsors (as are all other activities of the Forum). 

"The Executive Committee has once again waived registration costs to attend the Educational Forum. The scholarship fund to help cover the cost of hotel accommodations further demonstrates the commitment of the Authority as we continue to assist and educate members about loss prevention, loss control, and resource preservation," conveyed Larry Van Nostran, President of the California JPIA.

Members representing over twenty agencies submitted applications for this first-time program. Applicants were asked to complete a simple survey and describe how their agency’s current fiscal and budget restrictions limited their ability to otherwise attend the Risk Management Educational Forum; and how attending the Risk Management Educational Forum would benefit them in their professional and duties? 

The Authority’s Scholarship Committee conducted a "blind review" of the applications received. Those receiving scholarships were deemed to be most deserving based on their stated desire to attend and their otherwise inability to attend the Forum. 

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I am pleased to award scholarships to individuals from the following member agencies:

  • Agoura Hills Calabasas Community Center
  • City of Bishop
  • City of Brawley
  • City of Calexico
  • City of Cudahy
  • Eastern Sierra Transit Authority
  • City of Grover Beach
  • City of Imperial
  • Town of Mammoth Lakes
  • City of Seal Beach
  • City of Seaside

I encourage you to attend the Educational Forum in San Francisco. For more information about the sessions and speakers, or to register for the forum, click here.

News: Worthy

Memorandum of Liability Coverage

by Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager and Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager

The Memorandum of Liability Coverage (MOLC) is a description of the terms and conditions of the Liability Program administered by the Authority and shared by its members. Similar to an insurance policy, the MOLC explains when coverage is afforded, provides key definitions, exclusions to coverage, and the process for coverage denials and appeals, if necessary.  

Throughout the year Authority staff reviews and evaluates claims that are experienced by the membership and presented for coverage.  Staff keeps abreast of trending issues within the insurance and litigation communities in an effort to ensure the MOLC continues to be a fair and up-to-date document.  

On June 27, 2012, the California JPIA Executive Committee approved revisions to the Memorandum of Liability Coverage. The following changes were made to the 2012/2013 MOLC:

  1. Exclusion "A" was amended in two ways:
    • Specific language was included regarding the exclusion of air show events.  These events could be construed as something other than the normal operation of an Airport, thus the additional language will ensure that coverage will be excluded.
    • An exception to the exclusion was added to provide coverage for Public Officials Errors and Omissions.  Staff research discovered that for those members who have airports, the CGL policies that are obtained for those operations do not provide coverage for Errors and Omissions.  Adding the above language will ensure those members are not left with a gap in coverage.  Further, staff feels there is little exposure for this risk.
  2. Exclusion "E" was amended to provide for an exception to the exclusion and provide coverage for damages caused by temporary physical measures taken by the Member to prevent or reduce a loss.  This past year a member had placed K-Rails on city streets to guard against mudflows.  Residents of the community had begun to threaten an inverse condemnation lawsuit due to the presence of the protective measure.  Technically inverse condemnation cases of this sort would be excluded but here, we did not feel it would be fair to penalize a member for taking this proactive approach to preventing future claims.
  3. Section "E" under Conditions was amended to include language designed to reinforce the authority of the Executive Committee to introduce exclusions of coverage, copayments, deductibles and the like for members pursuant to the language in the Healthy Members Protocol.  As a result of this addition, the Authority has introduced its first endorsement in order to clarify the coverage provided to one member.
  4. Section 5 (J) under Conditions and Responsibilities was amended to include language which clarifies that the Authority will provide the funding for a defense during a coverage appeal if 1) the member requests it, 2) the appeal relates to a suit for damages and coverage is being denied based upon the disputed application of an exclusion and 3) should the member refuse the Authority’s offer of interim defense and utilize their own counsel, those legal fees and costs will not be recoverable, regardless of the ultimate decision of the coverage appeal.  This change will give members a legal defense, upon request, while they appeal a coverage denial.

Your agency’s personalized Memorandum of Liability Coverage, Memorandum of Workers’ Compensation and Employer’s Liability Coverage (if applicable), and Certificate(s) of Protection are now available for you online and can be accessed using the following link

Using the drop down menu, select your member agency/organization.  At the bottom of the Evidence of Coverage section, you may select to download the Memorandum of Liability Coverage, Memorandum of Workers’ Compensation and Employer’s Liability Coverage (if applicable), and Certificate(s) of Protection.

Memoranda of Coverage for Authority programs are available for viewing and printing on the Authority’s website under the "Programs" tab, Program summaries for the 2012-2013 coverage period will be updated as revised.

If you have questions about the MOLC, contact your agency’s designated risk consultant.

News: Worthy

California JPIA Members Benefit from Workers’ Compensation Symposium

The California JPIA held its 4th Annual Workers’ Compensation Defense Symposium on August 29, 2012. Fifty-four participants representing 21 agencies attended the Symposium held at the California JPIA campus in La Palma. Additionally, over 40 participants participated via webinar.

Four key sessions were presented at the Symposium. The Interactive Process was presented by Steve Filarsky, Law Offices of Filarsky and Watt. In his session, Filarsky presented an overview of the interactive process and the complex legal requirements for permanent and temporary accommodations. Kelly Trainer with Burke Williams and Sorenson presented Leave Stress: Disability, Workers Compensation, and Leaves of Absence. Trainer’s session provided participants with an understanding of the overlapping – and often confusing – statues when determining eligibility requirements for protection under the Family Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act, and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager with the California JPIA, presented Root Cause Analysis. May shared with participants a brief overview of the Authority’s LossCAP program and the Authority’s plan to roll out a new claims reporting process that captures the underlying cause of preventable claims. 

De Ann Wagner, Unit Manager with York Risk Services, wrapped-up the Symposium with a presentation on Litigation Management. Wagner discussed reasons and strategies in determining whether or not to litigate a workers’ compensation claim, and what to expect from the Authority, York, and the Authority’s workers’ compensation attorneys if a claim is litigated. Wagner emphasized the importance of "participation in the litigation process" between the member, York, Authority staff, and legal counsel.

"We all need help with workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation legislation changes quickly. This was extremely beneficial," said attendee Jan Steffey, Personnel Administrator with the City of Cerritos. "Networking with other human resource professionals and the claims team from York helps strengthen the relationship we have the Authority."

"I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about workers’ compensation and learn about relevant issues from subject experts," added Robin Picken, Administrative Assistant with the Town of Mammoth Lakes. 

"It was interesting to learn about the Root Cause Analysis project," added AJ Gaddis, Human Resources Manager with the City of Imperial. "This will continue to reinforce the importance of the LossCAP Program to member agencies."

Management Academy

News: Worthy

Management Academy Celebrates 10 Years

The California JPIA’s Management Academy: Basics of Effective Supervision was held September 10-12, 2012 in San Luis Obispo. First presented in 2002 at the Fess Parker’s Resort in Santa Barbara, this year marked the 10th anniversary of the Academy. 

"Designed for the entry-level supervisor, the Management Academy continues to emphasize both effective supervision and risk management skills," says Jonathan Shull, CEO of the California JPIA. Shull attended the first Academy and was instrumental in developing its curricula. "Being an effective supervisor can be a difficult journey and even more so in the public sector. It’s trial and error, endless effort, and slowly acquired personal insight. You’re caught in a situation with conflicting expectations from subordinates, your supervisor, peers, and often the public."

The Management Academy provided participants with unique approaches to help improve performance, motivation, and commitment of employees. Forest Story, principal consultant for Public Sector Excellence (PSE), facilitated the three-day Academy exploring topics critical to developing effective management skills including: The Role of the Public Sector Supervisor; Decision Making; Orientation, Training, Coaching, and Delegation; Performance Appraisal and Dealing with Performance Issues; and Public Service Ethics.

Presented by John Perry, President of Human Productivity Systems, the Job-Person-Environment Assessment™ tool, presented attendees with the opportunity to explore their perceptions about the behavioral requirements of their jobs, their behavior patterns, and their perceptions about their work environment. 

Risk Management Program Manager, Bob May, presented a session entitled Contracts Administration. Participants learned how to identify exposures, require proper insurance limits, and adequately enforce contracts. Norm Lefmann, Assistant Executive Officer with the California JPIA, presented a session entitled Healthy Member Protocol. Participants learned what they can do to support the health of their agency and also understand what they can do as a manager to support best risk management practices.

Thirty-four participants representing 24 member agencies attended the Management Academy. "This should be provided to all government employees", said first-time attendee, Paul Christman, Building Official with the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. "The Job Person Environment Assessment was very informative – it was interesting to learn about my management style," raved Tony Brandyberry, Public Works Superintendent with the City of Los Alamitos. 

More information about the academies and training workshops offered by the California JPIA can be found at the Resource Center

Edith Avina

Pro: Files

Edith Avina, Administrative Assistant

As Administrative Assistant for the Member Services Department, Edith Avina’s career path has continued to evolve at the California JPIA. Supporting the Member Services Department and Assistant Executive Officer Norm Lefmann, Avina’s responsibilities have broadened the past two years. "With the evolution of the Resource Center and LossCAP programs, my role has become that of a ‘generalist’ providing support to various work-divisions including risk management, claims, and training." 

Avina recently celebrated her 10th anniversary with the California JPIA. "Everyone at the California JPIA and all of our members, are fantastic to work with. The people and a positive work environment are most important to me. My work contributes to the success of the organization. I continually feel valued and appreciated." 

Avina is active, as with the rest of the California JPIA team, preparing for the upcoming Risk Management Educational Forum in San Francisco. "The Educational Forum is a great opportunity for staff to connect with members. Our Forum is unique – most attendees are from member agencies and our speakers are often defense panel attorneys or strategic partners with the Authority – we truly know everyone who attends the Forum."

"I love the diversity of my job. It fits well with my personality," reflects Avina, who began her career in the customer service industry. Avina’s life doesn’t slow down away from work. She is a busy mother of three children. Avina laughs, "My life can get hectic, but I love nothing more than spending time with my husband and family." 

Risk Management Solutions

Risk Management Q & A

by Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager

Q: Are Emergency Action Plans (EAP) required?

A: The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or manmade and include the following:

  • Earthquakes,
  • Floods,
  • Hurricanes,
  • Tornadoes,
  • Fires,
  • Toxic gas releases,
  • Chemical spills,
  • Radiological accidents,
  • Explosions,
  • Civil disturbances, and
  • Workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma.

Cal/OSHA recognizes the value of having an EAP. Not having one can result in loss of life, livelihood, and even fines from Cal/OSHA. Cal/OSHA warned employers in its August 2011 edition of the Flash Report:

"Employers are required to have a written Emergency Action Plan. Failure to have a written plan can result in a fine under Cal/OSHA’s General Safety Order Title 8, Section 3220. The recent disasters in our country only support the need for local government to be prepared."

Cal/OSHA defines the following minimum elements that should be included in an EAP. The regulations also require employers to establish an employee alarm system that will provide warning for necessary emergency action as called for in the emergency action plan, or for reaction time for safe escape of employees from the workplace or the immediate work area, or both.

  • Emergency escape procedures and routes;
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain need to do shut down before evacuation;
  • Procedure to account for employees after evacuation;
  • Rescue and medical duties;
  • Preferred means for reporting fire and other emergencies;
  • Names or regular job titles of persons who can answer questions regarding the plan.

Cal/OSHA also requires and EAP include elements to ensure the Plan is tested; changes to the Plan are reviewed with employees; and established procedures to review the EAP annually.

Not all EAPs are alike. Employer action plans should be written based on an assessment of specific work situations and operations. For example, if employees are required to evacuate from a work location, where should they meet in the event of an emergency and to whom do they report? How do public agencies manage visitors to public facilities during an emergency response? That said, employers with multiple worksites and facilities may require facility-specific Emergency Action Plans.

To ensure worker safety, it is recommended that an Emergency Action Plan include aspects of the Incident Command System. The Incident Command System is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that is designed to ensure appropriate command and control is established during an emergency.

The Authority has an Emergency Action Plan template available to members located in the Resource Center. Members can also contact their assigned risk consultant with questions about Emergency Action Plans. 

Risk Management Solutions

UPDATE: Who Pays when an Employee is in an Accident in a Personal Vehicle?

by Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager

In the June, 2012 edition of The Authority newsletter, the Authority provided guidance for members when employees use their personal vehicles for agency business. 

In addition to the issues discussed in the article, members should be aware that some personal automobile liability policies exclude coverage when they are used in the course and scope of employment.  Members will need to consider whether to require proof of insurance for employees who use their personal vehicles for agency business and, if so, whether to require proof that the insurance does not exclude coverage when they are used in the course and scope of employment.

For more information, contact your agency’s assigned risk consultant.