July 2019 - Issue 89

Annual Board of Directors Meeting

Celebrating Excellence: 2019 Risk Management Awards

West Hollywood Welcomed Back to the Authority

California JPIA Holds Newly Elected Officials Academy 

California City Management Foundation: Excellence In City Management

Sign Up Now - California JPIA 24th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum

Authority Live! Wildfire

California Court of Appeal Rules that a Peace Officer’s Return to a Former Position from Promotional Probation Did Not Trigger POBRA Appeal Rights

National Preparedness Month

Legislative Update

Property Appraisals for Member Property

Recurring Evidence of Coverage Letters


2019 Executive CommitteeNews: Worthy

Annual Board of Directors Meeting

The Annual Board of Directors Meeting was held in La Palma on July 17, 2019 with a quorum of delegates in attendance, representing 68 member agencies.

Curtis Morris, President of the Executive Committee welcomed delegates and shared a brief overview of the Authority’s accomplishments and endeavors.   

President Morris recognized the Authority’s newest member, the City of West Hollywood.  The Authority’s membership is composed of 116 municipal agencies throughout California: 92 cities, 18 joint powers authorities, and 6 special districts.

The Board of Directors elected Curtis Morris as President of the Executive Committee. Marshall Goodman, City of La Palma; Darcy McNaboe, City of Grand Terrace; and Sonny Santa Ines, City of Bellflower were elected as members of the Executive Committee, each serving a two-year term.  

President Morris presented Risk Management Awards to members that demonstrated superior risk management programs as shown by their cost of claims in both the primary liability and workers’ compensation programs.

Chief Executive Officer, Jon Shull, presented an operational overview, and current initiatives of the Authority, with emphasis on continued commitment to the foundational principals of integrity, excellence, innovation, and teamwork.

Chief Financial Officer, Alex Smith, presented an update on the Authority’s captive insurance company, Sequoia Pacific Reinsurance Company.

The meeting was adjourned to July 15, 2020.

Photo caption:  Front row from left to right: Secretary Mary Ann Reiss, Pismo Beach; President Curtis Morris, San Dimas; Vice-President Margaret Finlay, Duarte; Darcy McNaboe, Grand Terrace.
Back row from left to right: Daryl Hofmeyer, Paramount; Tom Chavez, Temple City; Marshall Goodman, La Palma; Sonny Santa Ines, Bellflower; Mark Waronek, Lomita.



News: Worthy

Celebrating Excellence: 2019 Risk Management Awards

This year the California JPIA recognized six of its members for their achievements in risk management. The Authority’s Risk Management Awards Program celebrates member risk management successes while highlighting an important point: as a risk pooling organization, the success of individual member risk management efforts benefits all members. The significant improvements in risk management these members made resulted from dedicated efforts. 

Winners of the 2019 awards were recognized at the Annual Board of Directors meeting held on July 17, 2019. Members were divided into groups for which awards were presented. For the Primary Liability Program, the groups were Non-Municipal Members, Members without Police exposure, and Members with Police exposure. For the Primary Workers’ Compensation Program, the groups were Non-Municipal Members, Members without Public Safety exposure, and Members with Public Safety exposure. 

“I am proud of all of this year’s Risk Management Award winners. It’s a great achievement,” said Jon Shull, Chief Executive Officer of the California JPIA. “These agencies really stepped up in their risk management efforts. While it is important to recognize the accomplishments of our members, the Award also serves as a reminder of how good governance and effective management can benefit all Authority members.”

These awards recognize members that have demonstrated the best overall performance in each program. Authority staff evaluated both quantitative and qualitative factors that are reflective of a member’s risk management efforts. Factors included an agency’s five-year average cost of claims per $100 of payroll, its improvement in claims severity when comparing two, five-year coverage periods, its progress toward completing Loss Control Action Plan items, its Agency Exemplar rating, and its participation in Authority trainings and risk management events.

For the Primary Liability Program, the Best Overall Performance Award winners were:

For non-municipal agencies: Pomona Valley Transit Authority
For municipal agencies without police exposure: City of Ojai
For municipal agencies with police exposure: City of Arroyo Grande

2019 Primary Liability Program Award Winners
Left to Right: Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager; Shannon Esenwein, City of Arroyo Grande; George Sparks and Nora Garcia, Pomona Valley Transit Authority; President, Curtis Morris.

For the Primary Workers’ Compensation Program, the Best Overall Performance Award winners were:

For non-municipal agencies: Coastal Animal Services Authority
For municipal agencies without public safety exposure: City of La Quinta
For municipal agencies with public safety exposure: City of Pismo Beach

2019 Primary WC Program Award Winners
Left to Right: Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager; Robert Radi, City of La Quinta; Jorge Garcia and Mary Ann Reiss, City of Pismo Beach; Kimberly Cholodenko, Coastal Animal Services Authority; President, Curtis Morris.

 


 

News: Worthy03a West Hollywood

West Hollywood Welcomed Back to the Authority

The Authority is pleased to announce that the City of West Hollywood reestablished its membership on July 1, 2019, after a five-year hiatus. West Hollywood began its longstanding relationship with the Authority in 1994, joining the Primary Liability Program and expanding its membership in 2003 to join the Primary Workers’ Compensation Program. As the city’s operations grew in sophistication, the city took its interest in managing its claims to another pool in 2014, as the Authority’s Excess Liability Program and Excess Workers’ Compensation Program had yet to be created. 

Following a comment period by the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee unanimously approved the city’s membership at its meeting on May 26, 2019.  “We’re very pleased to return to California JPIA and take part with more than 100 participating member cities,” said West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo. “The City of West Hollywood has a strong record of fiscal leadership and organizational integrity. We hold ourselves to a high standard and partnering with the California JPIA provides our city with high quality services at an excellent value in meeting our risk and liability responsibilities.” 

The city incorporated on November 29, 1984 and is governed by a five-member city council. Council Member John Heilman is the city's longest-serving council member (having served almost continuously since 1984). “The City of West Hollywood is excited to re-join the California JPIA,” said Heilman, who serves as the delegate to the Authority’s Board of Directors. “Our risk management staff at City Hall are always looking at ways for us to increase safety and reduce liability. We look forward to working closely with other members of the Authority to improve safety and minimize risks for residents, visitors and people working in our city.”

The city’s mission statement includes a commitment to “protect the personal safety of constituents and safeguard the community from the threats of natural, technological, and other man-made hazards.” The Authority’s proactive risk-prevention services will help the city fulfil that promise.

Welcome back, West Hollywood!

Photo: David Wilson, Deputy City Manager; Curtis Morris, President of the Executive Committee; Council Member John Heilman


News: Worthy

California JPIA Holds Newly Elected Officials Academy 

2019 Newly Elected Officials AcademyThe Authority’s Newly Elected Officials Academy was held in June in Laguna Beach with 23 elected officials from 17 member agencies. These newly elected officials were first seated between May 2017 and April 2019, attending the two-day training event that covered the fundamentals of local government.

“The Newly Elected Officials Academy ensures elected officials understand that they play an essential role in leading a unified effort to manage risk within their agencies,” states Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull.

Elected officials were provided an overview of the California JPIA along with educational sessions that covered the fundamentals of local government, the council/board member’s role, and reducing risk for elected officials and public agencies. The sessions delved into the legal, financial, and governmental structure issues for public agencies, the elected official’s role in risk management issues including civil rights violations, street design defects, and lawsuits from personnel, and complex risk management issues such as eroding government immunities, lawsuits from personnel, and dealing with the media. 

“The speakers and information provided were very helpful in explaining the overall role and responsibilities of council members,” noted attendee Kari Leon, council member from the Town of Apple Valley. “The Authority exceeded my expectations!”

Each year, the Authority holds various academies: training events that primarily focus on a specific public sector discipline. Each event is a multi-day training that presents essential theories and techniques to help when working on complex problems facing public agencies.

  • Executive Academy
  • Human Resources Academy
  • Leadership Academy
  • Management Academy
  • Newly Elected Officials Academy
  • Parks and Recreation Academy
  • Public Works Academy
  • Risk Management Academy 

The Executive Academy, Newly Elected Officials Academy, Public Works Academy, and the Risk Management Academy are offered at no cost to members.

More information about Authority’s academies may be found on the Authority’s website or by contacting Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator.

Photo: Scott Grossberg presenting at the Newly Elected Officials Academy


News: Worthy

California City Management Foundation: Excellence In City Management

The California City Management Foundation (CCMF) is the premier advocacy and support organization for city managers. The mission of the California City Management Foundation is to promote and encourage excellence in city management in all of California’s 482 incorporated cities and towns.

CCMF and the California JPIA recognize the city management profession as a challenging mix of fiscal management, politics, legal issues, and public relations. Both organizations are dedicated to supporting the next generation of city managers in navigating these challenges, and advocate for healthy council-manager relations and the well-being of city managers to ensure stable and successful communities. 

These common objectives have reinforced the Authority’s partnership with CCMF as a Foundation Circle Sponsor since 2015. “City managers are diligent, hard-working executives who put city services first,” says Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “The Authority’s support of CCMF helps develop well-informed city managers that support healthy risk management cultures in their organizations.”

"It is always great to have corporate partners like the California JPIA: you already support so many of our members, and you understand the challenges our community faces on a daily basis. We are grateful that you continue to stand with the state's local government leaders in the pursuit of excellence in city management," says Ken Striplin, CCMF President. 

At the 2019 League of California Cities City Managers Conference in San Diego, Shull received the CCMF Corporate Sponsor Award for the Authority’s contribution to the city management profession. Upon presentation of the award, then CCMF President Wade McKinney said, “The California JPIA has been a leader in working with city managers to improve and support the profession. For years, this organization has been more than just insurance support—they truly help build better local governments throughout California.”

The Authority looks forward to continuing its support of the California City Management Foundation.


 

News: Worthy

Sign Up Now - California JPIA 24th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum

2019 RMEFSignin’ up continues for this October’s California JPIA Risk Management Educational Forum.  We put in for some land, and we’ve fix’d things up real pretty for your stay.  We’ve called our gatherin’ “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Risk Management” because, well, there’s plenty of that in these here parts.  

When you get here, don’t be thinkin’ you’ll be all alone.  Every year, nearly 200 employees and public officials from more than 70 Authority members come together to gain insight, information, and guidance from experts and each other.  There will be others ridin’ into town thinkin’ they know a whole lot about risk.  And you know what?  They do!  The Authority posse will make sure of that.

Rest assured we won’t be sittin’ around all day.  There will be plenty of time to play some good ‘ole “You’ve got a snake in your boot” and “Grab the bull by the horns.”  We’ll be in the kitchen cookin’ up plenty of good food, and when night breaks, we’ll be servin’ sarsaparillas until the cows come home.

Mac AndersonSignin’ up fer yer share of vittles, talk'n, lis'nen, and gettin' educated about risk is easy.  There is no registration fee for members of the California JPIA. Registration for non-members is $475 and is limited to public agency officials and employees, and the Authority's business partners.

This year's keynote speaker, Mac Anderson, founder of both Simple Truths and Successories, Inc., is the leader in designing and marketing products for motivation and recognition.  His professional accomplishments provide insight into his passion when speaking about leadership, motivation, and team building.

So saddle up, y’all!  Get ready for “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Risk Management,” the premier educational event bein’ held this October 9-11, 2019, in Indian Wells at the Hyatt Regency.  We promise you’ll be leavin’ town smarter about helpin’ your agency manage risk. 

Sign up today.

For questions, email us at forum@cjpia.


 

News:  Worthy

Authority Live! Wildfire

On August 26, the California JPIA will present the latest installment of Authority Live! focusing on the topic of Wildfire. Authority Live! is a web-based, live event designed for Authority members to become informed on timely and relevant issues

Wildfires have ravaged California the last two year, burning thousands of acres of land and leading to deadly mudslides.  Besides causing widespread devastation, these wildfires may ignite lawsuits against public entities. This event will discuss potential claims arising out of these catastrophic wildfires, including dangerous conditions of public property, nuisance, and inverse condemnation, review applicable defenses, and provide defense strategies and risk management advice.  Additional resources available to members, including the Authority’s new Wildfire white paper, will also be covered.

The guest speakers for event are Kimberly Chin and Mark Hazelwood of Allen, Glaessner, Hazelwood and Werth. These expert attorneys will also be speaking at the Authority’s Risk Management Educational Forum in October. 

The webcast will air at 10:30 a.m. on the 26th. Registration will be launched soon. For more information, please contact Ryan Thomas, Training and Loss Control Specialist.


 

The Court Report

California Court of Appeal Rules that a Peace Officer’s Return to a Former Position from Promotional Probation Did Not Trigger POBRA Appeal Rights

By: Katy A. Suttorp, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

Although quite broad, the scope of personnel actions covered under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (“POBRA”) contains some statutory limits.[1]  At issue in Conger v. County of Los Angeles was the implied carve-out arising under Section 3304(b), which includes “denial of promotion on grounds other than merit” among the types of actions for which an employer must provide an administrative appeal.[2]  As explained further below, the Court of Appeal determined that whether or not an officer meets job-related standards to pass promotional probation is a question of “merit,” and failure to pass promotional probation for merit-based reasons constitutes a “denial of promotion.”  Accordingly, the Court of Appeal ruled that an officer who was returned to his former position from promotional probation was not entitled to an administrative appeal of that decision because it involved a denial of promotion on the grounds of merit.  Applying the same reasoning, the Court of Appeal also ruled that an evaluation documenting the officer’s failure to pass promotional probation for merit-based reasons was not a form of “punitive action” and was not subject to an administrative appeal.

I.          Background and Trial Court Ruling

Thomas Conger was promoted from the rank of sergeant to lieutenant in the LA County Sheriffs’ Department, and began a promotional probationary period.  Five months later, Conger was placed on administrative leave and had his probation extended while the Department investigated an incident involving Conger that occurred prior to his promotion.  The investigation findings sustained misconduct by then-Sergeant Conger involving his failure to report or document a use of force incident and his failure to ensure that his subordinates fulfilled their obligations in that regard.  The Department issued a probationary evaluation documenting these findings and notified Conger that he “does not meet the standards for the position” based on those findings.  The notice recommended that Conger be released from his promotional probation and be “demoted’ to his prior rank of sergeant.

Conger submitted an appeal to the County’s human resources office and a request for hearing to the County’s Civil Service Commission.  After both requests were denied, Conger sought a writ of mandate in the trial court, as well as declaratory judgment and attorney’s fees.  Conger argued that relying on pre-promotional conduct meant that he had been rejected from promotion on grounds “other than merit,” thus entitling him to an administrative appeal under Section 3304(b).

The trial court denied Conger’s petition, determining that the carve-out based on “merit” under Section 3304(b) was not limited to conduct during the promotional probationary period.  In particular, the court noted that the County’s Rules contained a definition of “non-merit factors” which were limited to “a personal or social characteristic or trait [that is] not substantially related to successful performance of the duties of the position.”  The Department had also submitted declarations emphasizing the importance of a lieutenant’s use of good professional judgment and appropriate reporting of incidents.  Overall, the trial court found that “the grounds for denying [Conger] a promotion were clearly merit-based factors substantially related to successful performance of the duties of the [lieutenant] position.” As such, Conger was not entitled to an administrative appeal.

Conger appealed to the Court of Appeal, which examined each of the components of the Section 3304(b) carve-out carefully before affirming the trial court’s judgment.  

II.        Court of Appeal’s Analysis of the Section 3304(b) “Merit-Based” Exception

To begin with, the Court of Appeal determined that the Department’s action was a “denial of promotion” and did not constitute a “demotion,” within the meaning of the POBAR.  The Court relied on a similar ruling in Guinn v. County of San Bernardino[3] and was not persuaded by Conger’s attempt to distinguish Guinn on the grounds that the officer’s poor performance there had occurred during the promotional probationary period, not before.  According to the Court of Appeal, the key consideration in both cases was that “the adverse action took place during a period when promotion was not yet permanent, and the employer was still evaluating whether the officer deserved the higher position.”  The Court noted that such a view was consistent with basic principles of due process, under which a rejected probationary employee, such as Conger, has no Constitutional right to a hearing due to the lack of a vested property interest.[4]

Next, the Court of Appeal considered whether the denial of promotion to Conger was “on grounds other than merit.”  In that regard, the Court of Appeal observed that the type of pre-promotional misconduct at issue bore a direct relation to the requirements of the promotional position:

The ability to comply with department procedures and ensure subordinates follow those procedures is substantially related to successful performance in a supervisory position.  Conger did not demonstrate competence as a supervisor when he failed to report a use of force per Department policy and failed to direct his subordinates to do so.

The Court of Appeal also squarely rejected Conger’s attempt to limit evidence of “merit” to conduct during the probationary period and reasoned that “an officer’s past performance speaks to his or her ‘merit’ as much as his or her performance on probation.”  As such, the Court of Appeal found it irrelevant that Conger had not received any negative evaluations regarding actions he took during the promotional probationary period.  The Court also concluded that the “merit-based” statutory carve out was absolute and would not trigger an appeal right for Conger, “even if the Department deliberately chose to deny his promotion as a substitute for punitive action.”

Finally, the Court of Appeal rejected Conger’s effort to characterize the “negative” probationary evaluation as a separate “punitive action” because it was included in his personnel file and would affect his future employment opportunities.  The Court first considered Conger’s proffered authority in some depth, specifically Hopson v. City of Los Angeles;[5] Caloca v. County of San Diego;[6]  and Otto v. Los Angeles Unified School District.[7]  Ultimately, the Court of Appeal concluded:

To the extent that [those decisions] may be read to suggest that personnel actions that could lead to future denials of promotion on merit grounds are punitive actions under POBRA, we respectfully disagree with them.

Further, unlike each of those decisions, the Court noted that Conger had not produced any evidence that his evaluation would lead to punitive action or affect his future career opportunities.

In concluding its opinion, the Court of Appeal expressly noted arguments by both parties that it had declined to consider because it had found the carve out under Section 3304(b) dispositive regarding Conger’s claims: (1) the County’s alternate argument that Conger was a probationary employee for purposes of his promotional position and so not eligible for administrative appeal under Section 3304(b) on that basis; and (2) Conger’s argument, raised for the first time on appeal, that the Department’s own policies prevented it from considering conduct outside of the probationary period when evaluating a probationary employee.

III.       Recommended Next Steps

Public agencies that employ peace officers or firefighters,[8] or both, should consider reviewing their policies and forms regarding promotional probation and their job descriptions for sworn promotional positions in light of the guidance offered in the Conger decision. However, in identifying potential changes to strengthen future use of the merit-based carve-out, employers should also evaluate any potentially applicable obligations under labor relations laws for decisions related to represented employees’ wages, hours, or working conditions or the effects of those decisions.


[1] See Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 3300 et seq.
[2] 36 Cal.App.5th 262.
[3] (See (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 941, 946-947, citing, Swift v. County of Placer (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 209).
[4] Conger had raised numerous other cases that the Court of Appeal found inapposite, including Henneberque v. City of Culver City (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 250, which had pre-dated exclusion of probationary officers under Section 3304(b).
[5] (1983) Cal.App.3d 347.
[6] (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1209.
[7] (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 985.
[8] Section 3254(b) of the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act contains the same merit-based carve out from “punitive actions” that are subject to administrative appeal.

 


 

Risk Solutions

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, an annual event that provides businesses, communities, families, and individuals an opportunity to revisit and improve efforts to prepare for emergencies. Planning for emergencies is vital and is the key aspect behind the Department of Homeland Security’s 2019 theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How. By taking advantage of available resources, including those offered by the California JPIA, members can prepare in the following ways:

  1. Training: Emergency preparedness, earthquake preparedness, fire prevention, CPR, and first aid training can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. In-class and online training is available by visiting the California JPIA’s training page: https://www.cjpia.org/risk-management/training.

     

    Members should be aware that certain trainings are required to be completed in order to qualify for FEMA funds in the event of a disaster. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers self-paced courses designed for those with emergency management responsibilities, including the general public. All are offered free-of-charge to those who qualify for enrollment. For a complete listing of courses, visit: https://training.fema.gov/is/ 

  2. Inspect for Safety: Inspect agency-owned facilities for emergency-related exposures, including clear evacuation routes, storage practices, securing furniture or other large objects from falling, proper lighting, and emergency supplies. Visit the California JPIA’s online resource library for a variety of useful checklists: https://www.cjpia.org/risk-management/resources-and-documents.

     

  3. Develop Emergency Action and Fire Prevention Plans: Cal/OSHA-compliant programs should be in writing and cover the designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety from all types of emergencies. Elements of the plan include the following:

     

    1. Emergency escape procedures and emergency escape route assignments;
    2. Procedures to be followed by employees who remain in their positions to operate critical operations before they evacuate;
    3. Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation has been completed;
    4. Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are able to perform them;
    5. The preferred means of reporting fires and other emergencies;
    6. Names or regular job titles of persons or departments who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan;
    7. An employee alarm system that complies with Article 165 of Cal/OSHA’s Fire Protection Regulations;
    8. The types of evacuations to be used in emergency circumstances; and
    9. Training

       

      Download templates from the resources and documents section of the California JPIA’s website: https://www.cjpia.org/risk-management/resources-and-documents

  4. Evaluate Applicable Insurance Coverages: Evaluate the agency’s coverage for emergency-related perils. The California JPIA’s property program includes all-risk coverage for real and personal property, with the option of adding earthquake and flood coverage for damages or loss of use due to these perils.

Additional information can be found here: https://www.cjpia.org/protection/coverage-programs/property-program

In addition to what is offered by the California JPIA, various resources are available from the Department of Homeland Security and the California Office of Emergency Services.

If you have any questions or need additional information and/or resources, please contact your agency’s assigned regional Risk Manager.


 

Legislative Update

By Abraham Han, Administrative Analyst

The California State Legislature continues to have a busy legislative session in 2019.  Workers’ compensation remains a perennial issues, but several bills in other areas are also expected to have a significant impact to members.

The Authority regularly provides updates to member agencies and partners to ensure familiarity with the impact of Sacramento’s actions on day-to-day local government operations.  The Authority’s legislative advocacy efforts are regularly coordinated with the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities and the League of California Cities.

As always, please note that bills are subject to amendments and revisions that can significantly change the meaning of them over time.  The Authority will continue to provide updated positions on key bills to members and partners.

AB 218 (Gonzalez). Damages: childhood sexual assault: statute of limitations.

Position: Oppose

Summary: This bill would expand the definition of childhood sexual abuse, which would instead be referred to as childhood sexual assault.  This bill would increase the time limit for commencing an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual assault to 22 years (compared to eight years) from the date the plaintiff turns 18 or within 5 years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by sexual assault, whichever is later.  Further, the re-opening of previously settled cases for three years is concerning.  The bill has not been amended since the last update, and the Authority maintains its “oppose” position. 

AB 749 (Stone). Settlement agreements: restraints in trade. 

Position: Oppose

Summary: This bill would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts a settling party that is an aggrieved person, as defined, from working for the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim or any parents company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer.  The bill would provide that a provision in an agreement entered into, on, or after January 1, 2020, that violates this prohibition is void as a matter of law and against public policy.  This bill would preclude an employer from prohibiting an employee that has engaged in unlawful or egregious conduct, from seeking future employment with the same employer.

AB 932 (Low). Workers’ compensation: off-duty firefighters.

Position: Oppose unless amended

Summary: Multiple organizations, including the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities and the League of California Cities, oppose this bill unless it is amended to include local discretion and a limitation in the types of out-of-state situations that would be covered by the measure.  In its current text, this bill does not acknowledge that the broad application of its provisions would lead to exposure to civil liability and major investigative difficulties by the local governments that employ the firefighters.  Also, there is concern with the retroactive application of the law. 

AB 1107 (Chu). Workers’ compensation.

Position: Oppose

Summary: This bill would preclude the use of utilization review for a serious chronic condition, cases where the employer previously authorized care, and cases where treatment is provided by a medical provider network (MPN) physician.  This bill would eliminate utilization review for workers’ compensation in most circumstances and would likely eliminate the independent medical review (IMR) process.  The bill was recently amended to include a provision for injured workers to pursue penalties for delays in treatment caused by the utilization review process.

AB 1400 (Kamlager-Dove). Employment safety: firefighting equipment: mechanics.

Position: Neutral

Summary: Due to recent amendments, the Authority has changed its position on this bill from “oppose” to “neutral.”  Amendments include narrowing the scope of whom the bill applies (mechanics), as well as shifting the focus from injury compensation to preventative measures for exposure to carcinogenic materials.  The bill had previously been described as “Workers’ compensation: firefighting operations: civilian employees.”

SB 416 (Hueso). Employment: workers’ compensation.

Position: Oppose

Summary: Existing law designates illnesses and conditions that constitute a compensable injury for various employees, such as California Highway Patrol members, firefighters, and certain peace officers.  These injuries include, but are not limited to, hernia, pneumonia, heart trouble, cancer, meningitis, and exposure to biochemical substances, when the illnesses or condition develops or manifests itself during a period when the officer of employee is in service of the employer, as specified.  This bill would significantly expand eligibility for workers’ compensation presumption benefits that are limited in current law only to certain categories of peace officers.

SB 542 (Stern). Workers’ compensation.

Position: Oppose

Summary: This bill would provide that in the case of certain state and local firefighting personnel and peace officers, the term “injury” also includes a mental health condition or mental disability that results in a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or mental health disorder that develops or manifests itself during a period in which the firefighting member or peace officer is in the service of the department or unit.  These provisions would apply to claims for benefits filed or pending on or after January 1, 2017.

The Authority will continue to monitor these bills and others as the legislative session continues.

If you have any questions, please contact Abraham Han, Administrative Analyst.   


 

Coverage Matters

Property Appraisals for Member Property

By Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager

The Property Program relies on reported values of locations, buildings, contents, and other property to negotiate overall premiums paid to reinsurers and excess insurers, as well as allocating annual contributions to members. Since the inception of the program, members have reported values and these values are trended for replacement cost using statistics from Marshall & Swift. Periodically, members will have appraisals performed at their own cost.

An appraisal is the process of evaluating the value of property. Appraisals can be conducted for buildings, property inside buildings, improvements to land such as fences and walls, landscaping, and fine art.

With the current hardening of the property and casualty insurance market, insurance companies and underwriters are becoming more selective in the values they will accept. Desktop appraisal methods and multiple years of value trending depend solely on the accuracy of the data provided at the time a structure is added to the statement of values. These methods can result in inconsistent values and/or the exclusion of structures that exist by are not listed on the current statement of values. 

For the first time, the Authority will be conducting property appraisals on behalf of all members that participate in the property program, inspecting nearly all 5,621 member locations.

To that end, the Authority is moving to a structured property insurance appraisal program beginning July 1, 2019.  A structured property insurance appraisal program provides the following benefits:

  • An independent third-party opinion of value that will be readily accepted by underwriters, due to a lack of self-interest influencing value or cost
  • A consistent approach and methodology to appraisals, as well as pricing sources, will be used for all insured locations
  • Site inspections and value analyses that are efficient and cost effective, with minimal involvement or disruption of local staff, with conclusions being delivered by the contracted date
  • Appraisal reports that will be recognized and approved by brokers and insurance companies

CBIZ Valuation Group (CBIZ) has been retained to manage and conduct the onsite appraisal program. Appraisers will first contact and meet member staff in order to value buildings, contents, and improvements. CBIZ will also collect data critical to analyzing the risk of loss to specific buildings and other property. 

The onsite inspections will begin the week of July 22, 2019 and it is anticipated that the project will be completed by March 1, 2020.

If you have any questions about the Property Program, please contact Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager.


 

Coverage Matters

Recurring Evidence of Coverage Letters

By Jim Thyden, Insured Programs Manager 

The 2019-20 recurring Evidence of Coverage (EOC) webpage is live and ready for members to access EOCs for coverage through June 30, 2020.  Evidence of Coverage, sometimes referred to as a Certificate of Insurance provides documentation of liability and/or workers' compensation coverage, and is commonly issued to third parties, such as individuals, vendors, companies, schools and/or other agencies. 

Members can reissue EOCs for the 2017–2018, 2018–2019, and 2019–20 coverage years. The Authority is encouraging members to carefully review all current EOCs and delete any no longer needed.  Members can revise EOCs immediately, and PDFs will be emailed to the requestor to distribute as necessary to those who require the EOCs.

If you have questions about Evidence of Coverage letters, please contact Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager.