Carl Warren & Company Receives Score of 98% on Annual Audit
By Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager
Annually, the Authority conducts an independent, third-party audit of the Authority’s liability claims administered by Carl Warren & Company (Carl Warren). For the past five years, the Authority has utilized the services of Independent Consulting and Risk Management Services (ICRMS).
The most recent audit took place during the period of September 18 – 22, 2017 at the offices of Carl Warren & Company in Tustin. ICRMS brought a team of four individuals including Mark Nestor, President; Jill Lewis, Vice President; Robert Sullivan, Senior Claims Consultant; and Pat Merrill, Senior Claims Consultant. Jill, Robert, and Pat conducted the hands-on claims audit of 100 liability files, including a “re-audit” of 22 files from the 2016 audit for continuity in file handling.
This year the audit focused on litigation management with 73 of the 80 open files audited were litigated with the remainder being “claim only” files. In addition, Mark Nestor conducted interviews of Carl Warren staff members and compiled voluminous documentation regarding claims trends, contracts, best practices, quality control, coverage, and other areas of interest.
The Authority is pleased to advise that the overall, cumulative average score for all criteria was 98%. The key performance areas that were evaluated were: litigation management, file service activity, and reserving practices. The score, coupled with scores in the 90s from prior yearly audits, shows that Carl Warren is handling the Authority’s liability claims at an extremely high level.
In addition to actual claim file review, Mark Nestor provided recommendations on how to make the liability program better from an administrative standpoint. Each year, Authority staff reviews which recommendations from the previous year’s audit have been completed, which were outstanding, and what further recommendations were to be made. Staff and Carl Warren are currently working to integrate these recommendations into the program.
The Authority’s partnership with Carl Warren & Company now moves into its 35th year, and the commitment to provide excellent claims management is at its best.
York Risk Services Group Earns High Marks
By Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager
Each year the Authority measures the claims handling performance of its third-party administrator York Risk Services Group, against performance standards set by the Authority and its auditor.
The Authority engaged the services of Jim Bankson to conduct the annual audit of its workers’ compensation program. Bankson is the president and founder of Northern Claims Management LLC, based in Santa Rosa, California. He has worked extensively with public agency clients and has a comprehensive understanding of the complex workers’ compensation environment in California.
Bankson conducted the audit at York’s Rancho Cucamonga office in August of this year. The audit included a review of a random selection of 125 claims including indemnity, future medical, and medical only claims, with an emphasis on key performance indicators established by the Authority, compliance with California State statutory requirements, and industry best practices.
Bankson presented his findings to the Authority’s Executive Committee at its meeting on October 25, 2017. Bankson reported York received an overall score of 94.63%, a 4.63% increase of the 2016 audit score. He also noted the following findings:
|Key Performance Indicator||Rating|
|Three Point Contacts||82% up from 70%|
|Member Settlement Notification||87% up from 75%|
|File Balancing||96% up from 87%|
|File Balancing Documentation||96% up from 83%|
|Regular Reserve Review||95% up from 78%|
|Future Medical Reserve Review||88% up from 56%|
|Benefit Notices||89% up from 81%|
This marks the eighth consecutive year the Authority’s dedicated team at York has scored 90% or higher on the annual audit.
Congratulations York Risk Service Group! Thank you for your valuable contribution to the success of the California JPIA’s workers’ compensation program.
Risk Management Academy
By Ryan Thomas, Training and Loss Control Specialist
The California JPIA is launching a new, premier academy for those who have primary day-to-day responsibility for risk management. This Risk Management Academy will provide the essential building blocks to develop, establish, and embed a proactive risk management process within your agency. Through sessions and exercises, attendees will develop an understanding of key concepts and learn critical skills necessary to manage risk and influence their organizations to best support a strong safety culture. In addition, participants will learn about the Authority’s tools and resources, and have an immersive experience with their designated regional Risk Manager.
This Academy will take place at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, January 23 – 25, 2018.
What participants will discuss and learn:
- Unique loss exposures of public entities
- Consequences of ineffective risk management
- The purpose of risk management in the public sector
- Technical and behavioral competencies required to manage risk
- Importance of Root Cause Analysis
- Contractual risk transfer and insurance review
- Nuances of claims and loss control
- Importance of investigating claims and preserving evidence
- Review of the most important aspects of workers’ compensation
- Disability management and early return to work
- Authority’s tools and resources
- A practical exercise involving a risk assessment
- Various arenas of risk management
- Skills to achieve consensus and buy-in within the public agency
- How to become a thought leader
Who Can Attend?
The Academy is limited to individuals who have primary day-to-day responsibility for their agency’s risk management.
For further information please contact Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator.
Join Social Media Conversations with the Authority
In order to reach new members and better connect with current members, the Authority has an active presence on social media. Members can find information on various topics on the social media channels listed below.
Connect with our latest topics:
“The Authority recently made a new resource available. Members can now access a white paper on Proposition 64 regarding the ‘Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.’ This new resource provides an overview of the new law as well as measures available to local agencies. Members may access this resource electronically through the ‘Resources and Documents’ section of the Authority’s website under ‘White Papers’ in the drop-down menu.” Like, comment and share:
On January 1, 2017, California Assembly Bill (AB) 2007, known as the Concussion Management in Youth Sports Act went into effect. This bill expanded certain concussion protocols, previously only followed by school districts, private, and charter schools, to youth sports organizations. Follow the link to read more detailed information regarding AB 2007: https://lnkd.in/gQt6qu2.” Follow us, comment and share about risk management:
LinkedIn Discussion Group
“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter (including microscopic amounts) after contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person. San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles counties have declared hepatitis A outbreaks. What steps is your agency taking to reduce the spread of hepatitis A in your workplace?” Join the conversation, or pose a question or idea about risk management and the California JPIA:
“CA Court of Appeal reverses ruling for two LAPD officers who were ‘benched’ after a fatal shooting. The full story: https://tinyurl.com/y977fqjs.” Tweet, retweet and follow the California JPIA:
For information on how to join these sites or participate in discussions, please contact Courtney Morrison, Administrative Analyst, by email or by phone at (562) 467-8779.
New and Updated Features in myJPIA
In 2014 myJPIA was released, thereby providing better access to member information and services. Through it, members can register for training courses, access the Authority’s many helpful resources and documents, report claims, get detailed information about coverage programs, request evidence of coverage letters, and download memoranda of coverage and certificates of coverage.
Recently, the California JPIA released new features that bring about further enhancements.
New and Updated Navigation Options
Menu options have been added for greater convenience. These include adding access to the Educational Forum to the “Training” section and adding a “Claims” section, thereby providing the ability to report a claim and view claim submission history. A new “Convergence” section also provides access to a business calendar containing upcoming events. Lastly, information about Authority staff is included in a new “About” section.
Access Resources and Documents Library
The Authority’s Resources and Documents Library is now even more easily accessible to members. Access the library from the “Risk Management” menu in myJPIA.
Reimbursements for food and snack expenses related to training can now be requested through myJPIA. Along with this, there have been minor changes to how reimbursements are handled:
- Requests can only be submitted by training registrars.
- Reimbursements are only paid to member agencies. Individuals must seek reimbursement from their agency if they made the purchase directly.
- Reimbursements are limited to trainings that have occurred in the past 30 days.
If you have any questions about any of these enhancements or need assistance with other areas of myJPIA, please contact Maria Daniels, Training Assistant.
Effective Screening Procedures for Child-Serving Positions
By Alex Mellor, Risk Manager
Under any circumstance, discussing the existence of child sexual abuse in modern society is difficult. Multiple studies show that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of sexual abuse  . However, experts agree that the incidence of child sexual abuse is much higher, since many episodes of abuse are never reported to authorities.
As providers of recreation activities, day care centers, and other child-serving programs, local government agencies have a responsibility to effectively screen job applicants and volunteers, and to proactively exclude those individuals who harbor inappropriate intentions towards children.
While criminal background checks (including Live Scan fingerprinting) are an important part of the screening process, they should not represent an agency’s only effort to identify would-be abusers. Unfortunately, many abusers have never come into contact with the criminal justice system, making criminal background checks an ineffective tool when used as the sole screening procedure.
According to Abuse Prevention Systems, a Texas organization dedicated to protecting children and those who serve them, agencies should require (and check) work and personal references, as well as utilize an application and interview process designed to expose known risk indicators. These indicators include, among others:
- Unstable work history (short durations/abrupt departures)
- Overeducated for job or position
- Pattern of work or volunteer history around a particular age or gender of child
- References do not know applicant in the context of working with children
- Defensive/angry/evasive responses
- Willing to accept a lesser paying job
As part of the interview, applicants should be asked targeted questions that elicit responses which can be evaluated as high or low risk. These include questions such as Why do you want to work with children? What is your policy concerning re-direction or discipline of children? And, Do you have a preference concerning the age group or gender of children with whom you would like to work?
While this process is designed to allow the agency to identify individuals who should be excluded from working with children, it also allows applicants to “opt out” once it becomes clear that the agency is committed to a comprehensive and targeted screening process.
California JPIA members who provide child-serving programs are strongly encouraged to review their screening procedures for child-serving positions to determine if improvements can be made.
For more information, please visit Abuse Prevention Systems’ website at www.abusepreventionsystems.com or contact your regional Risk Manager. Please note that the California JPIA does not endorse nor have any relationship with Abuse Prevention Systems.
Lexipol Law Enforcement Program
By Abraham Han, Administrative Analyst
California JPIA members with police departments are provided funding by the Authority for participation in Lexipol’s Law Enforcement Policy Manual Update and Daily Training Bulletin subscriptions. The Authority formed a strategic business partnership with Lexipol in January 2009, and this partnership has continued over the years in order to equip the Authority’s members with policies and trainings to keep up with the constantly evolving landscape of law enforcement.
The purpose of the Authority funding these resources on behalf of the member is to reduce liability exposure by providing up-to-date policies with a daily training component. If these two components are consistently maintained, they represent a powerful tool that informs and trains law enforcement personnel how to reduce risk by acting in a sound manner in different scenarios and situations.
The Authority would like to re-emphasize to members participating in Lexipol Law Enforcement that the program’s effectiveness consists of three elements working together:
- Designating an administrator of Lexipol Law Enforcement who is enthusiastic about the program and understands the intricacies of the agency’s policy content. This individual should also be someone who has the authority and knowledge to make program decisions, as well as someone who has the full support of the agency executive in implementing policy manual updates.
- Frequent and consistent implementation of updated policies by the member’s Lexipol program administrator. Otherwise, an agency might fall behind in ensuring that its policy manual is aligned with recent legislation and best practices. Given the rate at which things change, it is more important than ever to stay on top of those changes.
- Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs) completed by all applicable personnel on a daily basis. Application of knowledge is essential. A policy is only as effective as its ability to be trained on and engrained into the actions of law enforcement personnel.
Members who are able to achieve all of the above three elements of the Lexipol Law Enforcement program put themselves in a good position to reduce their exposure to law enforcement liability issues.
For questions regarding the Lexipol program or how to maximize effective use of the program, please contact your assigned regional Risk Manager.
Sign Retroreflectivity Requirements and Proposed FHWA Rulemaking on Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity
By Maria Galvan, Risk Manager
The California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) is published by the State of California, Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and is issued to adopt uniform standards and specifications for all official traffic control devices, in accordance with Section 21400 of the California Vehicle Code. As the Manual states, the purpose of traffic control devices, as well as the principles for their use, is to promote highway safety and efficiency by providing for the orderly movement of all road users on streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel throughout the nation. Furthermore, traffic control devices notify road users of regulations and provide warning and guidance needed for the uniform and efficient operation of all elements of the traffic stream in a manner intended to minimize the occurrences of crashes.
Driving around various cities throughout the state, you may notice that some signs and pavement markings are difficult to see during the day, more so at night. The CA MUTCD addresses signs in Part 2 of the Manual. The functions of signs are to provide regulations, warnings, and guidance information for road users. Section 2A.08 addresses maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of signs. The standard is as follows:
02 Public agencies or officials having jurisdiction shall use an assessment or management method that is designed to maintain sign retroreflectivity at or above the minimum levels in Table 2A-3.
03 Compliance with the Standard in Paragraph 2 is achieved by having a method in place and using the method to maintain the minimum levels established in Table 2A-3. Provided that an assessment or management method is being used, an agency or official having jurisdiction would be in compliance with the Standard in Paragraph 2 even if there are some individual signs that do not meet the minimum retroreflectivity levels at a particular point in time.
04 Except for those signs specifically identified in Paragraph 6, one or more of the following assessment or management methods should be used to maintain sign retroreflectivity:
A. Visual Nighttime Inspection—The retroreflectivity of an existing sign is assessed by a trained sign inspector conducting a visual inspection from a moving vehicle during nighttime conditions. Signs that are visually identified by the inspector to have retroreflectivity below the minimum levels should be replaced.
B. Measured Sign Retroreflectivity—Sign retroreflectivity is measured using a retroreflectometer. Signs with retroreflectivity below the minimum levels should be replaced.
C. Expected Sign Life—When signs are installed, the installation date is labeled or recorded so that the age of a sign is known. The age of the sign is compared to the expected sign life. The expected sign life is based on the experience of sign retroreflectivity degradation in a geographic area compared to the minimum levels. Signs older than the expected life should be replaced.
D. Blanket Replacement—All signs in an area/corridor, or of a given type, should be replaced at specified intervals. This eliminates the need to assess retroreflectivity or track the life of individual signs. The replacement interval is based on the expected sign life, compared to the minimum levels, for the shortest life material used on the affected signs.
E. Control Signs—Replacement of signs in the field is based on the performance of a sample of control signs. The control signs might be a small sample located in a maintenance yard or a sample of signs in the field. The control signs are monitored to determine the end of retroreflective life for the associated signs. All field signs represented by the control sample should be replaced before the retroreflectivity levels of the control sample reach the minimum levels.
F. Other Methods—Other methods developed based on engineering studies can be used.
05 Additional information about these methods is contained in the 2007 Edition of FHWA’s “Maintaining Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity” (see Section 1A.11).
Markings are addressed in Part 3 of the Manual. Currently, Section 3A.03, Maintaining Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity, is reserved for future text based on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rulemaking.
At the moment, there are no federally required minimum levels of retroreflectivity for pavement markings. On April 22, 2010, a standard for maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of longitudinal pavement markings was published as a notice of proposed rulemaking in the federal register. A Supplemental Notice of Proposed Amendment (SNPA) proposes a revised set of standards to be incorporated in the MUTCD. The official version was published in the Federal Register on January 4, 2017, and may be viewed along with all the official supplemental documents at regulations.gov, FHWA-2009-0139. The comment period on the SNPA is noted as due May 4, 2017, at 11:59 PM ET; however, at the time of posting of this article, the comment submission form was still available.
Maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of signs should be incorporated into member agencies Street Inspection and Maintenance Programs. While there are no federally required minimum levels of retroreflectivity for pavement markings, members are advised to also include markings in their inspection and maintenance process. The Authority will notify members when Section 3A.03 of the CA MUTCD is updated based on FHWA rulemaking. If you have any questions, contact your assigned risk manager.