Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 11, 2013

County approves workmen's comp carrier

The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — The Illinois Public Risk Fund will remain Jefferson County’s carrier for workmen’s compensation insurance.

The County Board held a special meeting Tuesday night, during which it voted to award bids for workmen’s compensation and property/casualty insurance.

In unanimous votes, the IPRF was selected as the workmen’s compensation carrier and the Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust was chosen as the new property/casualty carrier.

The IPRF is represented by the Larry Goss Insurance Agency and the ICRMT is represented by the Hall Insurance Group.

The county’s current property/casualty carrier, Travelers, recently decided to “non-renew” the county, stating as its reason the “condition of the courthouse,” said County Board Chairman Robert White.

Prior to the full board meeting Tuesday, the County Services Committee met to open bids or “quotes” from workmen’s compensation and property/casualty carriers. Two bids were received in each category.

For workmen’s compensation, the IPRF submitted a bid of $353,599. The second bidder, ICRMT, submitted a bid of $347,875.

The major reason the county chose to stay with IPRF is because doing so will give the county access to nearly $24,000 in grant funding for safety equipment, White said.

“We get additional funds to pay for safety equipment down at the sheriff’s department, things of that nature,” White said.

During Tuesday’s committee meeting, White also discussed the county’s recent history of workmen’s compensation claims and how the total number of claims is trending down.

In the current year, there have been eight claims and $40,000 has been spent on them. In 2012, there were 14 claims costing a total of $23,431, and in 2011, there were 24 claims costing $470,050.

The downward trend has a lot to do with new safety policies and procedures adopted by the county, White said.

“We hold the office-holders accountable,” White said. “They’re, in turn, starting to hold the employees accountable for a safe work environment.”

For property/casualty insurance, ICRMT had the lowest bid at $291,991. The other bidder was OneBeacon Insurance Company, represented by the Insurance Partnership Agency, which had a quote of $380,385.

In this case, the county selected the lower bid. Another factor was the enhanced services offered by ICRMT, such as coverage for the health department and its handling of medicines, White said.

Jeff Weber, a senior vice president for the Insurance Program Managers Group, was on hand at Tuesday’s meeting representing ICRMT.

He said the carrier insures about 46 counties in Illinois and has been active since 1983.

“We’re the largest insurer of counties in the State of Illinois,” Weber said.