Workers’ compensation coverage for Crawford County would increase by more than 75 percent if commissioners choose to renew with the current provider, MAC Trust. The commission received a memo on premium billing for 2013 at their November 27 meeting with details about the proposed increase in cost.
The information from the Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) Workers’ Compensation Trust noted that 2013 premium rates are up an average of 6.4 percent overall due to increased claim cost projected by the trust actuary. But, premium credits and surcharges for individual members were based on their individual loss ratios for the time period between December 31, 2008 and June 30, 2012.
According to the memo, Crawford County’s 2013 workers’ compensation renewal cost increased by 75.4 percent to $125,422 compared to the $71,515 charged for 2012 for several reasons, including a small increase in the county’s experience mod, and the overall 6.4 percent increase, but the main factor was the county’s incurred losses.
MAC Trust reported an increase in loss ratio for the county from 52.6 percent to 133.2 percent for the three and a half year period described above. Incurred losses for that period totaled $241,546 for the period. During that time, the county paid $241,782 in premiums, but after taking out the 25 percent allotted for administrative costs, that left only $181,337 to pay the claims. Therefore, MAC Trust expects to pay $1.33 in losses for every dollar of premium available to pay for those.
The county’s loss run for the time period used to calculate the increase was included with the memo. Of the $241,546 in total losses, $92,667 came from health department employees, $84,370 was from road and bridge personnel, $57,089 involved sheriff’s department staff, $5,127 from clerical employees, and $2,294 from an elected official.
The health department claims were for two employees, one of whom had two claims totaling $71,204. Road and bridge crew claims came from six different employees. Of those, one employee has had three separate claims totaling $58,609. In the sheriff’s department, three employees claimed injuries. Two of the three filed two smaller claims each, but one employee had a $46,390 claim.
At the meeting, commissioners expressed concern about the increase in claims. “We used to be horrible,” District #2 Commissioner John Hewkin said. “We were paying a ridiculous amount. We were getting to be almost uninsurable there for a while, but then it got better for a while.”
Presiding Commissioner Leo Sanders pointed out that several of the claims were pretty substantial and all three were disappointed that some employees were recurring claimants.
“I should keep my mouth shut,” District #1 Commissioner Richard Martin said, but then added, “That’s pathetic, isn’t it?” Sanders agreed.
Both Martin and Hewkin agreed they wouldn’t want to have an employee that was repeatedly on the loss report. “I’d somehow get a lid on that in the future,” Martin said. “Maybe start a near miss program. After so many, they become a liability. I would think you become accident prone.” He pointed out that the county had been warned that increasing losses would result in an increase in premium costs. “Most every place has (a near miss program), where if it’s a repeat situation, you become a liability. If you don’t (implement such a program), you won’t be able to afford your work comp.”
Sanders proposed such a program could be part of the new personnel policy manual the commission has been looking into, but noted they’d have to check with the county attorney on details. Hewkin also expressed concern that employees might not report injuries if they felt it could be detrimental to them.
To address the cost involved in the premiums, commissioners agreed to seek bids to be due on December 27. The information from MAC Trust noted that, if the county determines not to renew their coverage with them, it will have to wait three years to reapply.