2019 Year in Review

2019 Year in Review

The most notable change in 2019 was our new name! On July 1, 2019, VML Insurance Programs became the Virginia Risk Sharing Association.

The new name better represents the diverse membership of the pool, and clarifies that pooling is not insurance but risk sharing. Learn more about our new name here.

Additionally, VRSA updated the pool’s mission statement. The new statement is below:

VRSA’s mission is to provide financial stability through risk management for Virginia political subdivisions, so they can effectively serve their communities. We accomplish this by:
  • Maintaining a strong balance sheet that ensures stable rates and provides protection from unexpected losses;
  • Partnering with members through education, training and consulting to empower them to reduce losses within their organizations;
  • Providing dedicated staff to manage losses with professionalism to ensure the best outcome for members; and
  • Proactively identifying emerging risks and developing programs, services or coverages to address them.
2019 New Staff
VRSA welcomed two new staff members in 2019!
  • Shaun Allen – Fast Track Claims Representative
  • Vinny Gallo – Senior Safety Consultant
2019 Staff Promotions
  • Eddie Shelton – Senior Safety Consultant
  • Cheryl Jenkins – Senior Medical-Only Claims Representative
  • Karen Nuckols – Underwriting Specialist

2019 Professional Designations Earned

  • Thomas Bullock, ARM-E (Enterprise Risk Management)
  • Fonda Craig, ARM (Associates in Risk Management)
  • Nora Pierre, AINS (Associates in General Insurance)
  • Eddie Shelton (Master’s in Safety, Security & Emergency Management with a concentration in Occupational Safety)
  • Kari Soniat, AIDA (Associates in Data Analytics)

Welcome New Members

VRSA welcomed the following new members in 2019:

  • Hampton City Schools
  • Hampton Roads Workforce Council
  • Town of Haymarket
  • King William County
  • Plan RVA
  • Rivanna Solid Waste Authority
  • Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority

Member Services:

  • Member services staff made nearly 600 in-person member visits. Their primary objective is to listen to member needs and build member relationships.
  • Staff attended various conferences including the VML, VACo, and VSBA annual conferences.
  • New in 2019 – VRSA became an associate partner of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) and the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC).

Emerging Risks:

  • VRSA staff stayed focused on identifying emerging risks for public bodies throughout the year. Several areas of interest include:
    • E-scooters: Under the cover of darkness, an emerging risk appears article. Read it here.
    • Dark store theory: Are your revenues at risk? article. Read it here.
    • Autonomous transportation: Seeking answers to an autonomous road ahead article. Read it here.
    • Cyber risks: Should you pay a ransom article, read it here. Breaking down cyber insurance and resources available article, read it here.

    Additionally, these risks were reviewed in a number of member engagements including the 2019 Annual Meeting and a Cyber Roundtable held at the VRSA offices in Glen Allen.

Cyber Risks:

Data breaches – including ransomware and phishing attacks – continued to make unprecedented headlines in 2019. As a result, VRSA staff continued to alert members to known attacks and encourage members to utilize the tools available through YourCISO. Additionally, staff contributed articles on cyber defenses via the VRSA blog and VML Town & City magazine, and presented on cyber liability coverage and social engineering at the VRSA Annual Meeting and the 2019 VML Annual Conference.

If your entity has not yet taken the security health check available through YourCISO, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Access YourCISO here.

Top Blog Posts!

  1. Small town – big accomplishment, read it here.
  2. Is your risk management program stuck in a rut? Read it here.
  3. National Safety Month, read it here.
  4. Should you pay a ransom? Read it here.
  5. Meet Lex, K-9 with the City of Fredericksburg, read it here.

Risk Services:

  • Safety consultants provided 139 webinars or in-person trainings to more than 3,200 member employees. Subjects included: Confined Space Training; Forklift Training; Below 100; Reasonable Suspicion/Emotional Intelligence; Lockout Tagout; Incident Investigation; Hazard Recognition; Workplace Civility; Active Shooter and more.
  • The Risk Management Leadership Blueprint – VRSA Director of Member Services Marcus Hensel, VRSA Local Government Specialist Peter Stephenson, and VRSA Director of Human Resources Tina Stevens presented in Farmville, Marion, Woodstock and Williamsburg on a variety of topics. Hensel presented on public officials and management liability, Stephenson presented on ethical leadership, and Stevens presented on attracting and retaining employees.
  • VRSA safety consultants provided 54 OSHA trainings to more than 860 member employees throughout the state. Training has increased due to Virginia OSHA’s (VOSH) new authority to cite state and local governments with monetary penalties exceeding $126,000 for violations. Classes are designed to assist members in understanding basic OSHA and VOSH requirements, as well as recognizing and eliminating hazards in the workplace.
  • VRSA staff attended a roundtable discussion on enforcing safety in a multi-employee worksite, hosted by the Western Virginia Water Authority. Representatives attended from the Towns of Buchanan and Vinton, the Bedford Regional Water Authority and Roanoke Gas.

HR Services

In 2019, VRSA’s Director of Human Resources Services Tina Stevens conducted 11 webinars with 474 attendees. Subjects included: Auditing Your HR Functions; Supervisor Training: Understanding ADA RequirementsSupervisor Training: Interactions of FMLA, ADA and WC; and more.

Public Safety Services:

  • VRSA partnered with the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police to coordinate the Southwest Chiefs of Police Meeting where issues affecting the region were discussed, as well as emerging criminal justice trends. More than 30 chiefs attended and received presentations on accreditation, leadership, regional policy alignment, training and legislative needs.
  • VRSA partnered with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to sponsor the Defuse and Manage Difficult Situations in K-12 and Higher Education: School and Police Tactics that Work. The training featured Dr. John More, CEO of Response Law LLC and provided a comprehensive look at defining legal roles and authority in the K-12 and higher education setting, while adhering to legal standards. The trainings were held in Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach.
  • VRSA Public Safety Specialist Gary Dillon conducted nearly 30 trainings throughout the state over the past year, including 16 Below 100 trainings and seven focused on Active Shooter. Active Shooter training is designed to provide attendees with actions that could be taken when confronted by an active shooter, and also provides information on potential indicators of workplace violence.

Online Training:

  • More than 12,988 VRSA Online University courses were taken by members in 2019. The top five courses were: 1) Sexual Harassment Prevention for Employees; 2) Defensive Driving; 3) Bloodborne Pathogens for All Employees; 4) Unlawful Harassment Prevention and 5) Fire Prevention.
  • The VRSA Law Enforcement Academy was rebranded as the VRSA Public Safety Academy. The new online learning center features new courses designed for firefighters and emergency medical safety staff, including: Mental health and wellness for firefighters; HIPAA for first responders; Emergency vehicle driving techniques; and more.

2019 Annual Meeting:

  • The Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority was awarded the Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award at the 2019 Annual Meeting. The authority was awarded for working closely with VRSA safety staff to conduct two hazard identification walk-through inspections. The authority then worked quickly to abate any hazards that were identified, resulting in a safer workplace for employees.Additional award winners and more information on the annual meeting is available here.

2019 Fall Workshops:

Four fall workshops were held in Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Williamsburg and Wytheville with more than 160 member staff from 114 member entities.

VRSA grants in the news:

One way VRSA helps our members manage risk, and ultimately reduce their total cost of risk, is through our Risk Management Grant funds. Each year we set aside funds that members may use to support their risk management efforts. The Bedford Fire Department recently purchased an Indeelift Human Floor Lift utilizing grant funds.

Story from the Bedford Bulletin.


Workers’ Compensation Claims Updates:

  • Medical Bill Review Savings: Utilizing bill review services, VRSA saw a net medical review savings of more than $5 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, representing a 6 percent increase compared to the previous year.
  • CompCare On-Call: 3,390 claims were reported through CompCare On-Call, representing 84 percent of workers’ compensation claims reported to VRSA. Savings through injured employees treating with a panel physician rather than an emergency room, or those who choose to treat with self-care is estimated at more than $2.8 million.
  • Pharmacy Management: 85 percent of prescriptions filled this year were for generic drugs. This, combined with network savings, formulary savings and pharmacy rebate savings, totaled more than $766,000 in savings.
  • Physical Therapy Services: VRSA’s net outpatient rehabilitation cost totaled more than $446,000 representing a 51 percent savings from provider charges.
  • AKOS Telemedicine Services: 22 VRSA members utilize telemedicine services, saving $87,830 in medical costs.


VRSA subrogation recovery totaled $1,665,124 for members. Subrogation represents reimbursement to VRSA for incurred costs not owed on behalf of our membership. Subrogation efforts help VRSA maintain financial strength and stable rates. 

Property and Liability Claims Updates:

  • VRSA issued payments of more than $350,000 to the Town of Fries for damages resulting from a pipe burst in a town building.  Water penetrated the ceilings and cascaded down all the way to the ground floor. This building houses the town office and public library, as well as a gymnasium, theater, community banquet hall, locker rooms with shower facilities, and game room.
  • VRSA issued payments of more than $100,000 each on three separate claims involving water and wastewater authorities in a special class of risk covering losses such as failed filtration systems and fire losses to blower units due to lightning strikes.
  • VRSA issued payments of more than $100,000 to the Richmond Ambulance Authority on a loss of a 2016 model ambulance, as well as a payment of nearly $225,000 to the City of Salem on a loss of a 2014 International Truck used in its public works department. Through VRSA’s New Vehicle Replacement Coverage, members were able to fund replacing these much needed vehicles.

Coverage Enhancements

Several policy coverage enhancements were provided to members this year, including:

  • Replacement of broken or chipped windows for members purchasing comprehensive coverage with the deductible waived.
  • Cyber coverage expanded to include limited voluntary shutdown coverage, business interruption and crisis management coverage.
  • Expanded limits available for No-Fault property damage.

Safe Schools Week

VRSA participated in Safe Schools Week in 2019, offering two webinars in addition to videos and risk management tools and tips each day of the week. One video highlighted Prince William County Public Schools’ safety training on motorized partition safety. In 2018, an eight-year-old child was killed in a Virginia elementary school as a motorized partition was being opened.

A new law was enacted after this tragedy preventing any students from being in the room when partitions are being opened or closed, and requiring annual training for anyone operating partitions.

Member Spotlights

A number of VRSA members were highlighted in Member Spotlight videos for their focus on risk management, including the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, NOVA Parks, the City of Lexington and Alexandria City Public Schools.

Information Services:

  • Member Check Register dashboards were added to the VRSA website, allowing members to view their check transaction history. It also allows users to toggle between combinations of characteristics to change or refine check transaction results.
  • Event registration management enhancements were made to the VRSA website to streamline the events registration process and enable members to view and manage registrations for their organization.
  • Electronic provider billing and payments were implemented in compliance with a mandate from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.


Looking forward to 2020, VRSA will celebrate 40 years of providing financial stability through risk management for Virginia political subdivisions, so they can effectively serve their communities!