The VMLIP 2011 – 2012 Annual Report is now available online. The theme of this year’s report is partnership. Inside, in addition to financial information, readers will find information on how Virginia’s local governmental entities joined together in risk management can benefit from more than just low rates and unique coverages. Through pooling, VML Insurance Programs members have access to specialized services, qualified and responsive staff, financial stability, and much more.
Below you will find an excerpt from the report:
As a member of VML Insurance Programs (VMLIP), you are a part of a community, a pool of governmental entities joined together to mitigate risk and self-insure against losses. As a member, you are not only partnering with VMLIP, but with other members of the pool.
Through pooling, members not only purchase insurance coverage but also govern the pool through an elected board of trustees. It is in this way that the pool is better able to quickly respond to member needs and provide comprehensive coverages tailored to meet them.
Because of pooling, VMLIP is able to provide specialized services tailored to meet the unique needs of the smallest or largest governmental entity. Through pooling, members have access to qualified and responsive staff knowledgeable about local government operations.
And through pooling, local governments benefit from financial stability, which has led to consistency in rates from year to year.
For example, in 2011 VMLIP responded to member needs by developing Line of Duty Act (LODA) coverage after the General Assembly moved responsibility for funding LODA obligations to local governments.
“We began looking into providing this coverage for members at the request of the Members Supervisory Board,” said Steve Craig, managing director of VMLIP. “They felt strongly that the pool should develop an alternative to the program being offered by the state.”
Since that time more than 100 members have signed up for VMLIP LODA coverage – an option that would otherwise not be available to members through the commercial insurance market.
Another example of the pool providing for member needs was the provision of $1 million in earthquake coverage to all property and liability members at no additional cost. While some members already purchased earthquake coverage, the majority of members had not – for many reasons, including budgetary constraints or the sense that earthquakes were not a significant risk.
Coverage took effect July 1, 2011. Several weeks later on August 23, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia. The epicenter of the quake was the Town of Louisa.
The earthquake significantly impacted both the Towns of Louisa and Mineral; however, thanks to coverage through VMLIP, their losses were not as severe as they might have been.
In all, 21 members reported losses to VMLIP after the quake, and six of them had not previously purchased earthquake coverage – including the Towns of Louisa and Mineral.
To-date, the pool has incurred losses of more than $640,000 for the quake.
VML Insurance Programs – your partner in risk management.
In-dash cameras have been standard for most law enforcement agencies for many years. However, today body cameras are being touted as the next wave in policing. VMLIP has provided more than 1,750 body cameras to 127 member law enforcement agencies since 2011.
Since that time at least four potential lawsuits have been averted due to the use of the cameras.
“Body cameras are increasingly being utilized by police departments to clear allegations of police misconduct,” said Craig. “Allegations have to be investigated and defended –at a substantial cost – even when they are unfounded.”
In Pearisburg, body cameras provided by VMLIP were used to capture the interactions between an officer and a citizen stopped for speeding and reckless driving. The driver refused to sign a summons, became argumentative and attempted to assault another officer. After being arrested, the driver alleged to the magistrate that the handcuffs had been put on so tightly they caused physical harm.
Body camera footage showed all of the interactions between the officer and the driver from the moment the stop first began. Footage also showed that a finger would fit between the drivers’ wrists and the handcuffs, demonstrating that they were not too tight.
“Once they were informed that the officer was wearing a video camera and that everything had been recorded, they stopped,” says Pearisburg Police Chief Jackie Martin. “We feel very confident about how this will turn out if a suit is filed – this is just the latest event where our body cameras have saved the day.”
In addition to liability mitigation, the Town of Pearisburg is utilizing the cameras in other police work, such as capturing evidence and the condition of suspects when arrests or investigations take place.
Similarly, Captain Randy Stanley of the Coeburn Police Department reports that the cameras provided evidence needed to unfound a use of force complaint.
“After reviewing the officers camera footage, the chief unfounded the complaint and sent the complainant a letter stating as such – we have not been contacted by them since,” says Stanley. “I believe the camera helped us in that case.”
By providing body cameras to member entities, VMLIP has partnered with member law enforcement agencies to mitigate law enforcement liability, protect officers and the public, and save the pool ‘s valuable resources from defending unfounded allegations.
VML Insurance Programs – your partner in risk management.
Fortunately it’s not everyday that a VMLIP member needs disaster recovery services. However when they do VMLIP has it covered. VMLIP has contracted with Agility Recovery Solutions (Agility) to provide business continuity solutions and consulting to members in the event of a manmade or natural event.
After a VMLIP survey revealed that 66 percent of responding members did not have a business continuity plan in place, this was identified as an area in which services could be provided. In addition to providing business continuity services, Agility provides business continuity planning assistance as well.
Luckily Agility services were in place when a Thanksgiving Day fire began in the ceiling of the City of Poquoson’s public works facility. While quickly extinguished, fire damaged one room and water damaged much of the rest. The city began working with Agility to determine what they would need to get back to productivity, whether it be power, computer systems, space, or communications networking.
After determining what resources the city could supply – phone lines, Internet connections, computers from other departments, and the existing sewer line – the city requested a mobile unit from Agility.
Robin Bellamy, accountant with the City of Poquoson, noted that other companies they had contacted estimated a week for delivery. Within 24 hours of requesting the trailer from Agility, it arrived.
The cost of the unit was covered by VMLIP under the city’s Extra Expense Coverage. Nearly a year later the city dedicated a new public works facility constructed with $167,000 received from VMLIP to replace the fire destroyed trailer, and additional funds provided through city council.
“Throughout the recovery and reconstruction process, VML Insurance programs has been a true partner,” said City of Poquoson Mayor E. Eugene Hunt. “From their invaluable assistance to re-establish operations within a few short days, to assisting with the reconstruction of a new modern facility and even with the ribbon cutting, Greg Dickie and staff have been truly exceptional.”
We are partners in risk management.
To read the full version of this article, download the VMLIP 2011 – 2012 Annual Report.
VMLIP offers more than just coverage. We are partners in risk management. How does your insurer stack up? Having all lines of coverage with VMLIP ensures that your organization is receiving comprehensive coverage and a wide variety of value-added services tailored to Virginia’s local governmental entities. Call for a quote today: (800) 963-6800. For more information on VMLIP visit: www.vrsa.us or follow us on Facebook.
** VMLIP blog postings are offered for VMLIP members to utilize in strengthening their risk management efforts. See copyright information for clarification on sharing this information.