This year, the Town of Ashland was presented the prestigious Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award at the 2018 VML Insurance Programs (VMLIP) Annual Meeting held Friday, May 11 at The Place at Innsbrook.
Additionally, VMLIP presented Poquoson City Schools, the Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority, and the City of Fredericksburg with Risk Management Performance Awards. Ten individuals were presented with individual Risk Management Excellence Awards.
Town of Ashland
The Margaret A. Nichols Risk Management Leadership Award is presented each year to recognize and encourage innovation in risk management by members of the pool. The award is named in honor of Margie Nichols, longtime administrator of VMLIP who passed away in 2002.
“The Town of Ashland is strategically focused on managing their risk,” said VMLIP Director of Member Services, Jeff Cole. “The town has utilized a variety of risk management resources provided by VMLIP including training and grant funding – used to purchase equipment and training to reduce the town’s risk.”
The town boasts an accredited police department, and have also completed the YourCISO security health check to review the town’s security processes objectively.
“Through a mix of initiatives and training, the town has been able to maintain a 23 percent five-year loss ratio for all lines of coverage, and maintains a 100 percent score on the VMLIP Risk Management Guidelines (RMG) assessment.”
Poquoson City Schools
Poquoson City Schools was awarded for participating in risk management programs such as the Where the Rubber Meets the Road (WTRMTR) defensive driving campaign, as well as simulator training. The school system provides videos and information to assist VMLIP staff with claims handling, and maintains a five-year loss ratio of 29 percent.
Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority
“Jail authorities have unique and significant risks associated with them,” said Cole. “The Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority has taken proactive steps toward risk management and have seen positive results.”
They have significantly decreased their workers’ compensation claims by identifying areas for improvement and taking action utilizing VMLIP risk management staff and resources. To reduce injuries from slips, trips, and falls, the authority improved lighting throughout the facility, and utilized VMLIP grants to add reverse cameras on jail vehicles to reduce property losses.
City of Fredericksburg
The City of Fredericksburg hired a full-time safety program manager as a conscious decision to better manage their risk. Since this position was created, the city has earned a 100 percent score on the RMG assessment, and has received the RMG premium credit for five years.
“Their safety committee meets monthly – and is open for all employees to attend and voice their safety concerns, which they are then proactive and innovative about addressing,” said Cole.
As a result of these monthly meetings, the city created a workplace violence response team, conducted weed eater training, and partnered with VDOT to provide snow plow safety training to drivers. They also utilize VMLIP’s partnership with SiteHawk to manage their chemical safety data sheets and help the city comply with VOSH regulations.
Individual Risk Management Excellence Award Winners
Additionally, the following individual were recognized for their personal contributions to risk management.
- Mike Rae, City of Emporia, has only worked as the city’s emergency services and risk management coordinator since last October. However, he has already successfully managed a VOSH inspection and addressed the resulting citations. He successfully passed a training class required by VOSH, which has a 40 percent failure rate, and is spearheading an effort to hire an industrial hygienist for the city to mitigate issues such as air quality and noise exposure.
- Chase Martin, City of Harrisonburg, goes above and beyond to check on injured workers when they are at home recovering from an injury. He is focused on returning them to work and ensuring their wellbeing by providing regular updates to VMLIP so the employee can receive the best possible medical care.
- Don Johnson, City of Salem, provides information to VMLIP about pending claims, often before the information is provided through the nurse triage and reporting service. Not only does he call on all claims, he provides details on what happened, where an employee is treating OR if they are not treating. Because of his diligence, the processing of the city’s claims happens more efficiently.
- Cynthia Burnett, City of Staunton and Staunton City Schools, is on top of all of the claims being filed from the city and the school system – taking an active role in moving them forward and ensuring they are resolved. She works to place injured workers in light duty work whenever possible, and has supported the use of a panel of physicians for the city and helped to maintain a list of doctors that will best serve injured workers.
- Debbie Desjardins, City of Lexington, has been the driving force of the city’s safety committee for the past several years. Debbie has worked diligently to help the city achieve the training goals required by the Where the Rubber Meets the Road Campaign – and ensures the city continuously utilizes VMLIP resources. Over the past few years, 119 city staff have utilized 523 VMLIP Online University courses. She recently coordinated a mock VOSH inspection with VMLIP staff, a Saw Stop demonstration, and an easement and playground inspection.
- Debra Bunting, Poquoson City Schools, works well with VMLIP staff – especially when it comes to investigations. To ensure claims are processed smoothly, Debra includes pictures and video when available with the initial report of accidents, as well as copies of incident investigations. She helps staff reach witnesses and speak with employees involved so that claims can be processed quickly and efficiently.
- John Spivey, Southeastern Public Service Authority, reports claims in a timely manner and even calls ahead to let staff know claims are being prepared. He assists staff with the investigation by providing photos as needed, talking to the injured worker, and visiting the sites to gather whatever information is needed. John knows every inch of every facility, and is pro-active about working with their claims. He goes above and beyond to focus on the claims until injured workers receive their full-duty release, and helps ensure claims move quickly and efficiently for the member, the injured worker, and VMLIP.
- Holly Gailey, Town of Urbanna, has been instrumental in implementing safety and budget savings for the town. She takes advantage of all of the resources and services that VMLIP has to offer to ensure the town is getting the best out of their membership. She is hands-on, and no job is too small or too big for her to handle. She consults VMLIP whenever she has questions regarding a contract or how something could impact the town from a risk management perspective.
- Steve LePock, Virginia Beach Schools, is a risk manager for a school system with more than 68,000 students, 15,000 employees and 752 buses. To help reduce the frequency and severity of liability and at-fault bus liability claims, Steve led the formation of a school bus transportation peer group comprised of six local school systems who meet periodically to share ideas and ways to reduce incidents and risks. Since beginning the peer groups, the frequency of at-fault bus claims from the participating schools is down 29 percent.
- Ioana Kwei-Tagoe, Western Virginia Water Authority, has multiple roles in the organization and is usually the first contact that the claimant will have in the claims process, and she has taken great strides to help educate staff on workers’ compensation claims. In fact, she organized a Workers’ Compensation 101 training for all of their employees – so that if they are injured on the job they understand how the process works and are ready when contacted by VMLIP.