In the News. . .

April 2019

KASB Workers Comp board approves fourth consecutive annual rate decrease

The board of trustees of the KASB Workers Compensation Fund Inc. has approved the fourth consecutive annual decrease in the fund’s rating structure.This year, the decrease will be 8.8 percent.

KASB’s Workers Compensation Fund has three “rating tiers.” All tiers have seen rate reductions over the four-year timeframe with the lowest tier seeing more than a 42 percent reduction.

“Rates are going down, our reserves are strong,” said Rod Spangler, KASB’s Director of Risk Management. “Actuarially and fiscally, this fund is probably as strong as it have ever been,” Spangler added. The board met Saturday to approve the new rates, which will take effect July 1 and apply to all tiers and bands of KASB fund members.

The Workers Compensation Fund was established by KASB in 1987 and currently serves 109 KASB member organizations. The KASB Workers Compensation Fund has 32 years of continuous service. No other carrier in Kansas has that continuous record of service.

The Fund operates solely for the benefit of KASB members and is designed to return favorable operating results to members through reductions in future premium costs and dividends.

Spangler said the reduction in rates allows schools to allocate more resources for student success.

Liz Maisberger-Clark, operations manager of KASB Risk Management, said, “This is a great thing for our members, across the board.”

The Fund is administered by KASB with an in-house claims department, and is governed by a separate Board of Trustees composed of locally-elected board of education members. No eligible member has ever been denied coverage, nor has any member been non-renewed due to excessive losses.

April 2019

KASB offers`insurance with a purpose’

By Leah Fliter, lfliter@kasb.org

What if your school district could protect itself against risk AND give back to public education? KASB’s Risk Management Group products offer precisely that opportunity. 

“We like to call our work ‘insurance with a purpose,’” says Risk Management Group Director Rod Spangler. “Every dollar districts spend on our products goes back out to support student success. No one in this market is in service to education like we are.” 

KASB for decades has offered districts workers’ compensation, property casualty and student accident insurance. With the recent addition of Employee Benefit Solutions, Spangler says the organization has the capacity to cover buildings, staff, students, and employee benefits.  

Employee Benefit Solutions is a full-service, for-profit insurance brokerage firm offering school districts options for health, life, dental and vision insurance coverage, retirement planning products and services, and administration of flexible spending accounts. 

And in contrast to traditional insurance brokerages, the entirety of KASB’s Risk Management and Employee Benefit Solutions profits are dedicated to Kansas public schools.  

“You’re already providing those services to your district,” Spangler says. “Why not do it with KASB Risk Management, where you can put your dollars straight back into service of your students? We’re owned by an association whose primary goal is student success. The revenue from our products supports that mission and makes the organization less dependent on member dues. 

“Corporations are ‘profits first’ in service to their shareholders, and that’s as it should be,” Spangler says. “Their secondary purpose may be marketing, which can include supporting our members through local sponsorships, but are they in service to public education or merely in support of? Our sole purpose is service to public education.” 

Insurance costs are a significant expense that shows no sign of decreasing in the future. And somewhat surprisingly, insurance is not covered by state law that requires districts to bid out expenses that total more than $10,000.  

“There are many risk management choices out there, and districts often feel obligated to use local agencies, but it might be costing you more to stay local,” Spangler said. In fact, a Topeka-area district recently saved $100,000 by moving its risk management business to KASB. Those savings benefit not only that school district but also provide revenue to KASB’s 285 member school districts. 

“Local Main Street folks are vital, and they support our schools,” Spangler says, “but our members have to do due diligence on their overhead costs; they’re held to a higher standard by the taxpayer. Why not do a risk assessment and see if KASB’s Risk Management Group can save money you can put back in to supporting students?” 

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June 2018

KASB Workers Comp Fund shines

With the third rate reduction in three consecutive years, the KASB Workers Compensation Fund continues to be a strong, stable choice for KASB members.

“We remain competitively priced and pride ourselves on sustainability and service,” said Rod Spangler, KASB assistant executive director risk management.

The Workers Compensation Board of Trustees recently approved a general rate reduction, the largest of the three over the last three years. Spangler said that means the Fund is fiscally strong and continuing to meet the needs of its members.

“We see many carriers come in and out of the market,” Spangler said, “but the KASB Workers Compensation Fund is solid and has remained so for 30 years.”

The Fund was created in 1987 by the association to provide KASB members with affordable, reliable insurance. The fund operates solely for the benefit of KASB members and is designed to return favorable operating results to members through
dividends or a reduction in future premium costs. No eligible member has ever been
denied coverage, nor has any member been non-renewed due to excessive losses.

There are many variables that impact the cost of work comp insurance, Spangler said. One trend he sees is an insurance provider that may provide the board a low bid to get the business, then increase the cost after a year or two.

“That’s not how we do business,” Spangler said.

The KASB Work Comp Fund is governed by a separate Board of Trustees composed of locally-elected board of education members. All claims and investigations are done in-house and issues can be addressed directly. All service renewals and decisions are handled locally.

“Price is very important,” Spangler said, “but so is the trust both you as an employer and your staff must have in knowing your carrier is going to be there for both of you.”

When making a decision on work comp insurance, or any insurance for that matter, Spangler suggests boards consider whether the company will deliver the kind of support needed to fully support employees when a claim occurs.

KASB Risk Management Operations Manager Liz Maisberger-Clark has served as the fund administrator for over 15 years. She said the highest point of need for an employee is at the point of injury and before they return to work.

“Both the injured worker and the district require great communication and support during that time, and that’s where your work comp carrier really needs to shine,” she said. “You need someone who will support your injured worker through the entire claim and at the same time help reduce the negative impact to you as the employer.”

Spangler urges KASB members to be cautious when shopping for this kind of service.

“The market is soft right now in Kansas, which means rates are going down,” he said. “That may make it tempting to look for an insurance carrier who promises to save you money, but there is more to this kind of insurance than just price.”
KASB has increased its service and support for all risk management solutions, including workers comp insurance.

“We’ve hired an additional claims adjuster, moved to a web-based claims process and brought online a learning management system for members of the work comp pool to train employees on preventing on-the-job injuries and reduce the number of work comp claims,” he said.

“This makes KASB’s work comp insurance – in almost every case – the best choice,” Spangler said. “We’ve been here for 30 years. The association just celebrated its 100th year of service. That level of consistent service and support is unmatched in Kansas.”

KASB Work Comp Board approves 8 percent rate reduction, dividend payments to members

An 8 percent rate reduction and approval of a plan to issue $300,000 in dividends to Kansas schools are among the decisions recently made by the board of trustees of the KASB Workers Compensation Fund. Inc.

“There is no better evidence of a fiscally strong pool than dividends and rate reductions,” said Rod Spangler, KASB Director of Insurance Services. “These two things just happened with the KASB Work Comp Fund.”

The Fund was established by the school board association in 1987 and currently serves 111 KASB member organizations. The Fund is administered by KASB with an in-house claims department, and is governed by a separate Board of Trustees composed of locally-elected board of education members. No eligible member has ever been denied coverage, nor has any member been non-renewed due to excessive losses. The Fund operates solely for the benefit of KASB members and is designed to return favorable operating results to members through dividends or a reduction in future premium costs.

Based on the health of the insurance pool, the board of trustees approved a rate reduction for all current and new members for the 2016-17 Fund Year and the dividend payment plan for 1989-90 and 1991-92 during its April meeting.

This is the third time in the KASB Work Comp Fund’s history dividends have been authorized. Work Comp Fund members who will receive dividends will be notified in writing in the near future. The amount returned to each qualifying member of the work comp fund is based on the amount of premium paid and the loss ratio on submitted claims.

The current $300,000 dividend plan covers specific members of the fund for 1989-90 and 1991-92 school years.

“The positive side of an insurance pool is the concept of shared risk, cost control and the potential for dividends,” Spangler said. “The negative side, of course, is that with the shared risk comes the potential for additional premium assessments.”

In the 30 year history of the KASB Work Comp Fund, two special assessments were required; one in the 2002-03 school year and another in the 2004-05 school year. However, $775,000 of the special assessment amounts have now been returned to the participating members.

“The fund is financially strong and healthy,” said Spangler. “When you are looking to save money and finding efficiencies, it is not just about renewals.”

Spangler urges school leaders to take advantage of the annual review and renewal process for insurance protection and other risk management products.

“In light of budget constraints facing our members, and the continued efforts to sustain high student success, don’t let these annual renewals come and go without a serious review of your options, your risk, and a potential for real savings that can be put to better use,” Spangler said.

Another focus of the KASB pool is cost containment and loss control. The KASB Work Comp Fund recently launched an online learning management system for members of the work comp fund they can use with their employees to train on how to prevent on-the-job injuries and reduce the number of work comp claims. KASB is looking to use the learning management system to help launch other training programs as well.

Board of KASB Workers Compensation Fund issues another refund to members
The Board of Trustees of the KASB Workers Compensation Fund has issued another refund to its members.

The refund is for a portion of the special contribution collected for the 2004-05 school year. The KASB Workers Compensation Fund is the only insurance pool in Kansas to have issued a refund of supplemental contributions.

In a letter to Fund members, Liz Maisberger-Clark, administrator of the Fund, said, "Let me say that we truly appreciate your continued participation in the Fund. Together we are stronger! And it is the strength of the Fund that allows us to offer competitive rates for workers compensation insurance that specializes in supporting Kansas public schools!"

The Fund was established in 1987 to provide KASB members workers compensation insurance. No eligible member has ever been denied coverage, nor has any member been non-renewed due to excessive losses.

The Fund is administered by KASB with an in-house claims department, and is governed by a separate Board of Trustees composed of locally-elected board of education members.

The board authorized the second refund last year. It issued the initial refund in 2013.

The special contribution from the 2004-05 members of the Fund was based on actuarial forecasts and in consultation with the Kansas Insurance Department. Since that time a number of measures have been adopted. These include quarterly actuarial studies, aggressive claims management to resolve open claims and reduce open reserves, and a renewed emphasis on training and safety to reduce losses. As a result, the KASB Workers Compensation Fund, Inc., offers competitive and stable rates while at the same time issuing a refund for the second time.

KASB Workers Compensation Board Issues Refunds

The KASB Workers Compensation Fund, Inc., Board of Trustees is pleased to announced its decision to provide refunds to the 2004-2005 school year members of the Fund. The amount of the refund is based on a portion of each member’s supplemental contribution collected in 2004-2005.

"This is an unprecedented action,” said Liz Maisberger-Clark, administrator of the KASB Workers Compensation Fund, Inc. “It is a great thing to be able to do for those who were members during that fund year and who paid supplemental contributions into the fund.”

The Board of Trustees took this good faith action during its regular meeting on April 27, 2013, in Topeka. Board members credit a conservative approach that includes quarterly actuarial studies and aggressive claims management for the strong condition of fund reserves. Over the past eight years the Board and staff have worked diligently to resolve open claims and bring down the open reserves.

“Our success in claims management has produced a significant surplus for the 04-05 plan year,” Maisberger-Clark said. “This gives us the opportunity to make this distribution to the 04-05 members.”

The KASB Workers Compensation Fund, Inc. serves KASB members and specializes in public education workers compensation insurance. The Fund was established in 1987 to make sure KASB members have continued access to workers compensation insurance they can count on. The Fund is administered by KASB with an in house claims department, and is governed by a separate Board of Trustees comprised of locally-elected board of education members.

“We offer competitive rates, personalized service and are specialists in school business,” Maisberger-Clark said. “The Fund is in a very healthy position to continue to serve current and future members.”

The first-of-its kind refund will be distributed according to Kansas Insurance Department guidelines. Members of the Fund during the 04-05 school year will receive a letter explaining the refund and a check in the near future.