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 Trust Matters, February 2017 

Health Benefits Trust Offers More than Insurance

The Insurance Renewal Period is Upon Us

From the Claims Corner: Evidence Retention in Your Police Department

NHTSA-Reviewing Ford Explorer Exhaust Concerns

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Health Benefits Trust Offers More than Insurance

As renewal season approaches, we want to share with you how the League’s Health Benefits Trust works to live up to our promise of being more than insurance. We care about our members and their employees, and we work with you as a partner to improve your employees’ health and wellness and improve your medical claims trends. By helping employees be healthier, the Health Benefits Trust helps employers save money and keep costs down.

The Health Benefits Trust has a wellness program built into our coverage that encourages preventative healthcare and wellness screenings by using financial disincentives. The program asks employees to receive an annual physical, age-appropriate cancer screenings, and if selected, participate in a Personal Care Management program; employees who do not meet these wellness program standards, face a payroll deducted 10% surcharge.  We have seen phenomenal participation – a whopping 95% of employees participate – which has led to many success stories of early detection, prevention of chronic illness and more. It works because wellness is easy in our program, there are no age or frequency limitations and all wellness visits and services are paid at 100%. 

The League’s Health Benefit Trust has additional programs to support employees’ health and wellness.  Naturally Slim is a 10-week online course that runs twice a year; our members have lost more than 1,500 lbs. collectively during the very first year.  Naturally Slim is provided to participants for free and has a very high success rate helping our members conquer obesity and diseases that cause metabolic syndrome. 

We’re also excited to be offering a new smoking cessation program for the upcoming plan year called TrestleTree. This is a holistic approach to quit smoking that is free to your employees and their covered dependents. TrestleTree is a 6-month life coaching program that tackles the underlying reasons that keep a person smoking – the program has a 52% success rate, which is well above the industry standard.

Finally, we will continue to offer our Wellness Grants that allow groups in the medical program to apply for up to $10,000 annually for onsite wellness initiatives. Now is the time to begin or renew your coverage with the League’s Health Benefits Trust. Contact your League Member Service Representative for a quote today!

The Insurance Renewal Period is Upon Us

It’s that time of year again – time to receive and review your insurance coverage with the League. We want to make sure that the renewal process is easy and seamless and our members know what to expect.

Both Property and Liability and Workers’ Compensation renewal applications will be mailed out by the end of March.

In order for us to provide the most accurate and timely renewal quote possible, consider the following application tips and suggestions:

  • Contact Information: your city or town’s insurance contact person and information will be listed on the first page. Please be sure this contact information is up-to-date – this person will receive all the future insurance correspondence and will be your city or town’s authorized reviewer for insurance documents online.
  • Property and Liability: your renewal packet will include a complete listing of vehicles, equipment and property currently insured. Carefully review this list to make sure newly purchased property and/or recently sold or eliminated properties are accurately reflected. Having an accurate listing ultimately saves you money – you won’t pay premiums on property you no longer own and you avoid costly uninsured losses mistakenly left off the policy. Remember, when you purchase new property, let us know within 30 days to make sure it’s covered. We recommend distributing the current listing to department heads to verify any changes as needed, sign and date them, and return. Even if no changes are made to the schedules, please return the listing with your renewal packet indicating no changes are needed.
  • Workers’ Compensation: your workers’ compensation renewal application will include an estimated premium report that reflects adjusted payrolls based on your 2015-2016 audit. Please adjust any payroll amounts so the estimated payrolls reflect your budget accurately. Also, please let us know if you decide to add or delete a municipal operation/service. We are happy to help with any questions regarding payroll inclusions or employee classification codes.  
  • Submission Process: because we need enough time to process renewal applications and report exposures to our reinsurers, we ask that you please return your renewal application by the second week of May. Any renewal applications received after June 1 will be subject to a late fee. Additionally, renewal information must be finalized in a timely manner to ensure the claims system is updated and ready to pay claims in the new program year.  

Thank you for the opportunity to continue providing insurance coverage and support to your municipality! We look forward to working with you, and please contact the League’s underwriting staff with your questions or concerns at (919) 715-4000. 

From the Claims Corner: Evidence Retention in Your Police Department

Over the last few years, the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission (the Commission) has released four men from death row who had been convicted and imprisoned for 27, 29, 31 and 31 years each for murder. In each of these cases, the Commission received permission from the Court to reevaluate evidence from the cases – evidence boxes that had disappeared from evidence rooms some 10-20 years prior and subsequently found. The Commission was able to use the rediscovered evidence to set each of the men free, earning them declarations of evidence and pardons from the Governor of North Carolina.

In each of the cases, the Commission started their search for the missing evidence with the local police department. And in each city and town, the police department staff thought all the evidence had been turned in, or was being kept by either their county’s sheriff’s department or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The evidence had been processed more than 27 years prior for the most recent conviction, and during that time, personnel had changed, evidence was not well-labeled or even misplaced. In one case, a Superior Court Judge was clearing out an old deed vault at the old courthouse and found evidence boxes – the local police department didn’t even know they existed.

It’s hard to imagine these kinds of mistakes happening, but they did. That’s why it’s extremely important, regardless of the size of your police department, that all evidence be very clearly labeled and cataloged, and a clear chain of custody record be kept. Evidence should be kept in a secure, locked, controlled-entry environment, and access should be limited to only two people with the key or combination. All evidence should be maintained in this secure environment until the sentence and parole of the criminal has expired.

Evidence security and access should always be verified through random audits, especially for those cases involving money, drugs, weapons and all capital cases.  Personnel changes will occur by reassignment, loss of personnel, retirements, or other circumstances, but having procedure in place to transfer access and responsibility is crucial to maintaining the security and integrity of evidence.

NHTSA Reviewing Ford Explorer Exhaust Concerns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reviewing a preliminary evaluation of the 2011 to 2015 Ford Explorer related to consumer complaints of exhaust and other odors entering the passenger compartment of the vehicle. While a recall has not been issued, Ford did implement service bulletins in 2012 (TSB12-12-4) and 2014 (TSB 14-0130) that attempted to address the problem when the vehicle was in for repairs.

Our NC League of Municipalities staff spoke directly with NHTSA about this issue on February 14, 2017, and we were informed that Preliminary Evaluation PE16-008 was opened last year by NHTSA and is currently still under investigation. Complaints indicate that operating the vehicle with full throttle applications (climbing steep grades or merging onto freeway ramps) or use of the air conditioning system in recirculation mode contribute to exhaust gas being detected in the vehicle.

Many of our member cities and towns use these vehicles for various municipal operations, particularly in police departments. If your employees report these exhaust odor problems, please take the affected vehicle(s) to your local dealership. NHTSA requests that any complaints associated with the exhaust be reported to their website at www.safercar.gov.

For more information, please contact Tom Anderson at (704) 517-8496 or tanderson@nlm.org