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Trust Matters, August 2018

​​From the Claims Corner

The League Welcomes 42 New Groups to the Health Benefits Trust!

Avoiding an Uninsured Loss

25-Year Law Enforcement Officer Retirement Option

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From th​e Claims Corner​

​Street festivals are activities that make our hometowns special. From Dare Day in Manteo to Murphy's Spring Festival, these events provide great entertainment for municipal residents and visitors alike. Food, activities, crafts, and entertainment draw people from all over into downtown!

Whenever large groups of people congregate, there is the potential for people to fall ill or sustain injuries. For example, a runner could trip and fall during a road race, children could have an awkward fall in a moon bounce or cut fingers while working on crafts, crowds young and old could get food poisoning from a vendor, and countless other possibilities.

Often when there is an injury, the injured party looks to the municipality to be responsible for any medical bills incurred as well as additional compensation. Frequently the municipality bears no responsibility, and in fact there is another entity that is responsible. To ensure that the proper entity is identified, be sure to properly document responsibilities with all vendors and sponsors prior to the event. Keep signed agreements so there will be no dispute as to who is responsible and will respond should a claim be reported.

Street festivals are an important part of a municipality's identity. Be sure you do all you can to ensure the safety of all guests and participants. And most of all, have a great time!

The League Welcomes 42 New Groups to the Health Benefits Trust!

The NC League of Municipalities' Health Benefits Trust is excited to welcome 42 new employer group members for the 2018-19 plan year!

Since 1984, the Health Benefits Trust has been the only member-owned health insurance pool in North Carolina dedicated to municipal employer group health benefits.

We proudly offer employee benefit solutions for:

  • Groups of all sizes, from 1 employee to 1,000+ employees
  •  Fully-insured plans, HDHPs, self-insured plans, and other fully-customizable options in between
  •  League members and other local government entities from Murphy to Manteo


Thank you to our members new and old – We're Here and looking forward to working with you! If you have specific questions about your coverage, claims or anything else, please contact us.

Avoiding an Uninsured Loss

Occasionally a member will discover that they have failed to insure something. Sadly, this discovery is often realized after a loss has occurred. To prevent an uninsured loss, use the following information and checklist:

PROPERTY: The League's Property & Casualty Trust's Real & Personal Property coverage is written on a “blanket" basis but only for items listed on your schedule. It is important to notify us within 30 days when new structures are acquired or being built.

Real & Personal Property has a 30-day grace period for reporting new acquisitions but only for a maximum value of $500,000 – per building and a maximum value of $250,000 for business personal property (contents). New property should be added immediately otherwise you could forget! Also keep in mind- when renovations or additions increase the replacement cost of the structure and the insurance values need to be increased.

EXAMPLES OF STRUCTURES COMMONLY INSURED: buildings and contents of facilities such as the Town Hall, Police Department, Water & Wastewater Treatment Plants, Public Works Buildings, Lift Stations, Water Wells & Pumps, Electrical Substations, Water Towers, Storage Buildings or Equipment Sheds, stationary Generators, Parks & Rec structure(s).

SOME STRUCTURES TOWNS COMMONLY FORGET TO COVER:

______Lift stations or wells – how many do you own? How many are on your schedule?

______Park Structures: Gazebos, Playground Equipment, Park Lights, Dugouts, Scoreboards,

            Picnic Shelters, Concession Stands, Restrooms, Storage Buildings, Ballpark Fencing.

______WTP & WWTP: you must itemize every structure you want insured – not just the main

Structure(s). Generator? Sheds? Tanks? Are any pumps or structures outside the fence?

______Water Towers or Tanks: check your schedule to make sure all of them are listed. Who

owns it? Who is responsible for insuring it?

______Public Works: Main building as well as all the equipment sheds and storage buildings!

______Other: Do you lease property from someone and have agreed by contract to insure it?

Add the location and structures to your schedule.

______Or do you lease or rent out property to others and are responsible for building

coverage?

EQUIPMENT:

EXAMPLES OF MOBILE EQUIPMENT COMMONLY INSURED: Backhoe, Track hoe, Tractor, Boat, Mobile Generator, Sewer Jet or Sewer Camera, Excavator, Motor Grader, Ditch Witch, Fork Lift, Bulldozer, Bush Hog, Speed Detection Trailer, Leaf Vac, Mower, Bobcat, ATV, Golf Cart, Wood Chipper, Police Bicycle, Jaws of Life, Air Compressor, Mosquito Sprayer, Wacker Packer, Guns, Radios, Cameras, Defibrillators, Walkie Talkies, Air Packs, Radar Guns.

Inland Marine coverage has a 30-day grace period for reporting new acquisitions –but only up to $50,000 value and only for items similar to those you currently have insured.

RENTED EQUIPMENT: Occasionally the Town needs to rent or borrow a piece of equipment (backhoe, trencher etc) or a Vehicle (undercover Police car, cherry picker, garbage truck, summer camp bus or van). If the rental agreement says that the Town is responsible for damage to the item during the rental term- send a change request. We can insure the item and issue a Certificate to the Rental Company or the person lending you the item. It is important that you indicate on the change request the date you will take possession of the item and the date you will return it.

VEHICLES: Go over your schedules with your department heads at least once a year. It may be helpful for you to distribute your Property, Equipment & Auto schedules to department heads to verify that they are correct – they should date & sign and return to you, so you can update your renewal schedules.

Auto Physical Damage has a 30-day grace period for reporting new acquisitions – however new vehicles should be added immediately otherwise you could forget!

Our underwriters are available to assist you with a coverage or schedule review should you need assistance. Contact us at underwriting@nclm.org with any questions you have!

25-Year Law Enforcement Officer Retirement Option​

(House Bill 284/Session Law 2018-22)

The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted the 25-Year Law Enforcement Officer Retirement Option. The bill allows local governments to offer separation buyouts to law enforcement officers; the payment of the buyout to be added to the transfer benefit; and law enforcement officers to retire with a reduced benefit before the age of 50 with 25 years of service. The option for employers to pay for separation buyouts for law enforcement officers began on June 22, 2018. The ability to apply for a reduced retirement benefit with 25 years of service as a law enforcement officer does not become effective until July 1, 2019. It is important to understand the recent legislative changes as questions may arise from law enforcement officers.

This legislation allows state and local governments to offer separation buyouts to law enforcement officers who leave employment prior to reaching eligibility for separation allowance. There are two ways that law enforcement officers qualify to receive separation allowance. First, an officer has completed 30 or more years of creditable service, or secondly attained 55 years of age and completed five or more years of creditable service. It addition to meeting the two criteria above, the officer must be younger than 62 years of age and completed at least five years of continuous service as a law enforcement officer immediately preceding a service retirement.

So how is creditable service defined? Creditable service is credit that is allowed under the retirement system of which the officer is a member, provided that at least 50 percent of the service is done as a law enforcement officer. For example, if an employee under the age of 50 is a contributing member of the retirement system in a non-law enforcement officer capacity for 10 years, then becomes a contributing member as a law enforcement officer for 15 years, the officer would be eligible for 25-year retirement option. Generally, this legislation will be most advantageous for those law enforcement officers aged 45-49 as reduced retirement is already available to those over the age of 50.

If the officer chooses to retire with 25 years of service, the municipality has the option to pay separation buyout. The amount cannot exceed what the separation allowance would have been under the existing special separation allowance laws. Employers considering paying buyouts should have a standard internal policy in place before paying out any special separation.

Additionally, if a law enforcement officer under the age of 50 decides to retire early with 25 years of service, the officer's retirement will be reduced. The reduction amount is contingent on several factors defined in the statute. Officers interested in the final reduced retirement amount are encouraged to talk directly with the Local Government Employees Retirement System (LGERS).

Lastly, the legislation allows for employers to pay the buyout directly to the Transfer Benefit. Currently, the Transfer Benefit allows contributing members the ​option to transfer North Carolina 401(k) or North Carolina 475b funds to the retirement system to receive an additional monthly benefit. Under this legislation, the Transfer Benefit now allows qualified law enforcement officers that choose the 25-year retirement, the option to establish a separate lifetime monthly benefit payment with the buyout funds from the employer. 

If you have additional questions about the new legislation, please contact our Human Resources Consultants, Hartwell Wright hwright@NCLM.org  or Heather James hjames@NCLM.org, or you may contact the Local Government Employees Retirement System directly.

 

 

 

 



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