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Trust Matters, February 2018

​From the Claims Corner

The Health Benefits Trust's Naturally Slim Program

Cyber Coverage Now Available

When Citizens Take Video of Law Enforcement

Preparing for Insurance Renewal Season: We're Here with Tips to Help You

From the Claims Corner​

Just over 20 years ago, the RMS Board of Trustees made the decision to bring claims in house from the previous Third Party Administrator, GAB Business Services, Inc. GAB had been the only vendor for the property liability program and the only the second vendor for the workers compensation program.

We hired the staff and created the systems, procedures, manuals and forms to put the operation in place. We feel that we have been very successful over the last 20 years in creating a claim department and that our members would trust. Hopefully we have an excellent record of providing the very best, top-shelf customer service to our members and those taxpayers who present claims against our municipalities.

We have also been fortunate to associate ourselves with the best Independent Legal Defense Counsel, who have done an outstanding job for us. We have won most of the legal battles along the way and have developed an excellent track record of case decisions from our NC Court of Appeals, the NC Supreme Court, and the US 4th Circuit Court of appeals. We have lost a few battles – which is expected and understandable – but we have settled or tried to a verdict the major cases that were brought against our municipalities.

Further, our auditors, actuaries and re-insurance carriers have complimented our claims operation multiple times. It is always good to hear compliments from those able to make that judgment!

We have lost some outstanding persons to retirement over the last few years – they did a great job for us, and we have been able to find equally talented persons to take their place.

Just in the last few weeks, I have made the decision to retire myself and bring to a close a career that I have really enjoyed serving our member municipalities and other municipalities that needed our assistance along the way.

I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to serve you. My bride and I have an almost new RV that has been sitting in a parking lot a great deal for the last few years, and we plan to change that and see a bit of this beautiful nation along the way.

And through succession planning, we have an excellent team in the League's Claims Department that will continue to provide great service to our members.

Thank you for the opportunity!

Steve Lee, Director of Claims


The Health Benefits Trust's Naturally Slim Program​

We wrapped up our second year of the Health Benefits Trust's (HBT) latest Naturally Slim program. This 10-week skill building course is based on new understandings of how “true thins" think about food and how their habits can be implemented into a program that doesn't limit participants. The course is free for HBT medical participants who are 18 and older. The program teaches mindful eating, nutrition, physical activity, and has helped change Metabolic Syndrome for members who have participated.

Since the program first partnered with us in 2016, approximately 200 members have lost a combined  2,400+ pounds! Beginning in the next few weeks is the spring session, which has over 100 members enrolled. The next session available for participant registration will be in September 2018 – we will send postcards to individual members with enrollment instructions in August.

Don't let the fall session pass you by – here's what members are saying:

“Today I start week 5 and my goal of 15 pounds have already been met – YEAYYYYYY."

“Before starting this program I lived for food. I couldn't even walk by food and not get something. I was a candy-holic. Now, I don't sit and think about what I'm going to eat next. I can walk by food and not think I've got to have it. When my co-workers are eating junk and talking about what they want next it doesn't bother me anymore. I don't feel I have to join in. I'm much happier since I have lost some weight. I still want to lose more. And I'm going to. Thanks for helping me take my life back. I felt like food was consuming me. Good luck to everyone. I just want to say one more thing. When you go shopping now all they make is clothes for bigger people. They make it easier to expand. That's what our society is going to. Bigger not smaller. It's like you're encouraged to get big. Thanks again."

“Down over 14 lbs. in 10 weeks! My clothes fit better, and I feel better!"


Cyber Coverage Now Available​

In our tech-savvy world, it seems like every few months we hear of a company that has been hacked or had personal records compromised in some way. Although the impact to a municipality may not be quite as extensive as a large retail chain, it doesn't take long for the expenses to add up. Just think of how many personal financial or health records, social security numbers, or credit card numbers you may have on file for either public citizens or employees. A privacy breach can occur from any number of causes such as lost or stolen computers/media, improper disposal of paper records or computer equipment, vendor or employee negligence, or hacking. Once a breach occurs, you might be legally obligated to notify all those that could be affected. To maintain a positive relationship with the public or your own employees, you will need to respond to the breach as quickly and efficiently as possible.

To give our members some peace of mind about this growing cyber risk exposure, the League's Property and Casualty Trust has partnered with Willis Towers Watson and Beazley to provide all our members with a limited amount of cyber liability coverage automatically through a pool-wide program. Beazley is a leading expert in the field and therefore, has the experience and knowledge needed to give our members quality service when it comes to handling these cyber claims. The program provides a $100,000 sublimit per member subject to any applicable deductible and a 10-hour waiting period. Coverage includes but is not limited to data breach notifications, legal counsel, providing credit file monitoring, forensic investigators, and regulatory defense/penalties. The sublimit per member falls under a pool-wide limit for all members of $2M per claim with a $10M aggregate.

If you would like to look at the cyber coverage documents in detail, they are available on our website in the same place you would view your policy under Property and Casualty Trust Documents, 2017-2018, Cyber Endorsements. Beazley can even provide you with a quote for higher cyber limits. If interested, please contact Kim Rice at


When Citizens Take Video of Law Enforcement​

The topic of police activities and video cameras has become a frequent item of discussion. Many departments have evaluated the pros and cons of body worn cameras and the funding, privacy considerations, policies, procedures, and training that is required to implement a successful program. However, there are other activities during everyday interactions that can result in the actions of an officer being recorded. One such activity involves private citizens who use their cell phones to record their encounter with a police officer. The citizen can be actively engaged with law enforcement or record video as a bystander.

There is a growing trend of individuals who seek out law enforcement to record their activity or to video the exterior of public facilities, such as police departments. Some of these individuals attempt to draw the officer into a verbal, and sometimes physical, confrontation. One of our towns was recently a target of this activity. Fortunately, the officer remained professional and, despite repeated attempts of the citizen to escalate the encounter, de-escalated the interaction with the citizen.

We are expecting more agencies to be targeted based on comments made in the video while it was live streamed to YouTube. While this encounter was handled professionally, there are numerous related encounters nationally and in North Carolina that have resulted in negative encounters and lawsuits.

Under many circumstances, there is nothing to prohibit a citizen from videoing an officer or public facilities, provided the individual is not interfering with an investigation. Departments must have policies and training in place that provide direction for officers to professionally and legally handle these encounters.

The League provides regional training for police departments on this topic. “Dangerous Crossroads Ahead– The Intersection Of The First And Fourth Amendments " is a 4-hour class, taught by police attorney Scott MacLatchie. Our next training date and location will be March 20, 2018 in Elizabeth City, NC, with additional training locations to be identified.


Our risk control department continues to evaluate and expand the law enforcement programs available to members who participate in the workers' compensation and property and casualty insurance pools. Contact Tom Anderson, Public Safety Risk Management Consultant, for additional information on law enforcement resources offered by the League. Tom can be reached by email at or by cell phone at (704) 517-8496.

Preparing for Insurance Renewal Season: We're Here with Tips to Help You​

As 2018 ramps up, the League's Health Benefits Trust is getting ready for renewal season and assisting our members with quotes, plan options and comparisons, and most importantly, answering questions.

We continue to receive questions from groups about self-insuring options, and how they can realize additional savings. Likewise, we have received questions from members about how to know which option is right and how to compare products when it feels like comparing apples to oranges. Below are some tips for determining priorities, comparing options and avoiding common pitfalls of navigating the health insurance marketplace.

Tip #1: Identify all the options available and narrow down from there. Insurance providers and agents should be able to offer you a wide variety of coverage options from which you can choose. Traditional, fully-insured plans, self-funded and third party administrator services, and High Deductible Health Plans with Health Savings Accounts all have coverage options and tiers that can be tailored to suit your needs and achieve your goals. While providers and agents may have favorites or new products that they typically offer, don't feel obligated to entertain only one type of plan or proposal. Just like with other large purchases, there is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all" approach, especially when buying health insurance. If someone pitches a “one-size-fits-all" approach, buyer beware!

Tip #2: When considering self-insuring, take the following into account:

  • Number of covered employees/retirees and dependents. Generally, employers with fewer than 200 employees don't meet the “savings threshold" for self-insuring. 

  • Non-Premium costs. Self-insured groups must safeguard themselves against catastrophic claims costs through stop-loss coverage that is a separate product with premiums and “deductibles" – called an attachment point – of its own. Be sure you understand what you are responsible for before stop-loss coverage kicks in. Generally, the less the stop-loss coverage costs, the more the employer would be responsible for. For example, you may realize some premium savings by raising the stop-loss attachment point from $20,000 to $40,000, but that means you are responsible for the first $40,000 of health care costs for each employee – it's important to do the math and determine if your budget can handle those costs for each covered employee/retiree and dependent. 

  • Goals of self-funding. Be sure to really analyze the specific goals you want to achieve by self-funding. If your goal is to save money, have you compared your current claims experience costs to what those same claims would be under a prospective plan? Does your budget and cash flow allow for fluctuating healthcare costs from month to month? 

  • Understanding of the ins and outs of self-funding. Researching health insurance can be daunting, but it's so important. Talk to other municipalities and professionals you trust. Don't be afraid to ask questions over and over if you don't understand a product. The League is a great resource for information, even if you don't buy insurance from us. First and foremost, we're here to serve municipalities and help you make the decisions that best serve your citizens.

Tip #3: When evaluating health insurance options, identify the criteria that all plans have and compare those items for each option. Every option will have things you can compare even if the plan structure is very different: provider networks, pharmacy networks, employer costs (premiums per person, administrative fees, claims payments), employee costs (deductibles, copays, coinsurance), customer service for administrative staff and employees, etc. Review an example of what an “average" employee would face under each plan, and what you as an employer would face. This doesn't guarantee an exact “apples to apples" comparison for every option, but it will help you understand exactly what they look like side by side.


Tip #4: Set your timeline for making a decision, and start researching early. Make sure you have plenty of time to compare options prior to “crunch time" for your municipal budget cycle, internal review by staff, and any required approvals by council members. Beware of deadlines that are set for you and/or that feel rushed and don't allow you the time to thoroughly vet a decision. There's a reason why “don't submit to high-pressure tactics" appears as a red flag for purchasing almost anything.

At the League, we're here for our members, and we hope that these tips are useful as you begin the process of sorting through quotes and renewals. We are proud to have more than 30 years of experience in the North Carolina municipal health insurance market from which to glean insights that we can share with you.

In short, we're here to make sure you have what you need to make the best decisions for your employees' health insurance. If you have any questions, please contact Julie Hall, the League's Director of Health Programs, at (919) 715-9782 or