Workman’s comp self-insurance pays off for Portage schools
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent June 13, 2012 8:46PM
Updated: July 15, 2012 3:26PM
PORTAGE — Since becoming self-insured for workman’s compensation claims last year, the Portage Township School Board has significantly reduced its claims costs, according to program administrator JWF Specialty Company of Indianapolis.
The average total number of annual claims for the prior four school years was 68 with an average payout of $11,678 and total annual average payout of $794,135. For the first 10 months of self-insurance, the school district has experienced 39 claims with an average payout of only $4,301 for a total payout of $167,732.
Falls on liquid or ice were the most frequent cause of injury. Fourteen claims for injuries at the bus garage contributed the greatest total cost, $116,857, while 18 claims at the high school contributed $3,392 towards total claims costs.
Prior to becoming self-insured, the school district paid $720,000 in annual premiums and the first $500,000 in claims, for a total of $1.22 million. Since the full year has not been completed, total savings cannot be calculated. Based on claims experience, savings appear appreciable.
The school district has embarked on an aggressive employee safety awareness program that seeks to reduce injuries.
The board considered and deferred for later a request by nonresident school employees to allow their children to attend the Portage schools. Current board policy prohibits nonresidents from attending district schools.
“I think it’s a nice perk for any organization to offer to their employees,” Berta said.
School board president Glenda Owens reflected on the complexity of the issue, “I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I keep getting more questions to ask. It is not an easy answer.”
School board member Cheryl Oprisko asked about the costs to educate each child.
“I can tell you what we get reimbursed, but I don’t think I can tell you what it costs,” Berta said.