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Safety Library and Videos Now Available for All
In January, State Fund California launched a new online safety publication library on our website, statefundca.com. The library is comprised of many of industry-leading safety publications from our existing print catalog, and also includes some of our video productions, which are available for streaming online, on our new YouTube channel.
Now, State Fund safety information and safety videos are accessible to all California employers and the general public for easy access, viewing, and/or download 24/7. Everyone â€“ whether they are insured with us or not â€“ can directly download and print any of the materials and view our safety videos online. Both the safety videos and our safety publications cover general worksite safety topics, and also safety concerns for specific industries such as construction, agricultural and manufacturing.
Thousands of Backlogged Lien Cases Resolved in Record Time
Open State Fund lien cases are significantly fewer now, thanks to a huge effort by more than 500 employees throughout the organization late last year. Their work supported efforts to resolve a staggering number of liens â€“ nearly 6,000, which represented $20 million in demanded payments.
Late in 2012, the California Department of Industrial Relations issued new regulations to reduce the lien backlog by allowing lien claims to be dismissed for lack of action. This prompted lien claimants to file a flurry of requests for lien conferences. Workersâ€™ Comp Appeals Board courts in Southern California set two weeks of â€ślien-intensiveâ€ť hearings in October to address the volume.
State Fund California stepped up to meet the challenge and made a commitment to resolve as many of our lien cases as possible, in keeping with our values and role as an industry leader. During that two-week period, thousands of liens on State Fund claims were resolved, dismissed, continued or handled through other action. The original amount demanded by claimants was negotiated down from $20 million to approximately $6 million, saving the company $14 million.
Pinnacol begins search for new CEO
Pinnacol began searching for a new CEO in January. Board Vice President and Interim CEO John Plotkin is leading the search effort and hopes to have a candidate identified by April 30, 2013.
Pinnacol develops physician training program focusing on opioids
In partnership with the Colorado School of Public Health, Pinnacol developed an online physician training program focused on increasing physician understanding of opioids. This training program was recently endorsed by the Colorado Medical Society (CMS) and COPIC, a medical malpractice insurance provider. According to Pinnacol Medical Director Ed Leary, â€śWe are pleased that the Colorado Medical Society and COPIC have endorsed this important opioid abuse program. In February 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase in opioid overdose deaths for 11 years in a row, and the support of the CMS and COPIC will be crucial to fighting this epidemic in our state.â€ť The training program focuses on safe prescribing practices and intervention strategies to prevent health risks associated with these drugs. Since its launch in October 2012, more than 300 Colorado physicians have completed the training.
Pinnacol hosts 4th annual Bilingual Conference on Construction Safety
In January, Pinnacol hosted its fourth annual Bilingual Conference on Construction Safety in Denver, CO. There were 197 attendees (80 who were Spanish-speaking). The conference course featured the OSHA 10-Hour Construction Safety and Health course, which was offered in both English and Spanish. All of the attendees received their OSHA 10-hour card after completing the course. Other conference courses included fall protection, electrical safety and trenching.
2012 Pinnacol in Action program cites 93% employee volunteerism
The 2012 results for Pinnacolâ€™s employee volunteer program, Pinnacol in Action, were released in the first quarter of 2013. Last year, 93 percent of Pinnacol employees volunteered in the community, enabling PiA to reach a new milestone for the total number of volunteer hours logged â€“ 6,595. Expansive community involvement is an important part of Pinnacolâ€™s business strategy, and PiA is the key way the company supports that outcome.
KEMI Joins in Sponsoring National Summit on Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse
KEMI is proud to announce a sponsorship of the 2013 National Rx Drug Abuse Summit. The event will focus on ways we can Make an Impact in the fight against prescription drug abuse. The Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state and federal agencies, business, academia, clinicians, treatment providers, counselors, educators, state and national leaders and advocates impacted by Rx drug abuse. To learn more about this event or to register, please visit nationalrxdrugabusesummit.org.
LWCC Board Declares Largest Dividend Ever
The Board of Directors of Louisiana Workersâ€™ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) has declared a 2012 dividend of $48.7 million, the companyâ€™s largest dividend ever. It will be paid to qualifying policyholders in March and April, bringing LWCCâ€™s cumulative total dividend paid to policyholders over the past 10 years to more than $231 million. LWCCâ€™s previous dividend, for the year 2011, totaled $23.5 million. Prior to 2012, the largest dividend paid by the company had been $45.5 million in 2007.More than 16,000 policyholders will receive a portion of the new dividend. Individual dividend awards are based on a calculation that takes into account policyholdersâ€™ premium and longevity with LWCC over the last five years.
â€śPolicyholders are the reason our company exists, and we look forward to presenting them with this significant dividend,â€ť said LWCC President and CEO Kristin W. Wall. â€śBecause of LWCCâ€™s continuing strength and stability, we are able to show our gratitude to the many Louisiana businesses we insure.â€ť
LWCC Chairman Donald T. â€śBoysieâ€ť Bollinger added, â€śLWCCâ€™s substantial dividend for 2012 clearly reflects the companyâ€™s outstanding financial performance during the year. We are pleased to reward our policyholders for their loyalty and commitment to LWCC by paying them a dividend.â€ť
LWCC Promotes Executives Buffone and Hawie
|Paul Buffone||John Hawie|
LWCC has announced the promotions of two key executives. Paul Buffone is now Senior Vice President and Chief Claims and Information Officer, and John Hawie, CFA, is Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Investment Officer.
Buffone started with LWCC in 1993 as a law clerk. He later held various attorney positions for the company before becoming Senior Corporate Counsel. Buffone was named Director of Litigation Services in 2001. He was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Risk Management Services in 2006, then to Vice President of Risk Management Services in 2008, then to Senior Vice President of Risk Management Services in 2010. Buffone received a B.S. degree in quantitative business analysis from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from LSUâ€™s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
Hawie joined LWCC in 2009 as Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. He was previously Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for Commerce Group in Webster, Mass., and prior to that served as Team Leader/Portfolio Manager for General Re-New England Asset Management in Farmington, Conn. Hawie earned his B.A. degree, with concentrations in finance and philosophy, from Emory University in Atlanta. He received his MBA degree, with a concentration in finance, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, then four years later attained his Chartered Financial Analysts degree.
MEMIC Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Announces Expansion to Florida
The MEMIC Group has announced that it will open its first office in Florida in the second quarter of 2013. President and CEO John T. Leonard said the companyâ€™s plan to actively market its workersâ€™ compensation product in Florida is an important step in the companyâ€™s growth down the Atlantic Seaboard. This announcement came amidst the companywide celebration of MEMICâ€™s 20th year since its incorporation on January 1, 1993.
Coming directly on the heels of sweeping workersâ€™ compensation system reform in the state of Maine, MEMIC formed to ensure that Maineâ€™s employers could provide workerâ€™s compensation insurance for their employees. From the very beginning MEMICâ€™s focus has been on the safety of workers and on reducing the costs of workersâ€™ compensation insurance through education and safety awareness.
Guided by nine original incorporators, MEMIC hit the ground running in 1993, issuing nearly 23,000 policies in its first two months in business.
Created through the workersâ€™ compensation reform proposed by Governor John McKernan and the four-member blue-ribbon commission, MEMIC was the answer to Maineâ€™s workersâ€™ compensation crisis. President and CEO John Leonard had this to say about the continued success and growth of the MEMIC Group: â€śWeâ€™ve enjoyed strong growth as we have developed relationships with a few of the top agencies in the states we have entered. These partners understand the value that we can bring to their customers and that has powered our growth.â€ť
Senior Management Promotions Announced
|Matthew Harmon||Daniel Smith||Troy McLain||Jared Payton|
Matthew Harmon and Daniel Smith, of MEMICâ€™s Claim Department, were promoted to Assistant Vice President of Claim Operations.
Harmon has more than 16 years of service at MEMIC, and worked most recently as Director of MEMIC Claim Operations. In his new role as Assistant Vice President, Harmon will oversee the day-to-day operations of the MEMIC Indemnity Claim Department in all jurisdictions outside of Maine.
Smith started his career at MEMIC in 1994, working as a Claim Handler, Hearing Representative, Unit Manager, and, most recently, as Director. In his new position he will oversee the day-to-day operations of the companyâ€™s Claim Department in Maine.
The MEMIC Group has also announced the promotions of Troy McLain to Manager of Maine Advocate Operations, and of Jared Payton to National Director of Ancillary Services. McLain has been at MEMIC since 1997, serving as a Hearing Representative. In 1999 he was promoted to Employer Advocate in which capacity he litigated hundreds of workersâ€™ compensation claims on behalf of employers throughout Maine. He would later become the Team Leader of MEMICâ€™s Advocate Department, sharing his ample litigation experience. In his role as Manager of Maine Advocate Operations, McLain will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of MEMICâ€™s staff of insurance defense attorneys, as well as maintaining his own caseload of litigation files.
Payton has been with MEMIC since 1996 in progressive roles, most recently as the Director of Claim Operations, overseeing MEMICâ€™s Maine claim operation. In his new role as the National Director of Ancillary Services, Payton will oversee the activities and development of the Employer Advocates and Special Investigators across all State Jurisdictions.
4th Annual Maryland Workplace Wellness Symposium
IWIF will present the fourth annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium on June 7, 2013 in Baltimore. This event is free
to all Maryland employers who are interested in learning how to develop employee wellness programs using best practices. It will feature national, regional and local health and wellness experts who will
provide the latest information on:
This yearâ€™s event is expected to attract more than 450 attendees.
Dr. William Smulyan, leading orthopedic surgeon, joins IWIF
|Dr. William Smulyan|
Dr. William Smulyan recently joined IWIF as the companyâ€™s new Medical Advisor. Dr. Smulyan will review and evaluate the appropriateness of medical treatments prescribed to IWIF claimants. Dr. Smulyan, who has more than 44 years of medical experience, attended the University of Maryland Medical School and is board certified in orthopedic surgery. He has been serving on IWIFâ€™s Physicians Advisory Council for several years and was part of IWIFâ€™s Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) network. Welcome aboard, Dr. Smulyan.
IWIF presents Maryland Workersâ€™ Comp Rx Drug Abuse Summit
To help raise awareness about prescription drug abuse in workersâ€™ compensation, IWIF presented the Maryland Workersâ€™ Comp Prescription Drug Abuse Summit on April 12, 2013. Expert medical, prescription and pain management professionals addressed key issues, including:
Maryland to host 2014 AASCIF Conference at National Harbor
Maryland is proud to host the 2014 Annual AASCIF Conference at National Harbor near Washington, DC on August 10-14. Attendees will discover DCâ€™s inspiring monuments, hip shops and restaurants, world-famous museums, historic sites and charming neighborhoods. National Harbor, which is just south of DC, is a waterfront resort destination set along the banks of the Potomac River and overlooks Old Town Alexandria and Mt. Vernon. You will hear exciting details during the 2013 Conference in Austin, TX. Stay tuned!
Montana (Montana State Fund)
Montana State Fundâ€™s Young Workersâ€™ Website Wins National Award
NoJack.net, Montana State Fundâ€™s young workersâ€™ safety website, received the Workers' Rights Award as part of the U.S. Department of Labor Worker Safety and Health App Challenge. Montana State Fund was one of four winners that submitted tools which best demonstrated the importance of recognizing and preventing workplace safety and health hazards, and which help young people understand their rights in the workplace. Submissions were designed for internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones and social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications. There were a total of 20 entrants.
â€śIt has been part of our mission to ensure that our stateâ€™s young workers get the education and information they need to understand their rights in the workplace,â€ť said Laurence Hubbard, President and CEO of Montana State Fund. â€śFor many of these young people it is their first job and we want to help them establish good safety practices from the start. Our NoJack.net website is one of the tools we use to focus these efforts.â€ť
The Workerâ€™s Right Award also comes with a $6,000 monetary prize. According to Hubbard, this money will be used to continue our efforts to keep Montanaâ€™s young people and their employers aware of safety. The creation of the website was a collaborative effort between Montana State Fund and Partners Creative in Missoula. To view the other winners and more details of the contest visit workersafetyhealth.challenge.gov/.
New Brunswick (WorkSafeNB)
WorkSafeNB recognized for outstanding innovation in health care
WorkSafeNBâ€™s efforts to improve the health care system for injured workers earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Public Sector Leadership Awards, held in Toronto on February 21. The annual honour is awarded by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), and one of Canadaâ€™s leading professional services firms, Deloitte. For its submission, An Innovative and Interprofessional Model of Care for Orthopaedic Referrals and Treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries, WorkSafeNB was recognized as a public sector leader in health care that helps improve Canadaâ€™s quality of life and global standing as a nation.
Established in 2008, the IPAC/Deloitte leadership awards recognize innovative and high-performing public sector organizations. This year, WorkSafeNB was recognized as it entered into innovative partnerships with health care providers to create service delivery alternatives that focus on excellence in rehabilitative medicine. â€śThis award provides recognition and validation for the organization, encouraging our employees to think outside the box and focus on results; and important recognition for our employees for their success in operationalizing that approach,â€ť said WorkSafeNB president and CEO, Gerard Adams. â€śThese partnerships will provide injured workers with a mechanism to allow them to have their injuries treated in a more timely manner, and hopefully an opportunity to return to their jobs sooner as well.â€ť
Pam Wasson, the physiotherapist whose work on the program was featured in the March 2012 E-News, said that implementing a more streamlined care model so injured workers can receive appropriate care more quickly is something to be proud of. â€śItâ€™s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together with different health care service providers. I hope the public recognition of this award will inspire more collaborative efforts in health care across the country.â€ť The medal comes three years after WorkSafeNB was named a finalist at the 2010 IPAC gala for its project, Affording Rehabilitation: Innovation Through Partnership.
For more about the awards, and a complete list of winners and finalists, please visit
Amendments to WC Act improve benefits for burials and related expenses
WorkSafeNB administers four acts: the Occupational Health and Safety Act; the Workersâ€™ Compensation Act; the Firefighters Compensation Act; and, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission Act. And while WorkSafeNB administers these acts, any changes to the legislation are enacted by government upon receiving royal assent.
In the spring of 2012, WorkSafeNBâ€™s board of directors recommended changes to the Workersâ€™ Compensation Act that would improve benefits for the estate of those who died as a result of a workplace injury or disease. These changes, under Bill 26, received royal assent on December 20, 2012 and are now in effect.
The changes mean an increase in the amount for burial from 20% of the New Brunswick Industrial Aggregate Earnings (NBIAE)* to 40% of the NBIAE and removing the CPP offset , and a new lump sum benefit equal to 50% of the NBIAE to offset other expenses related to a compensable death.
*The NBIAE is an amount set by WorkSafeNB as of January 1 each year, based on yearly increases in the Consumer Price Index for Canada and monthly reports published by Statistics Canada. Click here for a more detailed definition of the NBIAE.
New York (NYSIF)
NYSIF Mourns Robert H. Hurlbut
|Robert H. Hurlbut|
NYSIF mourned the loss of long-time commissioner and former Chairman of the Board Robert H. Hurlbut, who died unexpectedly at his home in Honeoye Falls on Monday, March 4. He was 77.
A well-respected Rochester businessman and philanthropist, Mr. Hurlbut was credited with being a pioneer as founder and CEO of multistate nursing homes that fostered a shift from nursing-only facilities to multilevel senior living campuses in reshaping the industry.
â€śCommissioner Hurlbut will hold a special place in NYSIF annals, in the hearts of the people he touched through his association with NYSIF, and through his work on behalf of his much-loved Rochester and communities across the United States,â€ť NYSIF?Chief Executive Deputy Director Dennis J. Hayes said.
The longest-serving commissioner in continuous service to NYSIF, Mr. Hurlbut rarely missed a board meeting in 24 years. He served as vice chairman from 1995 to 2006, and as chairman from 2006 to 2012. True to form, he attended the Boardâ€™s most recent meeting in February 2013.
Under development by NYSIF ITS, Underwriting and Actuarial staffs for the past year, NYSIF deployed its Underwriting Decision Management System (UDMS) in January 2013, using predictive and comparative analytics to provide statistical data to assist underwriters in pricing policies.
The system uses 18 predictive models that analyze past performance to predict future loss ratio, claim frequency, total cost of claims and the retention flight risk at the policy level. UDMS provides comparative analytics for similar policies throughout the enterprise, enabling underwriters to compare predicted and actual outcomes for a particular policy against observed outcomes for comparable policyholders along logical dimensions such as governing class, group number and premium strata.
UDMS includes a Premium Exposure Comparison System (PECS) and a Loss Development Triangle System (LDTS). PECS enables the underwriter to determine if reported exposure and class codes are in alignment with similar risks throughout NYSIFâ€™s book of business. LDTS provides statistical insight into the loss development and overall loss ratio of one or many policies along logical dimensions such as premium, NYSIF modification, location, governing class, industry, county and group type.
Nova Scotia (WCB)
WCB Named Top Employer in Atlantic Canada for 4th Year
For the fourth year in a row, the Workersâ€™ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia was named a Top Employer in Atlantic Canada. This award is a great compliment to other recent accolades: being named a Top Employer in Nova Scotia for the fifth year running, and a Top 100 Employer in Canada. These awards are a testament to the WCB creating a culture of safety across the province, beginning in our own offices.
Workplace Safety Strategy among Goals on Horizon for WCB
2013 has come quickly out of the gates for the Workersâ€™ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, undoubtedly the year will be a busy and exciting one. We hope to keep this momentum going as we set out to meet our many workplace safety goals.
This year weâ€™re planning to continue to push the envelope on prevention and return-to-work programs, focusing our efforts to achieve even better results. Weâ€™re also building and leveraging our relationships with government and safety partners to make an even bigger impact on industries with persistent safety challenges, like fishing and healthcare in 2013.
One great example of how weâ€™re doing just that is our new Workplace Safety Strategy. Launching in late March, the Strategy is a joint effort between the WCB and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Through its six pillars â€“ engaging leaders, building a safety culture, providing business tools , enhancing education and training, increasing inspection and enforcement, and ongoing performance measurement â€“ we hope to fulfil the Strategyâ€™s vision of Nova Scotia becoming the safest place to work in Canada.
Weâ€™re also nearing the release of our 2012 Annual Report, which should be tabled by Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More in April. Weâ€™re looking forward to sharing those results in the next newsletter issue.
Measures taken to improve medical care for injured workers
The Ohio Bureau of Workersâ€™ Compensation (BWC) recently implemented changes to increase the availability and quality of medical providers who treat injured workers in Ohio. The types of providers who may treat injured workers were expanded and certification requirements were strengthened. Certification requirements include an expanded review of all providersâ€™ credentials in order to identify those whose licenses have been suspended or revoked, and those who are subject to disciplinary restrictions in other states. Decertification protocols for providers with repeated violations of workersâ€™ compensation rules or statutes were clarified as well. "Injured workers deserve access to effective providers who are fully committed to their recovery and successful return to work," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. Learn more about the changes here.
New regional business development managers appointed
Serving as ambassadors for BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer, four new regional business development managers are working with employers to make sure their workersâ€™ compensation needs are being met. These managers also meet with BWC staff to educate employers about the numerous programs offered to help businesses save money. One of these programs is Destination: Excellence, which focuses on creating safer workplaces and transitioning injured workers back onto the job. It allows businesses to choose from up to seven money-saving options.
Buehrer said they will help employers create safer work environments and effectively assist workers when theyâ€™re injured. Click on their names to learn more about our new business development managers.
BWC demonstrates fiscal prudence in proposed 2014-2015 budget
A second consecutive budget decrease for the Ohio BWC is pending. The proposed $550.7 million request for Fiscal Years 2014-2015 is five percent less than the original Fiscal Year 2012-2013 appropriation. That budget was a 12 percent decrease compared to the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 appropriation. In introducing the budget, BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer reviewed a number of accomplishments over the last two years, including the reduction of public-employer premiums to their lowest levels in 30 years. In addition, pilot programs were created to more efficiently manage workersâ€™ injuries and numerous changes were made to better manage prescription drug use. Those changes included implementing a drug formulary and pharmacy lock-in program while building a safety net plan to allow injured workers to safely transition from narcotics and opiates. Read more about the pending budget here.
SAIF named Sustainable Business of the Year
SAIF was presented the 2013 Sustainable Business of the Year Award (large business) at the Mid-Valley Green Awards sponsored by the Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center. Nominees for Sustainable Business of the Year were considered for their work in every aspect of environmental sustainability, including recycling, reuse, waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, waste water/storm water protection, and education.
SAIF employees win awards at statewide conference
More than 20 SAIF employees presented at this yearâ€™s biennial Governorâ€™s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) conference, and others took home awards. SAIF employee Annie Moorman received a Safety and Health Professional award at the conference awards luncheon. Itâ€™s the top individual honor at GOSH. Moorman, a senior safety management consultant, has spent more than 30 years working in safety management and industrial hygiene in Oregon.
Three SAIF employees were recognized by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Columbia Willamette Chapter at a reception for ASSE Women in Safety Engineering (WISE). Pam Ahr, regional operations supervisor; Jacquie Strand, senior safety management consultant; and Paula Jones, senior safety management consultant, each received a WISE on the Rise award.
Texas (Texas Mutual)
Mark your calendar: 2013 AASCIF Conference
Texas Mutual is excited to host the 2013 AASCIF Annual Conference in Austin from July 14-17, 2013. Austin is the capitol of Texas and the Live Music Capital of the World. Our agenda includes a full slate of educational and networking opportunities. You will also have plenty of time to explore our city during sponsored events or on your own. To get information about the conference and to register, visit aascif2013.com.
We also encourage you to follow our AASCIF 2013 blog and subscribe to our Twitter feed @AASCIF2013. Between now and the conference, we will introduce you to must-see attractions and help you get the most out of your visit to Austin.
New president joins Texas Mutual
In February, Richard Gergasko joined Texas Mutual as president and CEO. Gergasko succeeded Ron Wright, who retired after 16 years of service. Before joining Texas Mutual, Gergasko was president and COO of SeaBright Insurance Company in Seattle. He worked as executive vice president of operations for the company from 2003 to 2009. Gergasko had a long career in various positions in the workersâ€™ compensation insurance industry prior to that.
Texas Mutual seeks independence from State
Texas Mutual is pursuing an initiative that would sever its few remaining ties with the State of Texas during the current legislative session. The bill numbers are HB 1833 and SB 850. If signed into law, the legislation will transition Texas Mutual into a fully independent mutual insurance company whose board of directors and chair are elected by and solely accountable to its policyholders. It will also create a residual market shared by all insurance companies, ensuring that the market is stronger than any single insurer. For more information, visit http://www.texasmutualtalks.com/.