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Arizona
SCF Arizona Names Chief Financial Officer
PHOENIX – SCF Arizona named Dale Newton vice president and chief financial officer effective Nov. 14, 2005.

Newton is responsible for SCF Arizona’s accounting, financial reporting, realty management and financial planning. He comes to SCF Arizona from Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co., where he served in a similar capacity.

“Dale's advanced knowledge of the workers' compensation marketplace and strong financial skills made him an ideal fit as a member of our executive team to promote the future vision of SCF Arizona,” says Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Duane Miller.

A member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Newton was one of the “founding” employees of the Missouri entity in 1994. Previously, he had been the CFO with Workers' Compensation Fund of Utah.

“It’s an honor to be hired as part of SCF Arizona’s Executive Team,” Newton says. “SCF Arizona’s national reputation for innovation, customer service, financial stability, generous policyholder dividends and low costs is legendary. I’m very excited with this new opportunity to be part of one of the industry’s best providers of workers’ compensation insurance.”

Newton, who was born in Salt Lake City, is married and has five children.

SCF Arizona is the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance with more than 56,000 policyholders. SCF Arizona insures only businesses operating in the state. The company, which employs more than 500 people, with offices in Flagstaff, Lake Havasu City, Phoenix, Prescott, Show Low, Tucson and Yuma, is dedicated to promoting workplace safety.

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Colorado
Pinnacol Assurance

Pinnacol Assurance partnered with its employees to donate nearly $26,000 to the American Red Cross hurricane relief efforts and over $50,000 to local charities.

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Maine
Comp Summit 2005 - MEMIC hosted its ninth annual Comp Summit in November. The two-day, free policyholder conference attracted more than 400 key decision makers who attended workshops that addressed topical subjects such as trust and its relationship to safety, stretching programs and fraud prevention. Once again, it was a crowd pleaser, according to attendees, who rated the overall quality of the meeting an average 4.3 on a 5-point scale.

Best’s Review - MEMIC made the cover of Best’s Review November issue. The feature story highlighted top-performing small and niche insurers in four lines of commercial property/casualty insurance. MEMIC was noted as having the third-best combined ratio in the country over the last 10 years and praised for its special care in preventing injuries. The cover photo pictured MEMIC CEO and President John Leonard in the backdrop of the Maine woods.

Cash back - This fall, MEMIC mailed $4.0M in dividends to its policyholders for performance in 2002. More than 19,500 checks went out to policyholders in amounts of up to $50,000. The amount totaled approximately 3.3 percent of each policyholder’s paid premium for policies that began in 2002. MEMIC has returned cash to its policyholders every year since 1998, totaling $59.0M.

Katrina aid - After the initial wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross sought 40,000 new volunteers to replace fatigued workers. MEMIC answered the call by offering its most valuable resource: its employees. Employees could volunteer for a three-week volunteer stint while maintaining their status as a paid MEMIC employee. Fourteen people took part in Red Cross preparedness training classes. In the end, five were chosen to serve in various capacities in Louisiana, Texas, and along the Gulf Coast.

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Maryland
IWIF recently expanded its website (
iwif.com) to include safety and claim information written in Spanish. Spanish-speaking workers now have access to safety tip sheets, posters, videos, information about employee safety rights and responsibilities, accident investigation and other claim forms, and a complete explanation about the workers’ compensation insurance claim process and services in Maryland.

On the marketing front, IWIF launched two new target market programs designed for the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association and the Remodelors Council of Maryland. Both programs were created to attract competitive business among the groups and offer policyholders either group discounts, scheduled credits or special pricing, as well as group dividends for maintaining a successful safety culture.

To help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, IWIF and employees donated more than $10,000 to the American Red Cross. The donation was presented on live television during a fundraising effort hosted by an ABC affiliate TV-station in Baltimore.

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North Dakota
Reversing a three-year trend, North Dakota’s Workforce Safety & Insurance (WSI) sawreductions in both paid medical and prescription drug costs during the first quarter of the last fiscal year. The drop in prescription drug costs is being attributed to the implementation of a pharmacy benefit management program in December 2004, the introduction of MAC (Maximum Allowable Cost) pricing for selected generic prescriptions in September 2005, and the hiring of an in-house Doctor of Pharmacy. Overall medical costs are being reduced through the use of a revised hospital fee schedule and new ambulance and home health care fee schedules.

If this trend continues, WSI is projecting medical costs for fiscal year 2006 will be reduced by a double-digit percentage when compared with the year before.

In early 2005, WSI worked with North Dakota’s medical and pharmacy associations to develop ways to reduce costs and established a framework for a Medical Guidance Council that will allow for direct input from medical professionals to WSI for ways of improving the system of delivery care and services to injured workers.

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Nova Scotia
CEO named woman of excellence by Progress Magazine - Nancy MacCready-Williams, the first female CEO in Nova Scotia’s WCB 90-year history, was recently recognized with a “Woman of Excellence” award for her outstanding achievements and significant contribution to management, as well as for the overall advancement of her profession. The award was given by the Canadian Progress Club, whose mandate in part is to encourage leadership and professional development via the example set by leaders in the community.

Public relations programs officially declared “gems” - The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) – Nova Scotia Gemstone award panel awarded six prizes – one first prize (the coveted “Gemstone”) and five awards of merit for stand-out marketing programs of the WCB of Nova Scotia. In the winner’s circle:

The awards program celebrates excellence in public relations and challenges CPRS members to meet the highest standards of excellence in performance and programming.

The WCB took home six awards, including five awards of merit and one first-place prize a gemstone, for the Young Worker posters.

On the Young Worker poster evaluation form, one of the judges commented, “The most important thing was that the visual was based on sound research, analysis and focus groups. The earned media generated is in itself an endorsement of the concept, message and execution of this project.”

“It’s a great feeling to get recognition for work well done from our peers in this very discriminating communications community,” said Shelley Rowan, vice president of marketing, communications and human resources. “Just another sign that we’re all doing great work to change the safety culture in Nova Scotia.”

Awards include:

Amethyst - recognizes the best overall public relations programs within the profession:

  • Award of Merit - Marketing Communications Program – Consider Safety
  • Awards of Merit – Marketing Communications Program – Work Safe. For Life.

Jasper - recognize the best creative talent in communications projects:

  • Gemstone (first prize) – Print Media Program – Young Worker Posters
  • Award of Merit - Print Media – 2004 Annual Report – Caution: Work Safe. For Life.
  • Award of Merit – Audio Visual Program – Employee Appreciation Video

To view the first-place poster, go to www.considersafety.ca.

Safety Incentive Program workshops a resounding success - More than 1,600 employers across the province attended free workshops offered by the WCB across the province this fall.

Presentations cover everything from injury prevention and return to work to how rates are set. They are intended as a working session with employers in order to understand more about the WCB, and for the WCB to understand more about employers’ needs as well.

Attendance has been outstanding, and in some cases, additional workshops have needed to be scheduled to accommodate the added interest.

“All excellent speakers,” wrote one employer on the evaluation form. “I like what I have seen on the direction the WCB is taking, and I support their efforts.”

“We are thrilled that so many employers clearly share our vision for a safer Nova Scotia, and we are very pleased with the turnout,” says Vice President of Prevention and Corporate Development Stuart MacLean. “We all must work together to reduce the human and economic toll of workplace injury in this province.”

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Ohio
Governor Bob Taft appointed William E. Mabe Administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in November 2005.

Mabe, 58, retired from Nationwide in 2003 after serving the insurance company in several capacities, most recently as senior vice president of Nationwide Provident Operation. Mabe replaces Tina Kielmeyer, BWC's interim Administrator/CEO since June 2005. Kielmeyer remains with BWC as its chief operating officer.

Among Mabe’s initial goals for BWC are to develop and implement investment strategies that not only provide BWC with a good investment return, but will also avoid the risks of the ups and downs of the stock market. Mabe also plans to assess current capabilities of the agency and determine what and where the need exists to strengthen the organization – focusing on those activities and efforts that create real value for its customers, determining its core competencies, and grading the organization on how effectively it is performing these activities.

Mabe’s vision is, by working together, we will make BWC the best workers’ compensation organization in the United States. He will do this by providing workers and employers real value, providing injured workers with care and benefits when they need them, and offering employers good, competitively-priced workers’ compensation protection.

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Oklahoma
Beginning February 1, 2006, CompSource Oklahoma will reduce overall rates by an average of five percent. Depending on the claims history for each classification, individual policyholders could see a decrease of up to 10 percent, while rates for policyholders in higher-risk classifications would remain constant. According to SGRisk Actuaries and Consultants, the five percent rate decrease is reflective of both the workers’ compensation reform enacted earlier in the year, as well as the improving loss experience of CompSource’s 31,000 policyholders. “The fundamental goal of CompSource is to maintain stable workers’ compensation rates while at the same time providing financial solidity for CompSource’s policyholders,” said Terry McCullar, CompSource Oklahoma president.

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Oregon
For the fourth straight year, Oregon’s workers’ compensation pure premium rate will remain flat in 2006. This follows twelve consecutive years of rate reductions, a national record. In addition, the state’s insurance regulator has announced reductions in two state fees that fund workers’ compensation and workplace safety programs. These fees also have been flat or experienced reductions in each of the last four years.

In October, SAIF Corporation retained ID Branding, a nationally-recognized branding consultant, to assess the state of SAIF’s brand. SAIF is emerging from several years of unfavorable publicity and is working to rebuild its public image. ID Branding is conducting research through the fall and will report back to SAIF in late January 2006.

SAIF’s popular policyholder publication, Compnews, published as a calendar for the fourth quarter of 2005. This special issue continues SAIF’s tradition of promoting safety through the stories of its policyholders, and contains helpful safety advice and tips about doing business with SAIF online.

You can view Compnews online at www.saif.com, or contact the editorial staff via email at compnews@saif.com to request a mailed copy.

Communicators from around AASCIF gathered in Portland October 12-14 for an informative and fun annual workshop. Nearly 35 communicators met and heard presentations on topics ranging from politics to branding to Web tools. The final program showcased award-winning campaigns and collateral from member organizations.

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Pennsylvania
Effective November 1, 2005, the Pennsylvania State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF) and the Pennsylvania Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) program entered into a contract to pay pharmacy bills for SWIF claimants. The PACE program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, contains a vast network of pharmacy providers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The PACE program interacts with SWIF’s newly implemented PowerComp program that went into production in June 2005. In order to stay abreast of the changing workers’ compensation environment, the PowerComp software is updated and improved on a regular cycle. Through these release cycles, changes are requested, tested, trained and implemented approximately every six weeks. SWIF is confident that together, PowerComp and PACE will be better able to serve the needs of the insured workers of Pennsylvania.

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Saskatchewan
Phil Germain, Executive Director of Prevention, Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board Saskatchewan WCB Appoints Executive Director of Prevention - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has appointed Phil Germain to its newly created position of Executive Director of Prevention.

According to Gail Kruger, the WCB’s vice president of prevention, finance and information technology, workplace safety has become a vital focus of the organization’s operations. “Workplace injury prevention not only became a strategic priority for us in the past few years, it took on even greater prominence when our board made it part of our corporate mission,” she notes.

“Creating a senior management position whose mandate is to oversee the WCB’s workplace injury prevention initiatives underscores the emphasis we place on this activity. We are determined to reduce the costs and consequences of workplace injuries to both Saskatchewan employers and workers.”

Mr. Germain has spent many years directly involved with workplace safety and prevention in the agricultural sector. For the past eight years, he was Safety Manager of PIMA – Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada. While there, he served on the board of the Farm Safety Council, and as the Council’s representative on the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Council. Mr. Germain is also a member of the advisory committee to the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (SIAST) on their OH&S certificate program.

One of Germain’s key duties will be to play a lead role in WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the WCB’s and Saskatchewan Labour’s joint workplace injury prevention initiative. As Germain explains: “It’s our job to convince everyone in the workplace that injuries create waste – waste of valuable time, skills, training and resources. We need to help build the understanding that reducing workplace injuries adds value for everyone.”

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Texas
Texas Mutual Insurance Company continues to prepare for the 2006 introduction of health care networks in the Texas workers' compensation system. The Texas Department of Insurance began accepting applications for certified networks this month. Once we have a certified network partner, we will offer a network coverage option to many policyholders.

We also continue to enhance the Texas Mutual® website, adding a dividend history look-up feature for agents and policyholders in October and making online print products available in PDF format. We have also redesigned our online loss run reporting tool.

Last fall, Texas Mutual Insurance Company worked with agents and policyholders to minimize the negative effects of business interruption resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We also had a record-breaking United Way campaign, and employees participated in a number of other charity fundraisers.

 

 

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