MFPD workers’ comp premium drops 52 percent since 2005

Decreased losses, premiums result of board’s new policies

By Mike Anthony

Workers’ compensation reforms enacted by Mehlville Fire Protection District officials have resulted in the district’s premium decreasing by more than 52 percent since 2005.

District Clerk Carla Juelfs, who administers the district’s workers’ compensation program, told the Board of Directors last week that Mehlville paid nearly $900,000 in 2005 for its workers’ compensation premium.

For 2012, the district’s premium is roughly $425,000, “which is excellent, obviously,” Juelfs said at the March 7 board meeting.

In a March 2 memorandum to the Board of Directors and Chief Brian Hendricks, Juelfs wrote, “The Board of Directors must be applauded for creating new policies necessary to elicit change.”

After seeing in an increase of more than $560,000 in the district’s workers’ compensation premiums from 2000 to 2005 — to $892,616 from $332,311 — the board voted in November 2005 to hire a consultant to assist the district in reducing workers’ compensation costs and implementing a fit-for-duty policy.

Shortly after hiring the consultant, Barbara Cullen of Medical Services Management Inc., the board also voted to adopt a new workers’ compensation policy.

Juelfs said the board and administration also were instrumental in approving other changes that resulted in impressive decreases both in the district’s loss experience and its workers’ compensation premiums.

Those changes include:

• Modified duty.

• Fit-for-duty test.

• Appointing an incident safety officer on all working alarms.

• Utilization of the training officer/assistant chiefs to ensure functional equipment and investigation into all lost-time accidents.

• New loss prevention and control practices.

• Building good-faith practices to reduce the chance of employees engaging legal counsel.

• Physician referral to exactly match the specific type of injury.

• Training courses that assist the employee in learning how to reduce the chance of injury.

• Research by the Health and Safety Committee on proper techniques and employee safety. Findings then are reported in the district’s Feel Better Newsletter.

In her memo, Juelfs wrote, “The district’s Experience Modification Rating — MOD — has decreased from 1.38 in 2003 to a mere .83 in 2012. The MOD compares the district’s workers’ compensation claims experience to other organizations similar in size and industry …”

Juelfs also told the board the district received a nearly $88,000 surplus distribution from the Missouri Fire and Ambulance Districts’ Insurance Trust, or MoFAD, the district’s self-insured workers’ compensation trust.

In her memo, Juelfs wrote, “This distribution consists of the remaining surplus from the 1991 policy year and partial distributions from the policy years 2004-2007. This distribution also included the elimination of deficits from the years 2001-2003.

“Mehlville received approximately 12.73 percent of the entire distribution to members of the trust in the amount of $710,940 … The total surplus distributions paid back to MFPD since 1996 amount to $866,649,” she wrote.

Hendricks praised Juelfs’ work with the workers’ compensation program.

“… She handles, obviously, all aspects of it, from dealing with our employees to making sure that they get the proper care that they require, and I have to say, just to let everyone know, that Carla does this job at 7 o’clock at night, 2 o’clock in the morning and Saturdays and Sundays,” the chief said. “She does a tremendous job with our workman’s comp …”