For the last several years, members of the Board of Finance (and Selectmen) have spoken in general terms about the need for better risk management within the Town of Suffield. Brian Kost has mentioned it most often, usually related to healthcare costs. It came up again at your March 24 meeting.
I was at the Windsor Town Hall two weeks ago and happened to pass an office with a sign on the door that said Risk Management. So, I stopped in and spent a half hour or so talking with Windsor’s Risk Management manager, Martin Maynard. He can be reached at 860.285.1851 or email@example.com He was very helpful in answering questions and describing the scope of what he does for the town.
Basically, he handles all Workmen’s Compensation and other insurance claims for the town and schools. He does not handle health insurance claims, they are handled by the Human Resources Director. He handles all of the safety training for the town and is also an Assistant Fire Marshall.
The job was originally established in 1992 as a part-time position and was turned into a full-time position in 2001. The current salary is about $93,000. I’ve attached a copy of the Job Description for the Risk Manager from the Windsor Human Resources Department.
In the last year one of the claims M.r Maynard handled was a result of a roof failure at the high school gymnasium. The loss was around $3m and almost all was recovered from insurance, even though the cause was improper welds in the structural steel when it was constructed 30+ years ago. That more than paid for his salary. A related article can be found here.
There is also a commission established by the Town Council to provide advise and review the town’s insurance needs.
From the Windsor town website:
Summary: The Windsor Insurance Commission was established by the Town of Windsor to recommend to the Town Council a risk management program and an insurance program that addresses all non-employee benefit risks including workers’ compensation for all departments of the town.
Duties: Reviews and makes recommendations concerning insurance and bonding programs for the town.
The Ordinance that set up the 5-member Insurance Commission in 1985 is here.
The Commission meets monthly, except for July and August.
Windsor’s experience is that having the Risk Management position saves the town money and pays for itself in making sure that claims are handled promptly and followed up on. Having someone on staff that also conducts safety training helps to minimize Workmen’s Compensation claims and lawsuits.
While this Risk Management position does not deal with the Board of Finance’s often stated issue regarding health insurance claims, it does take care of a large exposure of claims for the town. It may be a good template to work from in creating a position in town government or in trying to find a contractor to handle this function. My sense is that having someone on staff part or full-time would be the best way to go if you were to move forward. It could be funded from both the Town and School budgets.