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Workers' Comp costs up $100,000

June 12, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The City of Hagerstown's workers' compensation insurance will cost about $100,000 more in the coming fiscal year even though there has been a drop in the number of claims, Human Resources Director Donna Messina told the Mayor and City Council Tuesday.

Renewing the Injured Workers Insurance Fund contract with Keller-Stonebraker Insurance Group will cost the city $997,936, city documents said.

That is less than the $1,004,300 budgeted.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the contract at its June 18 meeting.

The current contract, which cost $899,347, expires June 30.

The contract that expired last June cost $531,000 for the 2000-2001 fiscal year, city documents said. One reason for the increase was the high number of claims in prior years.

The insurance market for municipalities is not good currently, especially for police and fire entities, so insurance companies are passing costs on to insurers, said Kevin DeHaven, city safety/loss control coordinator. Additionally, due to deregulation, insurers can set premium rates higher to ensure they stay profitable, he said

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DeHaven said there have been about 120 reported injuries so far this fiscal year, of which 60 resulted in workers' compensation claims. The fiscal year ends June 30.

There were 187 claims during the last fiscal year and 200 claims the prior year, he said.

Council members said they were pleased to hear about the drop in injuries and claims.

City departments have made worker safety a higher priority this year, DeHaven said.

When the City Council was presented with workers' compensation information last June, council members urged the city to make worker safety a priority.

The city has 460 employees.

The largest percentage of the injuries, about 40 percent, involved police department employees, DeHaven said.

About 130 of the 460 city employees work for City Police, he said.

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