Through a cooperative effort with Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI), NDACo formed the County Employer Group (CEG) in 1996. With participation from 100% of North Dakota counties, the CEG Program consolidates individual county workers compensation accounts into a single employer group account. WSI now assesses one premium through NDACo for workers compensation coverage for all counties.
By combining the premium history and loss history of all 53 counties, the County Employers Group was able to realize a significant premium discount through the WSI’s Experience Rating Program. In addition to the savings realized by each county, some savings are used for administrative management and contracted risk management services in order to provide a qualified safety program in each county. This provides the foundation for further premium reduction and/or cost containment.
There are approximately 7,000 county employees served under the CEG Program. Employees work in various industries including road construction and heavy equipment operation, law enforcement, social services, county health districts, traveling personnel, clerical office, and chemical weed spraying. NDACo serves as a liaison between WSI and CEG members to facilitate communication, coordinate member activities, and disseminate information.
Risk Management/Loss Control
Over the past several years, the CEG has effectively promoted and implemented risk management programs, increased the speed and efficiency in claims management, enhanced the recovery process post-injury, reduced premiums for individual counties, reduced the costs associated with workplace injuries, and most importantly, has reduced the number of workplace injuries resulting in a safer workplace at the county level. A qualified safety program exists in all 53 counties to provide the foundation for further premium reduction and cost containment. Risk managers have also been assigned in each of the 53 counties. Prior to the inception of the CEG Program, few, if any, organized safety programs existed within the counties.
Return to Work
The CEG Program has also implemented a well-documented “Transitional Return-To-Work Program” that serves to lower workers compensation costs and serve as a model for other industry trade groups and governmental agencies statewide. Transitional Return-to-Work Programs establish ADA compliant temporary, medically safe, and meaningful jobs for injured workers who are not able to return to their normal duties due to the physical demands of the job. Proactive claims management covers several different aspects including: disability management, medical management, analyzing injury trends, accident investigation, fraud investigation, reserve reviews, and subrogation recoveries.
The CEG introduced the Claims Assessment Program to encourage early reporting of all workplace injuries within 24 hours. Early reporting in conjunction with aggressive and proactive claims management help reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs associated with workplace injuries. Immediate notification of a workplace injury documents the injury occurred and allows the employee to receive appropriate medical care. The CEG has become the industry leader in North Dakota for reporting injuries within 24 hours. Because of the success of our Claims Assessment Program, legislation was introduced by WSI that allows each county an opportunity to save up to the first $250 in medical costs for each claim reported within 24 hours. Early reporting also allows the return-to-work process to begin immediately to help avoid unnecessary disability costs.
Training and Consultation
The CEG Manager and the Internal Claims Manager work closely with county employees, supervisors, department heads, elected officials, and commissioners, overseeing the effectiveness of the risk management program and the claims management program by developing training programs, providing consultation services and training on industry related topics, developing safety inspection programs, and implementing new programs and services.
The CEG has provided a direction for the development of specialized occupational and non-occupational claims management programs and industry-specific loss control education and training programs for all counties in an effort to minimize loss impacts and human suffering. The CEG is available to help counties achieve positive claims management and risk management results.