County Commission | The Magazine August 2018 - Page 6

THE COUNTY LINE H Sonny Brasfield Executive Director At the intersection of ‘opportunity’ and ‘challenge’ Self-funded insurance programs taking services to the next level 6 | COUNTY COMMISSION ow many times have you heard someone say, “We have an opportunity ahead of us,” when they really mean the circumstances they face are going to be a real “challenge?” These terms are often incorrectly used interchangeably. On other occasions, however, the issue someone calls a “challenge” is really a meaningful “opportunity” if he or she will simply accept the fact that sometimes these terms intersect in a most demanding way. The Association is directly in the middle of one of those occasions. Most of you know that almost all of Alabama’s counties now participate in one of the Association’s three insurance offerings. And, in fact, more than 40 counties provide for all of their major insurance needs – workers’ compensation, liability and property – through the Association’s self- funded pooling approach that has well served the citizens for decades. What hasn’t been on the front of anyone’s notepad is the fact that the back-stage services necessary to make the programs tick – the safety services, claims administration, underwriting, financial services and policy administration – have long been provided by an outside, private company. And, for a couple of decades, that company name has been synonymous with the Association’s self-funded insurance programs. County employees and officials have worked hand-in- hand with the employees in this company’s Montgomery office, establishing a very effective and productive relationship. Over the last year or so, an opportunity has been knocking at the Association’s door. And in April, the boards of trustees overseeing the insurance programs voted unanimously to accept a challenge that will, ultimately, enhance and reform the insurance services delivered to employees and officials at the county commission level. Beginning in 2019, the Association will self-administer its insurance programs through a new nonprofit company established exclusively for this purpose. We’ll give you more details on the changes that lie ahead during the annual insurance funds’ membership meeting at the Association’s 90th Annual Convention and Celebration. Pushing down to the bottom line, the “challenge” we’re facing right now as we make this transition will provide the Association with a real “opportunity” to take the insurance programs to the next level. The staff, the boards of trustees and everyone involved are very excited about the enhanced service counties will see once this process is fully implemented. As we move beyond 2019, you will all come to associate this newly-created nonprofit company, County Risk Services Inc. (CRS), with the Association’s insurance funds more closely than you have connected the current company with the programs. The services that allow the funds to respond to and meet the needs of your employees and officials will very soon actually be delivered by employees who will work exclusively on the Association’s programs. The Association’s employees and those who will work for CRS will all be housed on North Jackson