Insurance Board issues ultimatum

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2006

WINTON – The N.C. State Insurance Board has threatened to raise premiums for Hertford County and others who are not in compliance with state rules.

Hertford County Commissioner Dupont Davis said at Monday’s meeting that the Insurance Board has mandated that all North Carolina counties have a safety program in place.

Davis informed the board that he had addressed this issue with County Manager Loria Williams and to his knowledge the county was still not in compliance.

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Williams stated she had discussed the issue with department heads.

&uot;Our existing safety program does need to be reviewed,&uot; Williams said. &uot; Our safety policy has to be updated.&uot;

Hertford County’s safety policy needs to be updated to meet with current insurance guidelines.

One of the more glaring deficiencies is the inability of individuals to report accidents in the time allotted by the Insurance Board.

According to Davis, the board has said clearly that any accident involving a county worker needs to be reported to the state board within five days.

Williams said she had met with the county’s department heads on several occasions and repeatedly stated the county’s policies, especially as it applies to reporting accidents.

According to Davis, the task should not be as difficult as Williams claims.

&uot;I don’t understand how difficult it is to make a phone call,&uot; Davis said. &uot;Why do we not have a no exceptions/no excuses policy in place?&uot;

Davis was concerned that the county would see an increase in the costs of workman’s compensation insurance.

Williams noted that whatever policy is settled on needs to meet the commissioners approval and be in line with any other countywide personnel policies.

Board Chair Curtis Freeman agreed with Davis.

&uot;I agree, there should be no excuses for not reporting accidents in the time frame established,&uot; Freeman added. &uot;I understand that reports take some time to prepare, but that does not excuse a department head from notifying the County Manager.&uot;

&uot;I have asked for a report of any accidents within a 24 hour time period,&uot; Williams said. &uot;&uot;My office should still receive a phone call immediately after any accident involving a county employee. We’re working on it.&uot;

In other board news;

Williams reported to the board that Springsted Inc. had begun the initial stages of a county-wide classification and compensation study designed to improve the morale of employees and enable the county to more effectively use available funds.

The company, which claims to be able to help counties respond to changes in market conditions and ensure external competitiveness and internal equity and consistency among similar positions in any organization, performed similar studies in Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Springsted met with several county employees last Thursday to begin to expand on issues such as proper job description, job classification and regional salary competitiveness.

For the study, Springsted will charge Hertford County $19,000 with an additional $1,000 reserved for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the company.

Additional or expanded work will be billed at a rate of $200 per hour.