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Henry County rewarded with $190,657 dividend

By Rachel Shirey

rshirey@henryherald.com

McDONOUGH — Henry County will receive $190,657 to be added to the general budget for its efforts toward risk management.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia – Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund will distribute $3.25 million among Georgia’s county governments.

“We want citizens to realize that we take the risk management seriously, and that we do work throughout the year,” said County Communications Director Julie Hoover-Ernst. “We have a risk manager who kind of monitors departments throughout the year and he tries to mitigate that risk, and this is the benefit of that — that we get to see that money come back to us in the form of a dividend each year because we do work so hard to manage our risk.”

ACCG works to ensure that the counties provide the necessary leadership, services and programs to meet the health, safety and welfare needs of their citizens.

The county’s management efforts toward implementing loss-control techniques and promoting safety contributes to the reduction of injuries, claims and costs.

The county has been a member of ACCG since 1995, and it continues to manage injury risks with seminars to prevent back injuries, ergonomic work seminars to ensure a safe work environment, defensive driving classes to reduce car accidents, classes educating supervisors on safe environments and more.

“We end up getting some kind of dividend each year and that was the $190,657 amount we received this year, and it’s usually somewhere around that amount,” Hoover-Ernst said.

She added that the funds will be added back to the general fund budget.

A state law enacted in 1982 allowed counties to pool their resources by forming a non-profit insurance fund to provide for anticipated losses and expenses.

According to a press release, the ACCG-GSIWCF collectively self-insures a large portion of the risk, which allows Georgia county governments to purchase non-profit insurance coverage at cost-efficient rates that are typically better than a county could negotiate on its own.

The nonprofit self-insurance program is a method of financing insurable risks, which will reduce insurance costs for the county and benefit the taxpayers.

Counties participating in the ACCG insurance program also receive loss control and safety services to help mitigate and reduce claims.

The dividends are made possible by using premium dollars held in reserve to pay claims.

Any insurance premiums and investment income earned on the premiums, which are not used to pay claims and operating expenses, belong to the county government members of the ACCG- Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund.

Henry County’s dividend will be returned in the form of a credit towards Henry County’s workers compensation premium for the 2013 policy year.