By Martin Couch
City administrative clerk Shayne King told the Finance and Personnel committee that worker's compensation claims were at a whopping 94 percent and causing a $93,000 increase in the city's insurance rates.
"The factors here are that workers' comp is with the Arkansas Municipal League and they are going to change the discounts offered and implement a modifier on the rates," King said.
The city's current loss ratio is 16:24, and the total loss ratio in the years with the league has risen 94 percent.
"The proposal is to pay what was already budgeted," King said. "The League has agreed to pay the difference out as long as it is paid by July 1 of next year. What we are looking at is paying what is budgeted for 2010, spreading the $93,000 from January to January next year paying approximately $10,000 a month and it be added to the 2011 budget.
"Because of the loss ratio, they take the last three years' average claims we had and we are right back in it again," she continued. "The bill is going to be an increase for the next year. It is after this year, because they are going to average it out when we drop off in 2010 at 116 percent loss ratio. We are going to be facing higher worker's comp bills."
King said there were too many claims that happened on the job.
The City Council approved a light-duty policy that did help decrease that amount.
"The light duty policy approved last month is going to change things, which is going to reduce that loss ratio," she said. "But it's still too high."Alderman Steve Gladden suggested that the city institute a safety program in 2011 that would help reduce the insurance costs.
"I highly recommend that," King said. "We know that our safety policy is a big issue."
The approval for this would have to be on next year's city budget.