To assist member county road departments prepare for their annual construction season, a series of 32 one-day workshops are presented across the state to address and provide guidance on a broad range of construction, road and bridge maintenance, and department safety topics. More than 1,050 road department employees and county board members attend. Despite the country’s ongoing economic struggles, NIRMA’s average premium contribution is limited on average to a 2 percent increase, with a number of members actually receiving pricing decreases. For the 15th consecutive year and the 20th time since 1991, NIRMA returns member funds that are no longer needed to pay claims. This latest monetary return is in the form of a $750,000 dividend shared by 77 members. It increases the total amount that NIRMA has now returned to nearly $12.25 million. The reference library published for members continues to grow, this time with the addition of the Sheriff’s Office Model Policies and Procedures Manual. Forty-five members submit a total of 73 applications for ASSIST grants and funding assistance for a variety of loss prevention and safety projects or equipment purchases. Both are new records and the total amount requested substantially exceeds the amount appropriated. A total of $84,743 is approved, increasing to $363,946 the amount NIRMA has now awarded members since the ASSIST program began in 2008.
In response to requests from member county highway departments, NIRMA presents four regional crane operator workshops which provides two days of comprehensive classroom and hands-on training for 60 road department employees. In excess of 325 county and area agency on aging officials and supervisory personnel attend NIRMA’s latest personnel seminars presented at five locations across the state. Each seminar contained nearly six hours of instruction and helpful information. As part of the regional seminars, NIRMA reissues a revised and expanded Guide to Creating a Personnel System for Nebraska Counties. Higher losses incurred by members results in an average 6.27 percent increase in the premium contribution levels. Despite the overall increase, nearly one in five members actually received decrease due to their favorable claims experience. For the 16th consecutive year and the 21st time since 1991, NIRMA returns funds to members, this time in the form of a $600,000 dividend distributed among 79 eligible members during the NIRMA’s Self Defense for County Officials Conference in October. Also at the conference, a new Insurance and Risk Transfer Manual is introduced and distributed. An additional $393,864 in dividends is made available to members who meet the dividend eligibility requirements and who adopt a resolution extending their participation in NIRMA for another three-year period. NIRMA introduces a new Interact portal on its website through which members can quickly and easily electronically submit data and information to the NIRMA office and access their coverage and loss information.
The year began with a resounding display of members’ confidence in NIRMA as 100 percent of members who were eligible to recommit to participate in the program for another three-year period did so. It marked the eighth consecutive time since NIRMA was created in 1988 that all eligible members recommitted. NIRMA presents five regional seminars across the state to address various liability exposures associated with county roads and bridges. At each seminar NIRMA issues its updated and expanded Guide to the MUTCD for Nebraska Counties and its new comprehensive Road Department Manual, which addresses all facets of county road department operations. A new process is used to streamline the 2012-2013 policy year renewal. Known as the Interact members-only portal located on the NIRMA website, it will serve as the primary means for contact persons to electronically communicate with NIRMA, access their property schedules and insurance coverage document, and submit renewal information and claim forms. For the 17th consecutive year and 22nd time since 1991, NIRMA issues a dividend, this time in the amount of $640,156 to 80 members. It increases to nearly $13.9 million the amount NIRMA has returned to members. The NIRMA Loss Prevention and Safety Committee awards $84,991 in ASSIST Program grant funding to help members achieve safety initiatives or purchase safety-related equipment. NIRMA has now awarded a total of $535,532 in ASSIST grants since 2008.
January 7 begins a year-long observance of NIRMA’s Silver Anniversary. Through the Interchange magazine and a number of events and other special activities, 25 years of significant highlights and milestones are recounted. It is only fitting that during NIRMA’s 25th anniversary year a special 2020 Vision Committee begins meeting to discuss a broad range of ideas and issues related to the program as it proceeds toward the year 2020 and beyond. Nearly 300 county officials and supervisory personnel attend NIRMA’s spring seminar series that focuses on employment practices. The annual renewal benefits from projections of fewer losses and price quotations lower than anticipated, resulting in over one-quarter of the membership receiving a reduction in their contribution level for the 2013-2014 policy year. In conjunction with NIRMA’s annual Self Defense for County Officials Conference, a special luncheon is presented to pay tribute to the program’s 25th anniversary, including recollections shared by several key individuals responsible for bringing risk management pooling to Nebraska. The conference also produces a milestone of its own when a $1.1 million dividend is distributed among 82 eligible members during the annual association business meeting. Not only does it mark the 24th time and 18th consecutive year that unexpended funds have been returned, it also increases to $15 million the total amount NIRMA has returned to members since 1991. The year draws to a close with NIRMA’s membership standing at 86 with the addition of Harlan County, which became the 80th county member in September, and with the Loss Prevention and Safety Committee awarding $90,194 in ASSIST Program grant funds to 38 members.
NIRMA rebrands its annual April seminars under a new moniker – Spotlight Seminar Series – to call attention to the diverse subject matters that are addressed each year. For 2014, the five seminars focused on emergency planning and response procedures for local governments. In what is considered a first in Nebraska history, members of the NIRMA Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for the All Lines Interlocal Cooperative Aggregate Pool (ALICAP), a self insurance pool for the state’s school boards and educational service unites, meet to discuss commonalities of the two pools and how the two can work together to enhance governmental pooling in Nebraska. A series of violent storms tear across Nebraska in May and June causing widespread damage. As a result, NIRMA experiences its most costly property damage event in the pool’s 26-year history with an estimated $4.6 million in losses. NIRMA conducts an online membership survey and finds that members continue to have a high level of satisfaction and confidence in the program. For the 19th consecutive year and the 25th and 26th times in program history, NIRMA issues two dividends totaling $998,827. This increases to nearly $16 million the amount NIRMA has returned to members since 1991. Members of the Loss Prevention and Safety Committee award $79,038 in ASSIST grant funds to members to help defray the cost of their health and safety initiatives and to make safety equipment purchases. The year comes to a close on positive note and another successful recommitment process is completed.
NIRMA ushers in the year by welcoming the Region 26 Council as its 87th member of the pool. Region 26 is a unique interlocal agency that provides E911 communications and emergency management services to residents in eight NIRMA member counties. This addition is another example of how NIRMA has evolved to include a broad range of county-related agencies within its membership. A bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature at the request of NIRMA proposes to define in state statutes who should be considered an innocent third party when involved in a law enforcement vehicular pursuit. The proposal achieves a milestone when it advances out of the Judiciary Committee to the floor of the Legislature. In conjunction with its biennial Employment Practices Seminars, NIRMA issues a revised and expanded Guide to Creating a Personnel System for Nebraska Counties reference manual. In excess of 300 county highway department equipment operators benefit from a series of two-day classroom and hands-on training sessions developed and presented by NIRMA. Another positive financial year results in NIRMA’s Member Fund Balance surpassing the $30 million mark, prompting the Board of Directors to issue a $1 million dividend to 85 eligible members during the October conference. Following the conference, NIRMA utilizes the Internet to invite attendees to participate in a brief online survey soliciting their input about the event. Members of the Loss Prevention and Safety Committee approve $97,734 in ASSIST Program grant funds to help members with their safety initiatives.
The NIRMA Board of Directors sets in motion a year-long, in-depth analysis to the program’s technology systems and platforms, the long-term result of which will be to keep NIRMA at the forefront in how it communicates and effectively serves its membership in the 21s century. Board members also unanimously adopt a 2020 Vision Plan, an ambitious and comprehensive plan that culminates three years of work and pinpoints five specific long-term goals for the program and action steps for each. NIRMA’s membership increases to 91 with the addition of Hooker County, the Hooker County Agricultural Society, the Dakota County Public Safety Service Agency and the Thomas County Agricultural Society. For the second year in a row, nearly 60 percent of NIRMA members see a reduction in what they will pay for their insurance coverages for the upcoming policy year. The pools’ combined Member Fund Balance, or equity members have in the pools, surpasses the $30 million mark for the first time in the program’s 28-year history. This enables the NIRMA board to declare and issue a $1 million dividend to 85 members, marking the 21st consecutive year a dividend has been issued and the 10th time it is in the amount of $1 million or more. The year draws to a close with NIRMA’s Loss Prevention and Safety Committee awarding $123,047 in grant funds to be applied toward a variety of safety projects and initiatives submitted by a number of members. This 10th round of grants increases to $930,588 NIRMA has now invested in member loss prevention efforts since 2008.