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Risk Management Secures Cost Savings For County

March 09, 2011

The Placer County Office of Risk Management’s careful analysis and purchasing of insurance policies have resulted in significant savings for the County when unexpected events have arisen. Recently, a relatively new county-owned dump truck, loaded with building material, swerved to avoid a collision. The truck rolled and suffered major damage. Although there were no significant injuries, the $178,000 truck ended up a total loss.

Risk Management, after careful review, had insured the truck for replacement value. Replacing the truck will cost the county $10,000, instead of the full value of the vehicle. County buildings are another area where potential financial liability is carefully evaluated and insurance policies are purchased to cover potential losses from damage. Last December, a clogged pipe in the Finance and Administration Building caused $47,000 worth of damage. The County’s cost was the deductable on the insurance policy, or $5,000.

“Doing the risk analysis and having appropriate insurance and replacement-cost coverage is another way the County saves money,” said Thomas M. Miller, County Executive Officer. “If we had to pay for replacement of all County property that broke or was damaged, it would cost much more than we pay in insurance costs. Instead, we can use these funds to keep employee jobs.”

Risk Management is a division of the County Executive Office and comprised of Insurance Purchasing, General Liability, Workers Compensation, Safety, Internal Investigations, Disability Management and Organizational Development. Part of Risk Management’s responsibility is to manage the County’s General Liability by administering, investigating and controlling claim costs by reducing and avoiding risks.

“Placer County has been proactive in exploring a variety of alternative risk-financing techniques, which include purchasing insurance products through a public-entity risk pool,” explained Deputy CEO Maryellen Peters, Risk Management director. “This has minimized financial impacts to the County when there is a loss.”

The General Liability program also maintains and manages adequate reserves to pay for all liability claims and related costs.

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