News

By Ann Gergen, Executive Director Perhaps today more than ever, local public officials find themselves dealing with seemingly no-win, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decisions: Should we reopen schools? Should masks be mandated? Should we restructure the funding and mission of our policing agency? To manage for these and other issues, local public entities regularly weigh the benefits of their actions (or inaction) against community norms, perspectives and acceptance of change.  A similar evaluation about taking action exists for pools with regard to how and whether a pool should influence decisions made by its public entity members. ...
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The resources below were featured in the July 30, 2020, issue of AGRiP eNews and may be of interest to pools. COVID-19 Updated AGRiP memorandum analyzing COVID-19 developments at the federal and provincial levels in Canada that may affect reciprocals Connecticut’s new COVID-19 workers’ compensation presumption covering essential workers Checklist for returning to the workplace amid the pandemic (AMERIND) Strategies to manage staff well-being and human resources risks during reopening (MIIA) Telecommuting benefits, drawbacks and tips (CSD Pool) Guidance on new COVID-19 workplace regulations in Virginia ...
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The resources below were featured in the July 9, 2020, issue of AGRiP eNews and may be of interest to pools. COVID-19 Updated AGRiP memorandum analyzing COVID-19 developments at the federal and provincial levels in Canada that may affect reciprocals Analysis of recent legislative and IRS rule modifications to employee benefit plan coverage and administration (ASCIP) Webinar on reopening parks and recreation programs and facilities (CIRMA) Recommendations for reopening parks and recreation facilities (Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society via KLC) Recommendation that members hold important ...
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This week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a number of petitions relating to qualified immunity protections for law enforcement actions. This means the Court will not hear and decide on these cases. The Court also recently denied several similar petitions for review this term. Over the last few years,  qualified immunity  has been criticized by a number of organizations and legal scholars. In recent weeks, it has faced even more intense scrutiny (e.g., in this  Washington Post   commentary  by Joanna C. Schwartz), and some in Congress have now drafted legislation to end or alter the doctrine. Two bills that would eliminate qualified immunity defenses ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for pools in many ways, and some have made the difficult decision to furlough or lay off employees. However, for those pools fortunate enough to be hiring new talent, the current employment market provides something of an opportunity: Plenty of qualified professionals are now seeking jobs.  Historically, the insurance industry has added jobs back more quickly than have other sectors following a recession. This suggests it would be wise to hire slightly ahead of an economic rebound, if you can.  If you do open recruitment for a position, be prepared for a large ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director AGRiP has been approached by three national news organizations interested in learning more about how pools influence local law enforcement policies and practices. Some of our members have also been contacted, as have several law enforcement agencies, cities, counties and public entity membership associations. If your organization receives a media inquiry and you want additional information or assistance from AGRiP, let me know .   In response to this sort of outreach, I find myself sharing two core pooling realities many outside our community don’t readily appreciate: 1. If you’ve seen one pool, ...
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The resources below were featured in the June 18, 2020, issue of AGRiP eNews and may be of interest to pools. COVID-19 New  liability protections for Louisiana public entities  relating to COVID-19 exposure Updated AGRiP memorandum  analyzing COVID-19 developments at the federal and provincial levels in Canada that may affect reciprocals Pool announcement that  member entities may pay their annual contributions in two installments  (CJPIA) Risk control considerations for public entities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic  (Legacy-level QEI Patron Travelers) Insights on  talent-related shifts resulting from COVID-19 ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director Note: Throughout the pandemic, Ann Gergen has been offering regular insight into COVID-19 issues AGRiP members are experiencing and related trends to monitor. With pools now once again broadening their focus beyond COVID-19, Ann’s perspective pieces will address additional timely topics, returning to the pandemic and its effects on pools as relevant. -- Regardless of what you might have expected from 2020, this year has been – and will likely continue to be – a time of significant upheaval. As of this writing, both the COVID-19 pandemic and policing practices are generating widespread public ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been participating in small weekly meetings with people from different backgrounds who share a keen interest in local public entities. Each week, we’ve shared “weak signals” (i.e., underappreciated, hard-to-spot and often surprising indicators of upcoming change), looking for connections and ways to make sense of current events and future possibilities. One important weak signal we’ve talked about is the pent-up frustration and anger likely to arise out of our current coronavirus-affected environment. These stressors extend beyond the virus itself but may be related ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director Benefit pools are providing early indicators of the overall impact and cost of COVID-19 on local public entities and the broader pooling community.  Here are a few of the most notable coronavirus-related trends, influences and service impacts among benefit pools: 1. COVID-19 testing and oftentimes treatment is fully covered.  Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act , Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act , and some state laws, all COVID-19 testing in the U.S. must be covered without subscriber cost-sharing. In many cases, health pools are also covering COVID-19 treatment ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director And, just like that, many pools are now focused on topics related to reopening.  You are likely beginning to guide your members on whether, when and how they can safely reopen facilities and restart services. You’re probably also developing plans for pool staff to come back to the office and resume member visits.  Whether looking at your own operations or providing member guidance, there are a number of tactical questions you might consider: What jurisdictional guidance applies to your pool or member entities? How many people can reasonably be in one space at the same time? How can your pool or member entities ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director Last week, I shared a common sentiment I’ve heard from pools : “It’s hard to plan, because we just don’t know what to expect from the coronavirus.”  Another related question being explored is: “When might things return to normal?” We all want to know what public entity pooling will look like after the pandemic – and it’s comforting to expect to go back to our familiar environments, interactions and processes.  I’m not sure it’s realistic (or, frankly, wise) to expect this snapback. You could leave your pool unprepared for the future and create greater long-term discomfort by holding out for an unlikely ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director One sentiment is repeated in almost every conversation happening right now within the public entity pooling community: “It’s hard to plan, because we just don’t know what to expect from the coronavirus.”  We’re all looking for hard data sources to provide clarity regarding COVID-19’s longevity and potential impact to pools and public entities. One perspective you might find useful is  this viewpoint from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) .  This report emphasizes a data point now influencing how I perceive the unknowns: Unless there are changes in ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director I’ve been holding off writing about pool staffing and operational issues, knowing most pools are highly focused on addressing the needs of their members, managing coverage uncertainties, reconsidering reinsurance needs and more. Two emails this morning helped me realize it’s time to directly address a significant organizational and operational issue for pools: long-term plans for remote work.  Both emails came unsolicited from pool directors starting to consider longer-term staffing and operational practices as a result of COVID-19. The first email included this insight:  I’m quickly realizing ...
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Updated June 19. AGRiP has made several operational adjustments and shifted priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a summary of the most important changes and how they will impact members. CEO Institute 2020 is canceled. It is unclear whether physical distancing and other safety restrictions will be lifted in time for the conference. In addition, we recognize there will be a significant backlog of work for pool executives having just managed through COVID-19 response (or still managing through it). UPDATE:  Pool CEOs and senior staff are invited to CEO Virtual Institute , an online event for pooling leaders to collaborate ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director Someone asked me last week what, if anything, is common to most pools’ COVID-19 experiences. Not all pools face the exact same circumstances, but I think it’s fair to say these are the typical realities and issues pools are facing today: 1. Liability claims volume is down. Several pools are reporting decreases of 20 to 40 percent in auto liability claims and 10 to 20 percent in general liability claims. It’s not clear, though, to what extent these decreases are because public entities aren’t promptly reporting claims during crisis operations.  This decrease in claim counts is expected to be temporary, ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director In addition to coverage- and claims-specific questions we are addressing directly with members and through our COVID-19 Resource Center , we’re also following three emerging conversations: 1. Liability Limitations Recent liability limitations have thus far been centered on health care professionals in a declared public health emergency.  For example, the federal-level CARES Act provides liability protection for volunteer health care providers in the United States. New York State has also implemented liability protections for volunteer and paid health care professionals, including emergency service ...
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By Ann Gergen, Executive Director COVID-19 hotspots are expected to move in waves across the continent. Similarly, the coronavirus-related issues pools face – and the decisions they’ll have to make – are also likely to impact pools at different times in the coming weeks. Some pools are already on the leading edge of this crisis, and others are not yet there. This is not only a factor of where infection rates are higher, but also the coverage any given pool provides, their type of member entities, and the state in which they’re located. Pools are used to solving problems quickly and effectively. But right now, there’s a lot we don’t know and ...
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AGRiP is compiling a list of resources to help the pooling community be as effective as possible in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Use these resources to improve your own pool’s COVID-19 operations, assist member entities responding to the virus, or message members regarding applicable coverage. --> The items listed below include: AGRiP resources for COVID-19 response Resource hubs designed by pools and QEI Patrons Risk management advice for public entities offered by pools and QEI Patrons Remote work resources and communications produced by pools, QEI Patrons and others Claims and coverage information  for pools ...
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Pools and reciprocals are providing incredible support to local public entities on the front lines of the growing coronavirus pandemic. No matter your role in this effort, I hope you feel a strong sense of place and purpose that ties you to the difference you are making. I know our community and how it responds, so I can say this with confidence: You are in exactly the right place, at the right time, to make the right decisions and do the right things for public entities and all the community interests being served at the local level. We’ve never faced a circumstance quite like this – so, as pools, you’ll be learning and adapting as you go. If you ...
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