Friday, May 14–Safety Record Reduces Berlin Insurance Costs

BERLIN – Berlin
officials learned this week the town will realize a signficant decrease in its
workman’s compensation contributions for the coming year, largely because the
insurance carriers are satisfied with the town’s on the job safety record.

The Mayor and Council
learned on Monday the town’s Injured Workers Insurance Fund (IWIF) workman’s
compensation contributions for the coming year are coming in at around $14,000,
or about 12-percent lower than the current year. As a result, Berlin will pay
about $124,000 this year in workman’s compensation contributions, according to
Fred Martelo of Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley, who negotiated the new
deal with IWIF for the town.

“IWIF provides a very
attractive incentive and gave me an extremely favorable credit for the town,”
Martelo told town officials on Monday. “The premium went down about $14,000,
which was a sizable deduction from the year before. It works out to be about a
12-percent deduction.”

Martelo said IWIF
offered the incentive-laden low premium package after carefully reviewing the
town’s safety record in terms of its employees, including a myriad of
departments from police, fire and emergency services to public works to water
and sewer and even administrative employees.

“The biggest part of the
savings is loss control,” he said. “They know the town is operating in a safe

Berlin Mayor Gee
Williams said the town has made a conscious effort to improve the health and
safety of its employees, which helped save money with the workman’s
compensation contribution package.

“There are basically two
things at work here,” he said. “The first part is educating our workforce on
things they can do to improve their own health and help the town at the same
time. The other part is job training. This is ongoing, not something we do just
once in a while.”

Berlin Human Resources
Director Rachel Bomar said the town’s safety record as it relates to the
workman’s compensation package is reviewed on a three-year cycle. Because of
that, the town’s workman’s compensation package was still being determined by
incidents that happened in the past before the proactive safety programs were
in place.

“We’re still working on
two years ago when we had a couple of incidents,” she said. “Because of the
cycle, those are still considered in the rates, but the rates should go down
more when those are cleared.”

Bomar said Berlin’s
safety program for its workforce is being used as a model for other

“Visitors from across
the bridge are looking at our programs during MML [Maryland Muncipal League]
and are using it as a model,” she said. “They are watching what we’re doing and
taking it back with them because we’ve really been successful with it.”