October 2017
Trust Tips is a resource for members of the Trusts administered by the Florida League of Cities. Here you’ll find tips and other information from the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust, Florida Municipal Investment Trust, Florida Municipal Loan Council and Florida Municipal Pension Trust Fund

Click the hyperlinks above to contact an insurance or financial services representative directly.
  In this issue: 
  • Hurricane Irma – This is what the FMIT is built for
  • Happy Birthday to Us! – FMIT Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary 
  • Timing is Everything – At least that’s true for GASB 75 if a city doesn’t want to delay its CAFR
  • Get a Jump Start on GASB 75, Effective June 15, 2017
  • A Timely Reminder About Disaster-Recovery Contractor Scams
  • Your Guide to Drafting a Hostile-Workplace Prevention Program 
  • Reducing Insurance Fraud – The Indicators Can Help Point You in the Right Direction
  • Is Your Municipality Missing a Wellness Committee?
Hurricane Irma – This is what the FMIT is built for

By Holly McPhail
Florida League of Cities

The strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean came barreling toward Florida in early September. Instead of anticipating inclement weather in isolated regions, the size of the storm resulted in the entire southern part of the state bracing for impact.

Fuel was in short supply as 6.3 million Floridians fled north from their homes. Those who stayed behind included local government leaders and first responders. In many cities, the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) was by their side with strategically located Critical Incident Response Teams (CIRTs), ready to assess damage and coordinate recovery services as soon as conditions allowed. In fact, the FMIT staged the largest number of CIRTs in its history. 

As Hurricane Irma approached Florida, the FMIT’s Catastrophe (CAT) Team, which consists of FMIT adjusters and its recovery program partner, SynergyNDS, were also prepared to respond. Sequestered in the League’s Orlando office, the CAT Team ensured smooth communication between members and CIRTs. They also coordinated field resources to deliver on its initial focus – emergency response and stabilization. 

Also standing alongside cities were the FMIT’s Trust Services staff to assist those members that would be impacted by Irma’s wrath. 

Together, this group delivered alert notifications, emergency communications support, rapid assessment technology and the FMIT’s Turn-Key Recovery program to FMIT members. The Turn-Key Recovery program eliminates members’ upfront out-of-pocket expenses associated with an insured property loss. When the eye of Irma or one of its outer bands ripped through an FMIT member city, they were ready.

On Sunday, September 10, Hurricane Irma made two U.S. landfalls. First, in the lower Keys and then on Marco Island. It then skirted up the west coast to Naples and Fort Myers. By dusk, Irma moved northeast toward Lakeland and then on to Gainesville before crossing into Georgia. While the strong winds of the eye wall battered roofs, drove rain into buildings and toppled trees, the outer bands of the storm also packed a punch with tornados touching down along the east coast and storm waters surging onto streets.

When the sun rose on Monday morning, cities across the state were strewn with debris, without power and many without potable water. It was time for the FMIT teams to step in. After all, is what they are built for. 
H appy Birthday to Us! – FMIT Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust, administered by the Florida League of Cities, is 40 years old this year. Join us in celebrating four decades of protecting Florida’s local governments. Visit the League's YouTube channel (key word FMIT) to hear from several city officials on how the FMIT has assisted their cities.
Get a Jump Start on GASB 75, Effective June 15, 2017
When you contract with the League, we will:

  • Review your current OPEB policy.
  • Prepare a GASB 75 compliant OPEB valuation.
  • Develop a plan of action to address your liability.

Click here for details.
Timing is Everything – At least that’s true for GASB 75 if a city doesn’t want to delay its CAFR

By Chuck Carr
Southern Actuarial Services

At this point, most readers are familiar with Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 45 (GASB 45), which required an actuarial valuation at least once every two or three years (depending on size) of any post-employment benefits they provide to retirees. 

The valuation was required even if the city did not provide an explicit subsidy for retiree health insurance, pursuant to the argument that the city’s group health insurance cost is “inflated” (or may become “inflated” in the future) because retirees are covered under the same group health insurance program as active employees.

Now, effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2017, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board has replaced GASB 45 with Statement No. 75 (GASB 75), which will require an annual actuarial valuation for most cities, with voluminous disclosures analogous to those under GASB Statement No. 68 (GASB 68). 

The Florida League of Cities has advice about how to meet this reporting requirement.

A Timely Reminder About Disaster-Recovery Contractor Scams

Many of our members and your citizens may have recently been hit hard by Hurricane Irma. 

As we begin to recover and help our citizens return their lives to normal, it is important to remind them about the importance of hiring only licensed contractors to undertake storm repairs to property and structures, to reduce the likelihood of scams and rip offs.

The Department of Business & Professional Regulation advises that contractors travel from out of state to a disaster area and take advantage of the large amount of repair work to be done. Red flags that could indicate activity from an unlicensed contractor include:

  • Demanding full payment up front
  • Lack of a written contract
  • Soliciting door-to-door
  • Advertising without a Florida license number
  • Requesting cash only
  • Using high-pressure sales tactics

For more information or resources, you may contact DBPR at (850) 487-1395, and find more information at www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr.
Your Guide to Drafting a Hostile-Workplace Prevention Program  

By Kenneth J. Blaser
Risk Control Consultant

Cities that allow hostile-workplace conditions to fester risk problems with productivity, absenteeism and turnover. Not only that – sexual and nonsexual workplace harassment and bullying can spark costly litigation and damages payments, and even workplace violence.

In this article, Kenneth J. Blaser, of the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust’s Risk Control Department, surveys the types of behavior that do and do not constitute workplace harassment, plus practical advice about creating programs to prevent it.

“As employers, cities must incorporate active hostile-workplace prevention processes as key elements of their operations,” Blaser urges. “The city must be vigilant in recognizing hostile workplace occurrences and must take immediate action to address these situations.”
Reducing Insurance Fraud – The Indicators Can Help Point You in the Right Direction

By Sean Kucala
Florida League of Cities

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates at least $80 billion in fraudulent claims are made annually in the United States. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, estimates by the insurance industry indicate that 10 percent or more of property-casualty claims may be fraudulent. This results in higher insurance rates, increased taxes and inflated prices for consumer goods.

So, what can you do?

Understanding what fraud is, conducting a thorough investigation at the onset of a claim, and identifying and reporting indicators of possible fraudulent activity in claims are essential in the fight against insurance fraud.

Is Your Municipality Missing a Wellness Committee? 

An employee wellness committee is an important cornerstone for delivering your wellness program. The committee needs to operate consistently and effectively throughout the year. Committee members must understand the organization’s goals and objectives, listen to employees about their needs and help implement the program.

A committee can serve many helpful functions in developing and promoting a wellness program. It can:

  • Create a sense of employee ownership, if they participate in planning and promoting activities.
  • Help transform challenges into support systems.
  • Provide peer support and advocacy that could boost participation.
  • Share responsibilities, lessening the workload on your human resources staff or internal coordinator.
  • Ensure a variety of input into your program.
  • Help provide visibility and promote your program.

Make sure to keep membership on the committee voluntary. This will establish an enthusiastic committee that will contribute energy to the effort. Some members also may be appointed by management, to ensure representation from strategic areas within the municipality.

The Hometown Health wellness program is a turnkey-ready program available to all municipalities providing employee health Insurance through FMIT. For more information, contact program manager Gwen Knight at gknight@flcities.com