Partnering with a leading risk pool to use online training to decrease liability statewide
Created in 1988, the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (NIRMA) serves nearly all Nebraska counties as a not-for-profit, member-owned-and-operated risk management and self-insurance pool. With nearly 100 counties and related agencies that comprise their membership, training and education are emphasized to reinforce safety and loss prevention.
More than a decade ago, NIRMA already understood what others didn’t:
- Consistent training could increase awareness of risks
- Keeping safety fresh in their members’ minds should be a primary goal for their organization.
Taken together, NIRMA knew those two key points could yield a reduction in claims and support loss prevention. They sought a strategic partner who could help them better report and track the impact of the training they provided to members, as well as inform them of trends in education and provide customer service to their members directly when needed.
NIRMA became a pioneer in introducing the concept of a risk pool-led-and-sponsored online training program for it’s members. After a rigorous review process, they chose to partner with LocalGovU, the leading provider of high-quality, accredited training for local government. Together they implemented a learning platform now used by more than 65 percent (57 member counties, as of 2016) of their member entities.
With a focus on loss prevention and ability to supplement the training already on offer to its members, LocalGovU was an attractive partner, with a suite of more than 250 online courses covering more than 20 topics. Furthermore, an emphasis on law enforcement content helped increase program utilization. Early adoption from law enforcement entities was swift and contributed to a notable increase in usage NIRMA could observe.
Over time, additional needs and benefits of the partnership became apparent. In 2012, NIRMA presented an opportunity to the LocalGovU team to assist in developing training on the federal mandates surrounding the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) – the standard governing all traffic signals, highway signs and road markings for all forms of public transportation. Working with NIRMA, LocalGovU developed a custom course based on the MUTCD requirements. The course, which meets state requirements, now serves as a refresher for county highway personnel and can be taken during new hire orientation.
The primary goal for the team at NIRMA is to run a successful training program with strong usage by its members. This objective has been overwhelmingly met and usage has been steady every year since the program’s inception in 2005. Over the past three years, NIRMA Communications and Events Manager Marshall Tofte and the Account Manager at LocalGovU have been proactively focused on increasing course completions by designing and enforcing quarterly curriculum changes. The team found they triggered usage peaks by offering select courses and making them available at certain times of the year.
While it’s hard to quantify a reduction in claims from this partnership specifically, a key goal is to have good financials, says NIRMA Executive Director Craig Nelson.
Nelson says NIRMA is at a point where they’ve had their best financials the past 3-5 years. This confirms they’re limiting claims and supports their belief that “counties using our full array of services have a better risk profile.”
By far, the greatest intangible benefit with the highest value has been the strategic partnership and service provided to NIRMA members. As the program has evolved, Nelson and Tofte have received numerous requests for services and the LocalGovU team has responded within 24 hours. Moreover, the tactical approach to member outreach and awareness has been vital to the overall relationship expansion.
Fast forward to today and the successful training program now touts nearly 100,000 course completions that aid in mitigating risk and decreasing liability. Arguably, with such a strong focus on loss prevention, NIRMA has paved a path for their county and other public entity members to more cost effective insurance coverage. LocalGovU offers the risk pool nearly 250 courses to help achieve these results and does so at an affordable cost – while preventing injuries and improving members’ performance on the job.