NASD pays high comp claims

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The Natchez-Adams School District is spending 80 percent more each year on workers’ compensation than the average school in the state’s school board association.

The premium through the association’s Workers Compensation Trust was $266,439 in 2004, up $18,000 from the previous year. In 2001 the district had more than $1.2 million in claims.

The numbers were enough to raise a few eyebrows on the school board and call for a second opinion.

Email newsletter signup

Thursday the board heard from Michael Waldrop, executive director of the state association, who told them the problem was fixable.

&8221;What you’ve got to do as a board is start managing your claims,&8220; Waldrop said. &8221;You have to lower your losses as a school district.&8220;

Basically, encourage school employees to be safer, he said.

The district’s premiums have been on the rise because claims have been on the rise, he said.

&8221;You can make drastic changes,&8220; Waldrop said. &8221;With good loss control y’all could lower premiums in one year by $100,000.&8220;

Waldrop pointed to a similar success story at another district and made some recommendations.

&8221;You need to employ a risk manager,&8220; he said. &8221;What you can offset in premiums will offset (the salary) three to four times over.&8220;

Waldrop also told the board to make workers comp a monthly board agenda item, adopt a set of safety policies and enforce them.

In the year starting in October 2004 the district has had 30 claims, down from 58, 97 and 87 in 2003, 2002 and 2001 respectively.

Waldrop offered to visit with to board again to help set up some of the procedures.

Board Chairman Norris Edney said the board would look into the recommendations and consider contacting Waldrop in the future.

In other business the board heard a request from Lamar and Iretha Beyah about a charter school they want to open in Natchez. The couple approached the board about two years ago on a related matter.

Thursday, they expressed interest in using the district’s school building in Washington. Edney told the Beyahs to bring copies of their proposal to a future meeting for consideration.