TARGET 8: Columbia's risk manager explains how city handles legal settlements

2 months 1 week 1 day ago March 16, 2017 Mar 16, 2017 Thursday, March 16 2017 Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:16:00 AM CDT in News
By: Madeline Odle, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - As part of its Target 8 investigation into how the state and local governments handle legal settlements, KOMU 8 News talked to Columbia's risk manager.

Sarah Perry outlined three major areas the city pays claims in.

She said workers compensation is an insurance the city is required to pay its employees. Property claims include any damage to city property. Perry said this usually consists of fire or wind damage. General liability claims is a broad category that Perry said includes pretty much everything else.

"It includes everything from minor, like we ran into somebody's mailbox," Perry said. "To something significant, where somebody is alleging wrongdoing on the part of the city, employee or department." 

Each year, the city's risk management office releases a report outlining the number of claims filed in each area, and how much each cost the city. 

The 2016 report showed, over the past five years, Columbia spent the most money on workers compensation claims. The next highest amount was spent on general liability claims, and the least on property claims. 

Perry said the majority of the claims is handled through a self insurance process. However, the city also buys excess insurance to cover instances when a claim exceeds the allocated funds. 

"I think of it like most of us have auto insurance that we have a deductible. Our retention is like a big deductible that we take on ourselves," Perry said. "Then we purchase insurance to protect the city and our taxpayers and everything else, for if a claim goes above the retention level." 

Perry said the city does an actuarial study each year to determine how much money it should put into its retention fund, and how much insurance it should buy. 

"It's never exact, but it's the best we can do to get an outside expert saying 'here's what you need to have,'" she said. 

According to the city's website, the city is self-insured for different amounts, depending on the type of claim.

For workers' compensation claims, Columbia is self-insured for the first $500,000 of loss for most employees and the first $750,000 for those employees in high-risk occupations. The city is self-insured against the loss of property for the first $100,000 (with a few exceptions) per occurrence. For liability claims, Columbia is self-insured up to the first $500,000 per occurrence. 

When it comes to lawsuits against the city, Perry said those cases fall primarily under general liability.

"Most settlements the city makes will be in the liability section of these claims," Perry said. "Anywhere from personal injury to property damage to auto liability." 

If employees of the city want to sue, they give up their right to workers comp insurance. 

"So if an employee said 'hey I think my injury is completely because of negligence' they would have to completely waive their rights to workers compensation, and go through litigation." 

Here's the number of liability claims over the last 5 years, according to the risk management office on the city's website: 

Perry said the office of risk management counts the claim in the year it was filed. The numbers include cases settled both in and out of court.

However, some claims can drag on for years, especially if litigation is involved. Perry said when a case is finally settled or decided in court, the amount of money the city paid towards that claim is counted towards the year the claim was filed. 

"Very often cases can go for several years so the total cost of the claim, even though it happened in 2014," Perry said. "It may go on for several years, but in our reports it will be shown in 2014." 

Here's the amount the city paid for liability claims over the last 5 years, according to the risk management office on the city's website: 

 

 

On Monday, the University of Missouri Board of Curators went into the final steps of a settlement with the widow of Columbia Fire Lieutenant Bruce Britt, who died after a walkway collapsed at MU-owned University Village Apartments in February 2014.

A circuit judge preliminarily approved a settlement this week, with some conditions, though the UM System clarified the settlement is not complete. Previously, in 2014, the board had denied wrongdoing.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - MU has found its new chancellor. On Wednesday, UM System President Mun Choi introduced Alexander Cartwright as... More >>
5 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:10:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
FAYETTE - The city of Fayette Wednesday night issued an immediate boil advisory until further notice for all residents affected... More >>
7 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 10:06:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Democratic state lawmaker has taped messages from constituents to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens's door... More >>
9 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 8:28:50 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A Target 8 investigation background checked Columbia Uber drivers and took a closer look at the ride-share company’s... More >>
10 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:57:00 PM CDT in Target 8
MOBERLY - Moberly no longer will euthanize animals with a gas chamber. In exchange for getting rid of the... More >>
12 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 5:39:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia visitor Zach Walther describes Uber as "convenient." The 23-year-old frequently uses the ride-sharing app, which arrived... More >>
12 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 5:28:00 PM CDT in Target 8
ST. CHARLES - The third day of the murder trial involving the death of a Missouri state trooper ended with... More >>
12 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 5:20:00 PM CDT in News
OSAGE BEACH - Two detention officers were recognized by the Missouri Sheriffs Association for taking quick action that saved the... More >>
13 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 4:19:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Gov. Eric Greitens is looking to Washington for financial help to help those affected by major flooding in... More >>
13 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 4:05:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – As Missouri lawmakers continue discussions regarding the so-called "steel mill bill," legislators from both sides have pitched... More >>
14 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 3:41:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY – A Columbia man was sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.... More >>
14 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:55:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police officers took a 15-year-old male into custody after receiving reports of the student threatening violence at... More >>
15 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:31:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
MANCHESTER -Manchester, England is roughly 4,000 miles away from Missouri. But for students studying abroad, it can feel like a... More >>
16 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 1:02:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA — Callaway County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Columbia woman after they pulled her over and discovered she had a... More >>
16 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 12:51:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A health system based in Kansas City, Missouri, has signed an agreement with Washington University in... More >>
17 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 11:49:52 AM CDT in News
KINGDOM CITY — A Fulton man was taken into custody last night after a short vehicle pursuit on Old Highway... More >>
18 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 11:15:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Authorities are investigating the deadly shooting of a 28-year-old man in northeast Columbia. Police said in... More >>
19 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 10:23:00 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A bat in St. Louis County has tested positive for rabies, and health officials say it should... More >>
19 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 9:59:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 50°
6am 47°
7am 49°
8am 51°
9am 55°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
King of the Hill
6:30a
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
8:00p
Running Wild with Bear Grylls
9:00p
Red Nose Day
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld