Several town employees were singled out last week for efforts to corral costs by improving employee safety and reducing insurance claims, all of which contribute to keeping a lid on insurance rate hikes.
According to Town Manager William Keegan, Foxboro received two awards at the Jan. 25 annual meeting of the Mass. Interlocal Insurance Association, a membership collaborative which provides a range of coverage, wellness and risk-management services to Bay State cities and towns.
The two awards, one for risk management and the other for improving employee wellness, had been presented to DPW administrator clerk Barbara Kelley and community information specialist Christina Metcalf, who chair the town’s safety and wellness committees, respectively.
Introducing Kelley, Metcalf and assistant treasurer/collector Veronica Harvey at the Feb. 4 selectmen’s meeting, Keegan quoted from summaries of the awards prepared by the MIIA.
“I think we were the only community represented that day to win two awards,” he said,
Kelley, in her role as chairwoman of the town’s quarterly safety committee, has helped implement return-to-work programs in workers’ compensation, a proactive approach to continuous employee training and ongoing identification and responses to new and emerging liability exposures.
“She’s sort of like our den mother on this issue,” Keegan said of Kelley. “She has been leading this charge for a long, long time and has done a terrific job.”
School committee Chairwoman Tina Belanger, who was on hand for the presentation, also lauded Kelley for working with the school administration to limit insurance rates.
“Thank you, Bev, for your work on this,” Belanger said
Keegan said the town also was recognized for efforts to improve employee health and promote a culture of wellness in the workplace.
More specifically, he said, the town’s wellness committee has grown to 14 members and become increasingly active over the past year — with the school department now including a wellness-related topic in teacher professional development days.
In addition to Metcalf as committee chairwoman, the MIIA award also recognized Keegan, Harvey, Assistant Town Manager Michael Johns and special education teacher Ann Farrell.
The wellness and risk management efforts are considered especially important in light of the amount the town spends annually on general insurance premiums, group health and life coverage and workers compensation and unemployment payments — an anticipated $11 million in fiscal 2021.
By implementing best practices in these and other areas, Keegan said the town is eligible to receive between $40,000 and $50,000 in rebates at the end of each fiscal year.
Established in 1982, the non-profit MIIA provides a range of insurance coverage, wellness and risk-management services to Bay State cities and towns. It is overseen by a board of directors composed primarily of officials from member communities — including Keegan, who was re-elected to the MIAA board at the Jan. 25 annual meeting.
“This was an all-Foxboro day at the MIIA awards,” he observed. “It’s always great when my own community is recognized for the fine work they do.”