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Tom Barnes and WSRMP Win Awards for Excellence


Tom Barnes and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool (WSRMP) are the winners of the 2020 AGRiP Awards for Excellence (in Leadership and Performance, respectively). They will receive their awards at AGRiP’s Governance Conference 2020 on March 2 in Orlando, FL.

Tom Barnes: Transformative Pooling Leader

Tom_headshot_small.jpgTom’s award recognizes his transformative tenure as CEO of the Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia (MIABC). Since 2005, he has grown the MIABC from a simple claims-handling reciprocal into a sophisticated organization delivering comprehensive member services and solutions to local governments in British Columbia.

When the MIABC was faced with rising claims costs early in Tom’s tenure, he formed an in-house legal department that now handles more than half of the reciprocal’s litigated claims. In addition to providing continuity of service in claims handling, this department has saved members over $1 million annually since its creation in 2006. 

In response to increasing reinsurance costs, Tom established an in-house reinsurance brokerage to negotiate the MIABC’s property reinsurance quota share arrangement. This has resulted in another MIABC revenue source for the benefit of its membership.

Tom has achieved these notable outcomes, in part, by encouraging strategic planning at all levels. For example, he coordinates regular strategic planning retreats for board and staff members and facilitates multi-day meetings for advisory group members to provide feedback on the MIABC’s effectiveness in meeting its strategic goals.

“Tom is an excellent leader capable of motivating, leading and challenging association membership and staff,” said industry colleague Shawn Bubb, director of insurance services at the Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority (MSGIA). “His core values are pure, as is his drive to continue to create and achieve.”

Tom also has a commitment to mentorship that extends beyond the MIABC. He regularly invites representatives from other public entity pools and organizations to attend the MIABC’s Risk Management Conference in order to connect public entity pooling professionals and promote commitment to public entity needs. Tom is always willing to share ideas and opportunities with others and has traveled to other public entity pools to share successful MIABC programs. He is also a member of the AGRiP and Canadian Association of Insurance Reciprocals (CAIR) boards of directors.

“Tom’s ambitious vision, communications skills, spirited work ethic and emphasis on relationship-building have transformed the MIABC,” said AGRiP Board President Brett Davis. “His remarkable accomplishments offer a model for leadership in pooling.”

Founded in 1987, the MIABC is a public entity reciprocal providing stable and broad liability and property insurance coverage, outreach programs and expert advice to its members across British Columbia. 

WSRMP’s Innovative Risk Management Program

wsrmp_logo_small.pngWSRMP’s award recognizes its innovative approach to reducing sexual abuse and molestation risks. 

By providing school districts with risk identification and mitigation tools that emphasize appropriate training, policies and practices, WSRMP’s multipronged enterprise risk management (ERM) program puts student safety as the number-one goal.

“WSRMP prides itself as forward-thinking, influential and a strong advocate for students,” said Deborah Callahan, the pool’s executive director. 

In addition, WSRMP has shared its initiative with other public entity pools for the benefit of students across the country. 

“This innovative program has helped schools of all kinds create a safe learning environment for students,” said AGRiP Board President Brett Davis. “We’re thankful WSRMP is sharing it with the broader pooling and education communities.”

WSRMP was established in 1986 to provide a wide variety of coverages to public school districts in the state of Washington. It assists members in developing safe and effective school systems in which students achieve and succeed.