By Ann Gergen, Executive Director
Since March, AGRiP has been highly cognizant of the way we communicate with members, including what information and news we share and how we share it. In consideration of the many competing priorities pools are dealing with, we’ve kept our member outreach simple and direct, filtering away what’s nonessential so as to streamline our communications. I know many pools are doing much of the same thing for their member entities.
As we minimize distractions, it’s easy to gloss over successes or “feel-good” news because it might seem less important than the crisis du jour (of which there are plenty).
Almost half a year into the pandemic, many of us have figured out how important it is to embrace positives when it comes to our personal lives (e.g., a socially distanced campfire with friends, a short road trip for the weekend, or learning new skills). It’s a bit more difficult to do this in the professional world given the newly remote working environment and our desire to focus only on that which is critical to public entity operations.
Last month, I was part of a meeting with pool directors where we considered how to celebrate public entity successes even during the pandemic. Here are a few of our ideas:
- Send handwritten notes to public entity officials effectively managing through tough situations.
- Develop a special way of recognizing public entities introducing new solutions that can be used by others to address needed changes in public service.
- Acknowledge member entity anniversaries with your pool, not just by renewing coverage but rather by celebrating the renewal as a relationship marker.
- Spotlight a member entity in each pool newsletter, focusing on what they think has improved in their operations or services in response to the pandemic.
- Highlight a star public entity employee making a difference during this unique time.
Unsurprisingly, these ideas were often offered through a risk management lens. The members or public employees you choose to highlight are likely the ones promoting a safety culture or improving risk management protocols. Celebrating a success and highlighting an important risk management effort is a win-win for any pool.
As for AGRiP, we usually hold an important celebration of our own at each Governance Conference and Fall Forum where we acknowledge pools that have completed the long process of AGRiP Recognition. Not a small undertaking by any means, achieving Recognition takes time and dedication by a pool to ensure it is operating within recommended policy guidelines and operational standards.
So, in the spirit of celebrating successes, here are eight member pools that recently achieved Recognition (but whose accomplishments have remained unannounced due to the suspension of in-person AGRiP events).
- The Association of California Water Agencies JPIA, which provides coverage to more than 430 public water agencies, special districts and organizations.
- The Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association Inc., a provider of workers’ compensation, property, liability and other coverages to over 150 cities, boroughs and school districts.
- Alaska Public Entity Insurance, which provides property, liability, automobile, workers’ compensation and other coverages to 71 municipalities and school districts.
- The California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, which offers workers’ compensation, property and liability coverage to more than 100 public agencies in California.
- Missouri Housing Authorities Property and Casualty Inc., which provides coverage to over 100 housing authorities.
- North Bay Schools Insurance Authority, which provides property, liability and workers’ compensation coverage to 15 members, including school districts, county offices of education and a community college district.
- Public Risk Innovation, Solutions, and Management, formerly known as CSAC EIA, which offers insurance and risk management solutions to 55 of 58 counties in California as well as 283 other public entity organizations.
I encourage you to send an email note of congratulations if you know anyone from these pools.
And, if you know of a person or pool that’s succeeded despite obstacles, tell us so we can celebrate with them. You might also want to nominate them for an Award for Excellence.
It’s important to continue celebrating successes during this difficult period – not just to keep up morale and help our community persist, but to inspire us to ascend beyond our immediate challenges and look to a brighter post-pandemic future for pooling.
Ann Gergen is AGRiP’s executive director and a former pool administrator. She has worked closely with and for pools, public entities, reinsurers and related service providers throughout her career.