Strategies that help manage tribal government risk
What are the top tribal government risks we see as claims most often? Slip and fall claims at government locations and motor vehicle accidents were at the top, followed by employment practices, disenrollment claims and wrongful arrest.
Granted, every tribal land comes with its own host of risks to mitigate. Those that are trafficked frequently by outsiders, due to a popular onsite casino, vary greatly from tribal lands that are more isolated. Those located in western states have a greater risk of fire from drought than those in other areas. Mountainous or northern tribal lands have their own share of winter risks that must be analyzed and planned for. Nearly all tribes have in common risks due to their police and fire services and health clinics.
A tribal government risk management program must not only take into account local needs. We also suggest six common strategies to consider when developing and enacting a risk management plan, as outlined by an article by Risk Management magazine.
Assess and predict risks for your tribal government
Since history repeats itself, we suggest that you start by looking at past claims. Your data analysis of past losses can help you identify potential safety hazards that need employee training programs. This could be anything from employee cyber safety to safe driving, to slip and fall trends on community playgrounds.
In your data and trends analysis, you’ll probably want to include data from your health clinic. What chronic disease statistics and trends are they seeing? What are possible causes?
Take a closer look at fire and police response times and actions. What tactics could be used to narrow the window of response times? What additional training or equipment is needed?
Improve workplace culture
Knowing that budgets are always a major consideration, tribal government risk programs that keep safety at the forefront are critical to lowering your various risks. Engaging employees across different departments and at all levels is important, as is cooperative training between, say, police and fire services, schools and clinics, and police and health clinic staff. Working with your managers, we can help you plan for regular training and review of safety policies, creating active safety committees in each department and improvising new training after a claim event can help promote loss control and safety.
Train, train, train
Ongoing training related to safety, workplace policy and health & wellness will help your tribal government risk management program improve incidents of injury and loss, thereby lowering your claims costs and ultimately affecting your premiums. Examples are new methods of treating substance abuse and workplace violence deterrents for your health clinics. Driving workshops for police and fire departments. Health and wellness programs that emphasize “clean” food choices, exercise, stress coping strategies and more.
You might also consider ongoing training for your mangers and supervisors on employment practices: hiring, training, reviewing and firing best practices; what constitutes harassment, discrimination, emotional distress and retaliation, and how to steer clear of all; and wage and hour law violations. Arrangements should be made for supervisors, in turn, to train their teams on bullying in all its forms.
Put leaders front and center
Leadership that’s engaged is crucial, said the Risk Management article. “Having a police chief participate in a liability or emotional survival training seminar, a public works director involved in a work zone safety training, or a key manager engaged in a fitness challenge helps publicly reinforce the safety and health culture.”
Although the tribal landscape has evolved, tribal governments continue to encounter many of the same challenges: workplace safety, employee injuries, property damage/loss, extreme weather events and internal management issues. By looking further ahead, tribal leaders can work to influence workplace culture, focusing on the whole employee, engaging managers, and controlling budget costs at the same time.
Review and assess
No matter how carefully you’ve trained and continue to monitor safety practices, accidents will occur from time-to-time. In the aftermath, it’s crucial to review circumstances surrounding the claim to evaluate how well your procedures and processes worked and ascertain if there are new developments that need to be built into your plan. Your claims adjuster can be a significant help here, as can your employees who were witnesses to the claim.
Your loss management team at Arrowhead Tribal is also on hand to help you review and assess your tribal government risk plan and implementation. Contact Brett Barnsley or Bob Hallameck to get started.