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County saves on workers' comp

Due to cost containment and joint risk sharing with a number of other counties, Otter Tail County's annual workers' compensation premium was reduced from nearly $400,000 to about $50,000 in 2011.

Otter Tail County is one of 81 members of the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust. The trust is a joint risk sharing entity established by county commissioners in 1979 as a mechanism to pool resources to provide property, casualty and workers' compensation coverage, claims handling and risk control services to its members.

"Our recent workers' compensation audit return is the result of the many cost-saving measures that Otter Tail County has implemented since 2010, when the county's original estimates were submitted," said Karen Lundin, the county's Human Resources/Risk Management Coordinator.

As a result of the ongoing dedication of the trust's members to prevent losses and control risk, members enjoy cost effective coverage that is tailored to meet the unique exposures of public entities. Members also benefit with long-term stable rates.

"When the trust as a whole has positive development in claims and better than expected return on investments, the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust has been able to return fund balance to members as a dividend," said Lundin. "As shown in the recent presentation to the Otter Tail County board, (the trust) has returned more than $2.9 million to county members in the form of...dividends. All this translates to savings for taxpayers."

The workers' compensation dividend returned to Otter Tail County was $333,356. Also factored in was a payroll return, due to estimates that exceeded the actual payroll for the year.