Winter 2023

How Quickly They Fall
By Shawn Bubb, Director of MSGIA Insurance Services

Despite the seasonal, cyclical and, frankly, predictable nature of our situation in Montana, 33-39% of annual statewide claims are for slip and falls in ice and snow.  In fact, year after year, the #1 cause of injuries for our Montana school district employees is slipping and falling on icy, snow-covered ground. Not surprisingly, the financial costs are significant – ranging from $1.5 million to almost $1.9 million – and the personal impacts of these weather-related injuries is equally significant. Read more

Safe Use of Ice Trekkers
By Harry Cheff, MSGIA Risk Management Associate, and Annette Satterly, MSGIA Risk Management Associate

Ice trekkers are metal grips that fit snugly over the bottoms of your shoes or boots and provide improved traction for traversing snow and ice. There are many types of these devices available.

Read more

Bus Accident Prevention
By Matt Komac, MSGIA Assistant Director for Property & Liability Pool Operations

Recently, bus repair costs and time for repairs have increased significantly in our region. This is due to parts shortages as well as labor rates, which in the auto body sector are as high as $160 per hour in certain parts of Montana. This situation is particularly notable in light of the fact that, in FY22, claims involving school busses accounted for nearly 25% of our total PC Pool claim count, wherein the average bus repair was $10,436.  Notably, these costs do not include damage to other vehicles or property, nor do they account for the related costs of injuries that resulted from the accidents.  Read more

Frozen Pipe Prevention
By Matt Komac, MSGIA Assistant Director for Property & Liability Pool Operations

In the last few years, MSGIA has experienced a significant increase in both the frequency and severity of frozen-pipe water losses affecting our members, and these losses are costly and disruptive.  This academic year promises to be no different. In fact, when winter decided to hit this year, it came in full force and hasn’t let up.  Montana has experienced colder average temps throughout the state the last two months, which has already led to frozen-pipe water losses for some of our members.  To be sure, we usually don’t start seeing these types of losses until the holiday break, and they often carry through the coldest winter months into March.  Read more

The Power of Personal Suggestion – Icy Alert Text Messaging
By Shawn Bubb, Director of MSGIA Insurance Services

We hear often that words matter – and they do, especially when it comes to using social psychology to positively influence behavior. This is because how we say things matters as much, and sometimes more, than what we say. Extensive emails, newsy newsletters, and impassioned pleas at all-employee meetings about being safe in the workplace are thus important, but short, well-timed communication bursts can be still more effective, particularly if delivered through a modality that is, in today’s world, highly personal, which is to say by way of our cellphones. Read more

Winter Activities and Field Trips
By Kevin Bartsch, Assistant Director Workers Compensation Pool Operations and
Matt Komac, MSGIA Assistant Director for Property & Liability Pool Operations

It’s that time of year when school districts are planning winter outdoor activities such as ski trips, sledding outings, and ice-skating parties.  Due to the dangerous nature of these types of activities, it is not uncommon to see increased claims associated with injuries, some severe.  These injuries typically involve not only paid staff members but also volunteer chaperones, who are covered by a district’s volunteer endorsement coverage.  Additionally, the potential exists for liability claims under the district's general liability coverage in the event of student injury.  The type of injuries we see can vary greatly from minor strains to full-on ACL or shoulder tears requiring surgical repair, lost time, and significant disruption of the individual’s life.  These can be extremely costly as well (the average surgical ACL or shoulder claim can easily reach $40,000.00-$50,000.00 to address). Read more