facebookTwitter 1  


May 2012

The Mutual Effort Final 3

In This Issue
2012 County Mutual Scholarship Program Open
County Mutual Elections for Board and Officers
Worker's Comp Act Signed by Governor
Overview of Frac Sand in Wisconsin
Local Government Property Insurance Fund Audit
Changes to Hazard Communication Standard
Don't Be in a Rush to "Like" All Social Media
Jodi Traas Receives School Risk Manager Designation
New Rules on the Use of Seclusion/Physical Restraint
School District Child Abuse/Neglect Reporting & Training

Successful Highway Safety Days in the Books

The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation held their inaugural Highway Safety Days this past month for county highway and municipal employees. 

The event was held at two separate locations and dates, May 15th in Rice Lake and May 24th in Stevens Point.

Highway Safety Days included hands-on training from industry leaders and highlighted some of the biggest hazards our employees face every single day.


County Mutual Sponsors Milwaukee County Truck ROADeo


To provide ongoing safety training for Milwaukee County DOT employees, the county's insurer, the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation (County Mutual), in partnership with Local 882 and the Milwaukee County Risk Management Department, hosted the Sixth Annual Milwaukee County DOT Truck ROADeo May 16-17, 2012.






Aegis Corporation Launches New Website

Aegis Corporation, the general administrator of the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation and Community Insurance Corporation, has just launched a new website, which features interactive articles, video and the latest company news.   


Check it out at  






Quick Read: Changes May be Necessary to Local Zoning Rules Regarding Wireless Facilities

As part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, municipalities are required to approve certain applications for modification of "an existing wireless tower or base station." 

In part, the law supersedes Section 332(c)(7) of the Telecommunications Act, which previously granted municipalities broad discretion in siting wireless towers, antennas and other related facilities. 

Learn more about the changes here from Stafford and Rosenbaum's "SR Government Law Short Report."  





Schedule MILO for Your Law Enforcement Today


The County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation own several state-of-the-art firearm training simulators that are available for use free of charge for our member law enforcement agencies.


To schedule either system in your county, please contact Bruce Scott with Aegis Corporation at 800.236.6885.


Quick Links




The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation (County Mutual) is dedicated to serving Wisconsin's counties and local governments and the people they serve by providing long-term stability in insurance coverages, while proactively working to control costs. 

Community Insurance Corporation provides these same services to school districts, cities, towns and villages.

To learn more, contact John Dirkse or Karen Flynn at  [email protected] or [email protected], at 800.236.6885 or online at www.wisconsincountymutual.org
To visit Community Insurance Corporation, click here.




facebook Stay up-to-date on the happenings of the County Mutual by following us on Twitter and becoming a fan on Facebook.  Click on the links here for Community Insurance Corporation's Twitter and Facebook.


To receive The Mutual Effort, click here to subscribe and be sure to include your preferred email address, your name, county/municipality and job title.   


Feel free to forward onto any interested parties and we'll get them on the mailing list as well.  


For questions, contact Michelle Gormican Thompson.   




2012 County Mutual Scholarship Program Now Open 

The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation has announced they are now accepting applications for their 2012 Scholarship Program.

Eligibility Requirements
Applicants must enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited two- or four-year Wisconsin college no later than the fall term of the application year.  Applicant's parent, grandparent, guardian or the applicant must be a county supervisor or employee of a Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation member county.

The County Mutual Scholarship is an annual program, with the application period opening in late spring each year. Scholarship entries will be reviewed and selected by a panel chosen by the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation.  Each student will receive a $2,000 scholarship.  The winners will be announced at the Wisconsin Counties Association's 2012 Annual Conference September 23-25, 2012 in La Crosse County.

Learn more and apply for the scholarship here.
County Mutual Announces Election Results for Board; Officers
Oconto's Rymer Re-Elected President 

Elections were held at the Wisconsin Counties Association's District Meetings in April and May for the County Mutual Board of Directors.  (Note that not every district's representatives were up for election to the board.)

County Mutual members elected at the WCA District Meetings included:

Northwest District:
Hal Helwig, Sawyer County
Dee Kittleson, Bayfield County

West Central District:
Wayne Hendrickson, Clark County
Jess Miller, Barron County

Southern District:
Wayne Wilson, Lafayette County
Andy Ross, Columbia County

North Central District:
Bruce Osterberg, Florence County
Lance Pliml, Wood County

In other action, the County Mutual Board held elections for their officers at a board meeting on Friday, May 18, 2012 in Sheboygan County.  Lee Rymer, Oconto County, was re-elected president of the County Mutual and Forest County's Erhard Huettl was re-elected vice president.  Bill Barribeau of Calumet County was re-elected as Secretary-Treasurer.

"The board of the directors of the County Mutual are at the foundation of the success of this company and we welcome, as well as welcome back, directors who were elected and re-elected recently from their peers," said Josh Bindl, Chief Operating Officer of the County Mutual.  "We also congratulate our officers on their re-election.  Their vision and leadership has helped to guide the County Mutual and we look forward to continuing our work with them."  
Worker's Compensation Act Signed into Law 

capitol night 3On April 2, 2012, Governor Walker signed the Worker's Compensation Act for 2012 (Senate Bill 409).  2011 Wisconsin Act 183 became effective April 17, 2012.  The Worker's Compensation Act serves as the foundation for the worker's compensation system.
What makes the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act unique is that amendments are formulated through a collaborative process involving the primary stakeholders of the system, including labor, management, insurers, medical providers, legislators and staff.  Read the full story here
Legal Bulletin-
Overview of Frac Sand in Wisconsin
By William P. Scott, Partner, Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan, S.C.

On April 20, 2012, the Environment and Land Use Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Counties Association discussed the practical and legal issues of regulating frac sand mining and processing.

"Hydraulic fracturing" is the process by which water, chemicals and sand are pumped into petroleum-bearing formations under high pressure to open fractures in the rock that allow more oil and gas to be extracted. The sand lodges in the fractures and keeps them open to provide an escape route for the oil and gas that would otherwise remain trapped in the rock. The suddenly popular "frac sand" is mined in Wisconsin for out-of-state use in extracting oil and gas.

Local Government Property Insurance Fund Audit Released


The Legislative Audit Bureau recently released an audit of the Local Government Property Insurance Fund.  Read the full audit here.  

As of June 30, 2011 the Local Government Property Insurance Fund, administered by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, insured $50 billion in property in Wisconsin owned by local government.  The 1,087 local governments include: 71 counties, 153 cities, 176 towns, 258 villages, 305 school districts, and 124 other entities.  That is down from the peak of 1,206 local units in 2003.
The Property Fund surplus balance, the amount of net assets available to pay future claims, decreased from $41.2 million June 30, 2009 to $20.5 million June 30, 2011.  The decrease  was due to a $12 million dividend payment in FY 2009-10, and $43.4 million in claims in FY 2010-11.  One weather-related event which occurred in July 2010 resulted in $19.4 million in claims.  During FY 2010-11 the Property Fund was able to recover $18.7 million from excess-of-loss insurers for individual claims over $2.0 million.
OCI uses an insurance industry standard to monitor the adequacy of the surplus balance.  In April 2009 that ratio was 1-to-2.  The dividend payment and increased claims resulted in a ratio of 1-to-1 at the end of FY 2010-11, therefore leaving the Property Fund at risk of not having enough to pay future claims.  OCI approved rate increases of 6.8% for July 1, 2011, and 12% for July 1, 2012, and expects additional rate increases in the future.  Source: The Wheeler Report

Changes to Hazard Communication Standard Effective May 25, 2012


OSHA has finally unveiled the long-awaited changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Almost every workplace will be affected by these changes, which includes the adoption of portions of the UN globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (or GHS).

The former HCS, often referred to as the "worker right-to-know" law, made sure employees were informed about the chemical hazards in the workplace. The new HCS, on the other hand, emphasizes a worker's "right to understand."  Read the full story here from "KellerOnline-The Interactive Safety Management Tool."

OSHA has distributed several "Quick Card" reference tools as well for the new standard, including the "Hazard Communication Standard Pictogram;" "Hazard Communication Standard Labels;" and "Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets."  
School Legal Bulletin-
Don't be in a Rush to "Like" All Social Media

by Christine K. Van Berkum, Phillips Borowski, S.C.

Social networks, instant messaging, blogs, interactive pages, websites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and Wiki pages and sites where video and pictures can be posted such as YouTube are exciting new forums for communication which enable employees to share knowledge, information, express creativity and connect with others. However, social media poses risk of inappropriate communications among local government employees and between employees and the public. Social media also potentially exposes local governments to liability.

With the expansion of social media use, it becomes important for local governments to consider policies regulating its use. This is particularly true in school districts where there is a substantial risk of inappropriate communications, particularly to students.

The following article discusses various legal implications of social media policies as well as recommendations for drafting them.
 Read the full Phillips Borowski article on social media here.
School News-
Jodi Traas Receives Certified School Risk Manager Designation

On Friday, May 25, 2012, Aegis Risk Management Consultant Jodi Traas received her Certified School Risk Manager Designation (CSRM) at the Wisconsin Association of School Board Officials (WASBO) Spring Conference.  She was a part of the first graduating class and she is also the co-chair of the Safety & Risk Management Committee.  

The designation is recognized by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and WASBO.  DPI, WASBO & The National Alliance had representatives present that gave the class their designation.  Community Insurance Corporation has been a large proponent of the designation and has supported our insured school districts by covering a representative's course tuition to receive the designation. 
School Legal Bulletin-
Be Prepared for New Rules on the Use of Seclusion & Physical Restraint of Students
by Ron Stadler, Partner, Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan, S.C.

Effective September 1, 2012 Wisconsin will regulate the use of seclusion and restraint for students. The newly created 115.787(2)(i), Wis. Stats. regulates the use of seclusion and restraint for special education students and 118.305 Wis. Stats regulates the use of seclusion and physical restraint with regular education students.

The new law applies to employees of a public or charter school, student teachers, and contracted individuals such as CESA employees and student teachers.  Read the full article by Ron Stadler
School News-
School District Child Abuse & Neglect Mandatory Reporting & Training 

The Department of Public Instruction has implemented a training program that deals with new mandatory reporting for school districts of child abuse and neglect, as well as the UW System.

The training comes as a result of 2011 Wisconsin Act 81. Learn more here about Executive Order #54. 

Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation

22 East Mifflin Street Madison, WI  53718 866.404.2700




Community Insurance Corporation

22 East Mifflin Street Madison, WI  53718 866.404.2700



"The Mutual Effort" is provided as a service to the members of the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation ("County Mutual")
and Community Insurance Corporation ("CIC") and other Internet users and is published by Aegis Corporation. It is derived from sources believed to be accurate and current as of the date of publication. However, the County Mutual makes no warranty and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information herein.  "The Mutual Effort Online" is provided for general information only, and is not intended as legal advice.  Any links to other sites within this publication are not endorsements of any products or services in such sites, and no information in such site has been endorsed or approved by County Mutual. Unauthorized republication of any copyrighted material from this site or sites to which we link, without the copyright owner's permission, is strictly prohibited.