Looking To The Future With AGRiP: Insurance Pools Leverage Technology To Lower Risk And Liability Claims For Members

The Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP) is the leading national association for pool management, as well as the recognized authority on and informational resource for intergovernmental risk and benefits pooling. These pools cover the full spectrum of public entity organizations: state agencies, higher education, public education, all forms of local government, health care facilities, and not-for-profit organizations. They also provide a wide range of property, casualty, workers’ compensation, and employee benefits programs for their members. AGRiP has spent more than two decades energizing the power of public entity pools, making member organizations more effective, collaborative, and informed.

With more than 215 member pools, AGRiP has a compelling history but their real focus is on the future. It’s this forward-thinking approach that made it obvious to Neil Hooper, COO of STOPit Solutions, that the leader in mobile, anonymous reporting technology needed to attend the 2019 Governance & Leadership Conference, March 3rd-6th.

“The sessions are insightful and the opportunity to share experiences with industry peers is extremely valuable,” said Hooper. “Pressing issues like SAM claims as well as emerging issues like cyber security are affecting many pools and their members, and it’s important to spend time sharing experiences. We are honored to be able to participate as a core solution for public entities and their risk management teams.”

This year’s Governance & Leadership conference, themed Navigating Change, focused on on thought diversity and inclusivity in the public entity pooling environment. In addition to traditional sessions on leadership and governance, this year’s conference included an increased emphasis on best practices for leveraging technology, making it obvious that AGRiP isn’t relying on its history when serving customers — it’s setting a course for a better future that includes lowering risk and liability for all customers.

New and emerging technology presents an important opportunity for all industries, including insurance pools. Neil Hooper went to St. Louis with colleague Jeff Schobel to meet with these governing bodies to share the latest analytics and trends gleaned from STOPit’s incident management tools so that insurance pool partners know and understand the value—both operationally and and to the member—of technologies like STOPit.

“STOPit has emerged as the leader in K12, and over the past year we have emerged as a leader in the workplace setting for municipal pool employees as well,” said Hooper. “Working to reduce claims for our partners and sharing the success stories of using STOPit reporting to address behavior issues before they spiral out of control is a wonderful experience.”

The School Pool for Excess Liability Limits Joint Insurance Fund (SPELL JIF) program, a joint insurance fund for 76 public school districts in New Jersey, is one example of how STOPit is utilized by pools. The pool is paying for schools to use the STOPit app to reduce bullying, assist school safety, and reduce the risk of claims and exposure to claims.

“The response that boys will be boys and girls will be girls, that’s just not acceptable anymore,” says Scott Tennant, Deputy Executive Director of SPELL JIF. “That’ll cost you money, and if you’re an insurer you know that’ll cost you a lot of money.”

SPELL JIF provides STOPit to its member schools as an effective tool to report cyberbullying issues and other misconduct. The sophisticated analytics tools which enable schools to collect and interpret their reporting data is what separates the award-winning STOPit app from its competition. By utilizing one of several highly customizable reporting tools included in the STOPit Solution, schools can easily spot signs of ongoing problems or patterns that can help predict – and ultimately thwart – future issues.

“(STOPit) provides the opportunity for us to learn immediately about things that are occurring, to have correct information and to intervene quickly,” says Tennant. “That reduces that claim stream and for every one of those events, we can check off $100,000-plus saved.”

Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/doIpKuDJDIs

Speakers at the AGRiP conference provided practical advice on dynamic new ways public pools can approach coverage, claims, litigation, and risk management, including how anonymous reporting is making an positive impact. As a risk management resource, the STOPit Insurance Solution offers insurance partners valuable data and insights about patterns and trends across their insurance members. With STOPit, insurance partners are better positioned to understand behavior, stop issues before they become claims, facilitate compliance, and gain insight into where there are opportunities for risk mitigation resources. This puts the future in the hands of those providing and utilizing anonymous reporting apps like STOPit.

Innovative approaches are not just forward-thinking: they may help better risk management and reduce the cost and pervasiveness of claims for preventable behavior-based liability issues. And anonymous reporting technologies can be an important and enterprising part of this solution, as insured individuals are empowered to step forward and report issues safely and in the way people communicate today—on their phone and on the go. By utilizing technologies like STOPit, insureds can stop reacting to issues and start preventing them.

“At STOPit we are making massive investments in people, processes, and innovative technology,” said Hooper. “The benefits of reducing risk and addressing liability concerns is delivering benefits to our pools by reducing claims, and to their members by helping reinforce a positive culture and climate.”

For more information about STOPit for your company or organization, call now and speak with one of our insurance solutions experts.

New Year Brings New Resolve for Students Ready to Report Bullying

STOPit school administrators, have you seen a few more reports from your students right after the holidays? There is a reason associated with that and here we will share our findings and research.

Unlike what schools typically see a few weeks after opening day — when bullies zero in on their targets and start getting aggressive — many of reports can be taken as a positive sign. Research show that what you’ll see shortly after winter break are students getting long-festering troubles off their chests so they can enjoy a peaceful, productive second half of the school year.

Why? As it turns out, there’s no place like home for the holidays.

“When the students go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, they have more chances to speak with their older siblings or other trusted family members,” STOPit Solutions Chief Revenue Officer Neil Hooper said. “Over these breaks, students spend extended time with their family, and for college students in particular, it may have been a number of weeks since they last visited home. They often get the guidance they need over these breaks to understand that what they have been experiencing is not acceptable and they need to report what they have seen.”

Emboldened by these discussions, the students take steps necessary to make things right – talking to teachers, acting as upstanders and yes, anonymously reporting issues. According to Hooper, a review of data submitted to STOPit’s 3,000 school customers shows a brief but very valuable statistical increase in reports in the weeks following the long winter break vs. the average for the year.

“We certainly know that there is stress around the holidays, and that not everyone’s holiday break is positive,” Hooper said. “This family stress can be a source of reporting. However, the largest impact of a holiday break is positive.”

STOPit helps ensure that the act of reporting does not add to students’ stress. The mobile app was designed to feel as familiar as possible to today’s generation of digital natives, functioning and appearing just like a text message. Users can count on the knowledge that their conversations will remain completely anonymous, until or unless they choose to identify themselves. For schools that don’t have the staff available to respond to STOPit reports on holidays and other off hours, STOPit also offers a 24/7 monitoring service.

Those assigned to administer STOPit in their schools can return from the break prepared to take advantage of the windfall of information and act to address issues that were kept out of their view.

“School administrators should not only be ready for their return, but this opportunity should be cherished,” Hooper said. “Encouraging students to open up and let their parents be parents, and encouraging students to reflect with their family is an important process. Let’s not forget that helping students is not just for the schools, but for the parents as well.”

This post-holiday surge is just one example of the important, nationwide trends being gleaned through data collected by STOPit schools across the country. In addition to these universal insights, individual schools can also benefit from analytics particular to their own, unique community. Using the STOPit Admin tool, schools can easily identify trends impacting their own students, allowing counselors and educators to prepare and respond to potential opportunities and challenges in the way best suited for their special school community. And with a suite of carefully curated social-emotional learning content now available through the mobile app, schools can easily make positive content available to their students to help them build resiliency on topics most impactful to that student community.

Call us to learn more about how educators are using the insights from STOPit analytics to provide better protection for their students.

How Workplaces Are Integrating Data and Anonymous Reporting To Satisfy Compliance Requirements and Improve Company Culture

Time will tell, but employers may look back at 2018 as the year we finally got honest about the impact of harassment and intimidation in the workplace. Using social media as a megaphone, professionals from Hollywood to Main Street proclaimed “no more” to misconduct that had long been pervasive in every industry and nearly every office building. Norms for what’s considered acceptable behavior have evolved, and employers are looking forward to take better advantage of tools that educate their staff, empowering them to address issues before they become problems. Companies that don’t are taking unnecessary risks.

And while there’s been no shortage of headlines about events of the past in the #MeToo era, Roger Duffield, President of in2vate, believes the vast majority of executives want to put protections in place for the future of their corporations. They just don’t always know how.

“I don’t think the right information is getting to decision makers,” Duffield said. “They’re ready to take positive steps, but they don’t have the right data. If they can see what they need to do, they’ll do it.”

The Solution: Introducing Enterprise Risk Technology

More and more business leaders are taking those positive steps with the deployment of enterprise risk technology, software that can help companies assess their current culture, identify areas for improvement, gather information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit, implement best practices for conforming with regulations, and train employees on timely topics.

In2vate was one of the first providers of valuable services and it’s leveraged its experience and integration with STOPit to create a customizable and scalable software package that is particularly effective for businesses with distinct corporate cultures.

“Companies need a risk-management solution that over-delivers on their need for information and plugs them into easy to implement, cost effective solutions,” said Duffield.

The effectiveness of enterprise risk technology was proven recently when an in2vate customer, an insurer with over 200 government clients in its pool, needed to perform an audit on all of their policies and handbooks and identify documents and forms in need of an immediate update as well as urgent training needs.

In2vate developed a 30-question survey and a simple interface that allowed the agencies to upload their documents and collect specific, actionable information for each organization. Within 45 days, they had nearly 90 percent participation — highly unusual for large-scale assessment projects — and all the information necessary to match every one of the participants with tools and resources they needed to accomplish all their compliance and organizational management goals.

“We were amazed at the level of disclosure that the clients provided,” Duffield said. “It would have taken them years to collect the data with any other method.”

Powering Up Data with Anonymous Reporting

When it comes to data collection for risk assessment, companies are recommending anonymous reporting as another opportunity to collect valuable data.

Now offering an anonymous reporting option to employees, organizations and partners like In2vate are taking proactive steps to ensure better compliance with legal obligations and, as importantly, encouraging employees to feel safe and empowered to report malfeasance and harassment. Anonymous reporting services are highly effective for getting real-time, first-person information about workplace warning signals as well as threats, helping managers identify and address workplace problems before they take root and ultimately preserving an office’s positive atmosphere.

STOPit Solutions is in2vate’s provider of choice in anonymous reporting and incident management. STOPit’s reporting and investigation tools are a natural fit with in2vate’s philosophy of reporting, investigating and taking action. “STOPit and in2vate help deliver critical data into the hands of decision makers so they can implement necessary changes,” Duffield said. “Organizations can take advantage of enterprise risk technology to help identify red flags and address them early, and STOPit can help with that.”

The More You Know

Duffield is quick to point out to clients that though the right data and the right tools to collect that information are vital, “Continuous improvement depends on continuous learning. A company who wants to maximize results takes the results of reporting and assessment and then connects management and employees with education content rooted in proven, actionable solutions.”

For instance, in2vate offers its clients some of its industry-specific and legal content through weekly bulletins covering topics ranging from sexual harassment and discrimination to what goes in a personnel file. It’s a cost-effective means for ensuring first-line managers and supervisors are up to speed on critical workplace issues.

They also offer comprehensive training content that’s delivered online. All modules are developed using established, best-practices, like TRAC (Teamwork • Respect • Awareness • Communication) – is a multi-purpose workplace module for all employees that reinforces efforts to prevent workplace wrongdoing and makes employees aware of issues important to organizations, such as tolerance and diversity. Sensitivity Basics is another highly utilized module about what sensitivity is and what it is not. Topics include sexual insensitivity, stereotyping, and faith in the workplace. The company also curates an easy-to-search Legal Synopsis library with hundreds of articles covering a wide range of topics.

Thanks to its partnership with STOPit, in2vate provides its knowledge content for STOPit’s Resource Center, an online library for STOPit clients that helps organization administrators address issues efficiently and effectively based on best practices and professionally researched content. So far, in2vate has provided over 1,000 articles to assist administrators via the library of STOPit Premium Resources. Customers from enterprises through public school districts get enormous value out of being able to address employee and student concerns with the help of this content, all from within the STOPit Admin console.

Call STOPit today to learn more about how companies are using mobile technology to promote and protect their corporate cultures.

Students Return to a New School Year and The Data Shows Bullies Are Scouting for Targets

The summer is rapidly drawing to a close and that means parents are scrambling to make the final preparations for a new school year. They’re taking their kids for fresh haircuts, buying new fall wardrobes and raiding stationery aisles for pencils, notepads and Trapper Keepers.

The excitement is in the air for the students, too. What teachers will I have? Who’s going to be in my class? What were my friends up to all summer?

But for some students, the wave of good feeling may be overshadowed by anxiety over bullying. An analysis of data aggregated during the 2017-2018 school year from the roughly 2,300 schools using the STOPit app last year reveals a clear trend – the first days of school are a prime window of time for bullies to scout their targets for the year.

When the school doors open, administrators will initially see a minor blip in incidents. Then, like clockwork, a major spike will follow two to four weeks later.

“This is traditional bullying behavior,” said STOPit Solutions’ Neil Hooper. “School opens. The aggressor finds the most vulnerable kids. They do some test bullying, and then the climate goes downhill from there.”

But even as the threat of bullying exists, positive, successful interventions are also available and are being included in school culture more, each year. Beyond their core mission of educating students, the devoted teachers and administrative staff of schools throughout the country strive to provide a positive, safe learning environment free of such pressures.

The diversity of student bodies is being celebrated in schools like never before and successful initiatives such as National Bullying Awareness Month — well timed in October to counter the surge in activity — are helping kids understand the importance of looking out for their classmates. All schools have safety protocols based on best practices, and that has increasingly entailed leveraging technology to empower kids against threats like bullying.

“Although we hear about all the dangers and pitfalls of technology, I have seen the STOPit program flip the tables and use technology to combat bullying and suicidal ideation,” said Dr. Robb Killen, Supervisor of Counseling and Mental Health for the Maury County (Tenn.) Public Schools. “Adults cannot be everywhere in the school building, but our students are everywhere. With this program they can, more easily, stand up for each other and create a culture of safety, caring, and respect.”

The fact is that many, more series consequences have been prevented by schools that have introduced programs to identify and report issues that may be leading up to tragic events. Programs like STOPit are becoming increasingly popular as districts want to start managing early warning signals – like harassment, bullying, substance abuse, threats and cyber abuse.

To combat these threats — often less obvious but still requiring intervention — parents, teachers and administrators need to talk to students right away to make sure they understand their options for leaving an anonymous report if they, or someone they know, becomes a victim of bullying.

Take the case of the Fairfax School District in Bakersfield, California, which started its academic year in August and immediately began working to get its student body acquainted with the STOPit system. According to a report via the area’s ABC News affiliate, the app has gained a foothold since being introduced in the spring, {with over 200 reports filed by students to date}.

“It’s another tool for us to interact with our students in a manner,which otherwise, they probably would not,” Fairfax Superintendent Michael Coleman said. “If we can help one child that otherwise would not be helped, than why not do that? That’s our role. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

With the help of tools like STOPit, kids have a chance to become upstanders in the face of harassers. Without throwing a punch or risking embarrassment in the face of their peers, they can cut out a whole lot of dreading with a little bit of “letting” – letting a school administrator know about a problem and then letting them handle it.

Contact STOPit to learn more about how your school can empower kids to create a safer culture in the classroom.

Nationally Recognized Anti-Bullying Resource Partner Leverages Behavioral Analytics to Offer Best in Class Services

What’s past is prologue. True for human history, and even so with bullying in K-12 schools.

Thanks to insight gained from a robust program to collect and analyze reporting data submitted through the STOPit mobile app, clear trends emerge in every school, predicting when reports of bullying tend to ebb and flow. Knowing when an incident is most likely to occur can be the key to helping you STOPit.

STOPit is known first and foremost as a means for students to anonymously report bullying and other misconduct. But what separates the award-winning app from its competitors are its sophisticated analytics tools which enable schools to collect and interpret their reporting data. Using one of several, sophisticated and highly customizable reporting tools included in the STOPit solution, schools can easily spot signs of ongoing problems or patterns that can help predict – and ultimately thwart – future issues.

“As companies become more data-driven each day, STOPit’s ability to collect Behavioral Analytics data can be very helpful to schools,” said Julianne Shillington, Assistant Vice President, Specialty Markets, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. “Behavioral Analytics can help schools identify common trends and patterns of bullying and aid them in planning ahead to respond and protect their communities and students in an efficient manner.”

For example, researchers at STOPit recently conducted an analysis of all reporting activity among the nearly 2,300 participating schools nationwide for the 2017-18 school year and found some common threads with the two previous years. Perhaps the most notable was the major spike in reports that took place about two to four weeks into all three school years. STOPit Solutions Chief Revenue Officer Neil Hooper said the data points to a universal bullying pattern that schools should plan for.

“School opens, the aggressor finds the most vulnerable kids, they do some test bullying and then they start to get very aggressive and the climate goes downhill from there,” Hooper said. “If you did nothing else, I would ask that you buy STOPit and use it for the first month, because that will catch some behavior early that you can address and then you may not have some of these incidents later on.”

According to Hooper, schools can count on seeing dips in reports over the fall-winter holidays, followed by another surge when students return to school. There’s also a rise in reports during October’s National Bullying Prevention Month as assemblies and class discussions encourage kids to confront the issue, and modest increases in incidents around high school finals and proms.

As one might expect, STOPit’s analytical data clearly demonstrates that the most dramatic surges in reports are often found in the wake of national tragedies. School shooting incidents tend to make students anxious and more eager to pass along tips, while at the same time inspiring a wave of threats. In the wake of the February 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, STOPit saw the largest nationwide spike in reports in its history.

There’s good news embedded along with this sobering perspective, however. Commenting on the the uptick in reporting immediately after these crises, Hooper said,“We had at least two incidents (last year) where a copycat, a potential criminal, was beginning to speak about how they intended on shooting up their school.”. “It was reported on STOPit, police were engaged, and those issues were addressed.”

Stories like this illustrate, perfectly, one of the most significant, distinguishing features of the STOPit app — the ability to report, monitor and respond as is most appropriate for each school, incident by incident. K-12 administrators can set up their procedure so that incidents that are best handled by the school remain with the school and only those incidents that rise to the level of criminal behavior are reported to the police.

As more and more schools adopt STOPit as part of their safety and security protocols, STOPit continues to leverage analytics and customer feedback to offer more value and more options for partners. For instance, we have found that as cyberbullying has increased, the average time of the day that a report is logged has moved from 4pm to 6pm. This clear data, resulting from our analytical studies, led us to adding a 24 hour monitoring service, so schools can now be sure that STOPit is monitoring those after hours reports throughout the evening and all the way through the night.

Additionally, recent events prompted a number of customers to ask that a panic call-in number be included with the App. As a direct response to this urgent customer request, STOPit now has a call center for individuals to call in emergency tips, and this call center number can now be sorted to the top of our other resource center contacts.

Clear, Actionable Data Enables Better Solutions

Here’s a snapshot of key analytics from the recently published the US K-12 2017-2018 Activity Report:

  • The top five most frequently reported incident types (in order) were misconduct, harassment, bullying, substance abuse and threats.
  • The highest number of incidents are reported at 6 p.m. The day of the week with the highest number of reports was Thursday.
  • The average school fielded 31.6 reports per year, or just over three per month.
  • Average time spent in the STOPit Admin module: 5 minutes and 7 seconds.

These statistics present compelling insights into important, nationwide trends, gained through data submitted from a diverse range of schools across the country. For even greater insight into individual school communities, STOPit’s easy-to-use STOPit Admin platform gives administrators the tools to instantly generate reports that tell the unique stories of what’s going on with their own students in their own schools.

Call us to learn more about the STOPit solution.

Community Insurance Corporation Gives K-12 Clients A Valuable Tool to Help Fight Bullying in Schools

How a Wisconsin Insurance Pool Reduced Claims with STOPit

For the Wisconsin-based Community Insurance Corporation (CIC), claims involving bullying and hazing in schools had become a growing area of concern in recent years. The question, then, was what to do about it?

“We had done the most we could to combat it from a training and awareness perspective, by reaching out to teachers and school administrators,” said CIC Director of Client Services Josh Dirkse. “But the biggest population that we were never able to reach was students. They’re busy being taught and we never seemed to have the opportunity to get in front of them.”

When CIC executives heard about the STOPit anonymous reporting platform from a reinsurance partner, they felt so confident in the solution that they decided to make their member school districts an offer too good to pass up. CIC bought up a bulk package of licenses and offered them to interested schools at only half the price.

It was a bold strategy for a member-owned mutual which has an obligation to keep its expenses as low as possible. However, Dirkse said the investment was well worth it considering the benefits, including increased response times by administrators and an improved flow of information from students that helps get problems under control before they escalate. Schools that have launched STOPit through the insurance pool have embraced the technology and are using it with great success, he said.

“The consensus is that it is a vast improvement over their past reporting services, which were, if they were sophisticated, something like online Google forms, or if they weren’t sophisticated, drop boxes outside of the principal’s office where they could fill out pieces of paper and leave them behind,” Dirkse said. “We’ve heard nothing but good things, and we’ve talked to a number of people from a number of levels in the schools.”

A Tool for Big Data

CIC has also been pleasantly surprised by the level of raw data they’ve been able to access and analyze through the system. While reports submitted through STOPit are always anonymous, metadata culled from the reports can offer insights into trends taking place in schools and inform an insurer’s risk management efforts.

“Nine times out of 10, we won’t see the kind of incidents that are reported through the STOPit app because they don’t necessarily result in claims,” Dirkse said.

Dirkse noted that CIC has found “a ton of value” in the STOPit Admin incident management tool, which is a clearinghouse for information about incidents, as well as the ability to generate reports about the data. As time goes by and more data is aggregated, Dirkse said CIC can further tailor its work to address the areas that emerge as needs, by offering training or other services to staff at schools. These and other STOPit features ultimately present the dual advantage of keeping kids safe while making solid economic sense, he said.

CIC finds that STOPit is a simple, fast and secure platform for reporting and managing any type of harmful or inappropriate behavior by their schools. With a simple mobile app, STOPit instantly and anonymously connects students with those individuals who can resolve school safety issues directly with their school administrators, or escalated to local law enforcement.

No one has time for cumbersome processes these days, so the platform setup only takes 30 minutes for a district and school rollout is as simple as booking a pre-programmed assembly or in-class activity. In addition, STOPit can provide an expertly designed, easy-to-use toolkit that can be customized to make the rollout easier.

Find out more about how districts can lower the number of claims and reduce the number of bullying incidents in schools. Click below to contact us.

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