LANSING, MI – The Michigan Counties Workers’ Compensation Fund celebrated its 40th anniversary on March 1, having grown from 10 Michigan counties to serving 80 Michigan counties, municipalities and organizations. The fund, designed to save members money amid rising health care costs, returns an average 35 percent in dividends to its members annually. In 2018 alone, the dividend was $3.3 million, the largest in the fund’s history.
“As a long-time board member, it’s so gratifying to see the cycle of innovation and investment leading to better and better results for our members,” said Doug Johnson, president of the fund’s board and a commissioner for Otsego County.
The fund was founded in March of 1979 by a group lead by then Michigan Association of Counties Executive Director, A. Barry McGuire, and ten charter counties. Lack of safety programs and rising claims were making workers’ compensation insurance prohibitively expensive, so the Michigan Legislature enacted laws permitting employers to band together and organize self-funded plans.
From the start, the MCWCF’s Board of Trustees emphasized safety, savings and service. Safety programs were and are the fund’s top goal. Not only is it in the best interests of all members to be as safe as possible, but safety measures reduce claims, which reduces premium costs to members. Those savings are then shared with all members — giving everyone an incentive to take workplace safety seriously. Throughout the process, the fund provides incredible customer service and personal attention to each of its 80 members.
The fund also runs an innovative Loss Prevention Grants Program, where members can apply for grant funds to invest in safety equipment. The grant program, started in 2014, has issued nearly $190,000 in grants for items like security equipment, ergonomic office furniture and employee wellness programs.
“Our Loss Prevention Grants Program continues to make a difference for our members and their employees,” said Timothy K. McGuire, the fund’s executive director. “Of course, the ultimate winners here are taxpayers, who know their public servants are working to reduce injuries and health costs.”
Those values are still the cornerstone of the fund, which retains eight original member counties: Livingston, Delta, Ionia, Otsego, Newaygo, Gogebic, Benzie and Cheboygan. The fund is administrated by CompOne.
“The MCWCF Board of Trustees does an outstanding job with oversight,” says McGuire. “The trustees are committed to making sure the members are given the best service and best return on their dollars.”