The Emergency Service Organization (ESO) Workers’ Compensation Safety Group has earned an annual dividend totaling $90,363 in 2019. Qualifying policyholders in the ESO Safety Group will receive a check for their portion of this dividend in June.
This dividend calculation reflects three years of data. This year’s payout was earned for the 2015-2016 plan year. Unfortunately, no dividend was earned for the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 plan years because losses for these two years exceeded dividend eligibility requirements.
The ESO Safety Group was formed in October of 1999 by VFIS of Texas / WinStar Insurance Group to reduce workers’ compensation premiums for emergency service organizations by offering competitive pricing, premium discounts based on the entire group’s premium volume, customized loss prevention programs, training and educational opportunities, and dividends for good performance. To date, $2,400,538 in dividends have been paid to our group members. Dividends are based on performance and are not guaranteed.
Texas Mutual is the largest writer of workers’ compensation in Texas, as well as the largest writer of safety group programs. Texas Mutual has many free tools to help you prevent workplace accidents and keep your employees and volunteers safe on the job. Log in to your texasmutual.com account to find e-Learning courses, safety training videos, posters and more. In addition, Texas Mutual holds free policyholder events statewide. Find upcoming events at texasmutual.com/events.
The entire group’s loss ratio is the key component in determining whether the group qualifies for a dividend. All members benefit when a collective effort is made to focus on safe workplaces and accident prevention. You can help by continuing to support the program and by training and educating your employees and volunteers about the importance of a safety-conscious work atmosphere.
For more information, contact us at (800) 252-9435 or visit our ESO Safety Group website at esowcgroup.com.
CONGRATULATIONS to the following recipients of the 2019 Emergency Responder Health and Wellness Grant sponsored by VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual! We received a record-breaking 126 grant applications requesting more than $542,000. Award letters will be sent to each of these recipients in the next few days.
· Aledo VFD
· Beckville VFD
· Bowman Community VFD
· Brady FD
· Briar-Reno VFD
· Burkburnett VFD
· Central Community VFD
· Coldspring VFD
· Coleman VFD
· College Mound VFD
· Cookville VFD
· Cove Fire & Rescue
· Crims Chapel VFD
· DCBE/Acton VFD
· Douglass VFD
· Elkhart VFD
· Everman VFD
· Gilmer FD
· Grand Saline VFD
· Greenwood Rural VFD
· Hankamer VFD
· Harleton VFD
· Hubbard VFD
· Idalou VFD
· Indian Creek VFD
· Iowa Park VFD
· Iraan VFD
· Kinney County Fire & Rescue/EMS
· Kountze VFD
· Kress VFD
· La Junta VFD
· Laguna Vista VFD
· Lakeside City VFD
· Lowry Crossing VFD
· Marion VFD
· Mart VFD
· McGregor VFD
· Merkel FD
· Mico VFD
· Mid-County VFD
· Monaville VFD
· Morgan’s Point Resort FD
· Mount Calm VFD
· Mustang VFD
· Navarro County ESD #1 FD
· Needville FD
· Peaster VFD
· Penitas VFD
· Plains VFD
· Potosi VFD
· Quitman VFD
· Raisin VFD
· Rising Star VFD
· Saint Jo VFD & EMS
· San Leon VFD
· Santo VFD
· Silver Creek VFD
· South Anderson County Emergency Vol Corps
· South Polk County VFD
· Springtown VFD
· St Hedwig FD
· Stonewall VFD
· Tanglewood VFD
· Three Rivers VFD
· Tolar VFD
· Tool VFD
· Weldon VFD
· West Mountain VFD
· Wildwood VFD
· Winona VFD
· York Creek VFD
Applications for the 2020 Health & Wellness Grant will open in July/August 2019. Stay tuned!
2019 Emergency Responder Health & Wellness Grant - VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company are once again pleased to sponsor a need-based Health & Wellness Grant program for fire departments and non-profit EMS organizations in Texas. Grants up to $5,000 will be awarded based on financial need and are intended to encourage participation in a health & wellness program to prevent emergency responder deaths and injuries. Departments will need to apply for the grant, expend the funds and then send in copies of receipts in order to receive the grant funds Grant application deadline is December 31, 2018.
Who is eligible:
What is eligible:
How it works:
**THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS DECEMBER 31, 2018.**
DOWNLOAD GRANT APPLICATION HERE
How to Apply:
VFIS of Texas
3420 Executive Center Dr, #301
Austin, TX 78731
Fax to: 512-448-9929
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), along with the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance, the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), and with support from California Casualty, have developed a poster of the 11 best practices for preventing firefighter cancer. The poster provides all fire department leaders and firefighting personnel with specific actions that must be taken to address the cancer epidemic and protect firefighters.
Use these 11 best practices as the basis for fire department standard operating procedures and hang a copy at the station as a reminder of the actions every firefighter needs to follow.
Best Practices for Preventing Firefighter Cancer Poster
December 31 is the deadline to apply for the 2018 VFIS of Texas / Texas Mutual Insurance Company Health & Wellness Grant. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded based on financial need. Health & wellness is very important to help prevent emergency responder deaths and injuries and we encourage all safety group members to apply.
A reminder that December 31 is also the deadline to submit receipts for reimbursement under the 2017 VFIS of Texas / Texas Mutual Safety, Training & Wellness Grant. If your department was awarded a grant this year, please make sure to submit your receipts before the end of December.
If you look forward to going to work every day, oftentimes it’s because of the people you work with. That’s how it was for Josh Paulin. As a valued member of the Classic Construction team, Josh’s special relationship with his employer provided the momentum for his successful return-to-work story. While sealing a roof on the job, Josh fell and nearly lost his life. Josh’s coworkers watched the traumatic accident in devastation as paramedics fought to save him.
When you’re faced with a life-changing event like Josh was, the best outcome is getting back to the life you love. For Josh, getting to that point required learning to walk, talk and read again. Watch Josh’s story and see how Texas Mutual Insurance Company and his employer were by his side every step of the way.
Josh’s story is a perfect example of how valuable a return-to-work initiative is for businesses and injured workers. As a seasoned employee, Josh’s employer was eager to get him back on the team. While continuing rehabilitation, Josh went back to work with modified job duties. He was able to contribute his unique expertise to the company surrounded by coworkers who supported his ongoing recovery. Meanwhile, Josh’s employer had peace of mind over the future of his business.
When a worker sustains life-changing injuries, coming to terms with the new way of life can be a challenge, but a return-to-work program provides countless benefits. Employees can focus on their recovery rather than stress about their financial situation. By being surrounded by team comradery, they avoid isolation from peers and symptoms of depression. Giving injured workers purpose and surrounding them with familiar faces to celebrate recovery milestones promotes quicker healing.
For employers, implementing a return-to-work program maintains production by keeping experienced workers on the job. Bringing on a temporary employee or hiring someone new requires time and effort. Meanwhile, the business loses productivity. Employers who invest in return to work can minimize lost productivity and control workers’ compensation costs, while also encouraging the ongoing recovery of a valued employee.
It was a team effort getting Josh back on the job after his traumatic accident, but it made all the difference. For more resources on return-to-work programs and implementing them in your business, visit the Return-To-Work page at texasmutual.com.
Our ESO Safety Group was recently awarded two top awards from Texas Mutual Insurance Company at the annual Master Agent Meeting. Our group received a safety excellence award for exceeding safety expectations set by Texas Mutual in 2015.
Barbara Marzean, the group’s Master Agent and President of VFIS of Texas, was also awarded the 2016 Safety Group Master Agent of the Year for excellence in group management.
These awards reinforce and validate the efforts of our Safety Group members to continue to promote workplace safety and training. By working safely, our group members also benefit by receiving general dividends and Safety Group dividends for good performance.
Claims for our group tend to involve Motor Vehicle Accidents and Industrial Hygiene/Bloodborne Pathogens.Motor Vehicle Accidents – An estimated 40,000 Americans die on the road each year. The impact on families and businesses is enormous. Authorities cite distracted driving in 80% of traffic accidents. Fatigue is a factor in 100,000 crashes annually. Speeding is involved in about 33% of fatal crashes and more than 60% of people killed in traffic accidents are not wearing seat belts.
SAFE HAND TEXAS FLYER (English)
SAFE HAND TEXAS FLYER (Spanish)
Industrial Hygiene/Bloodborne Pathogens – Texas Mutual offers safety resources relating to these issues in their safety resource center at www.texasmutual.com. Safety resources include on online video titled “Bloodborne Pathogens: Universal Precautions” and a poster titled “Bloodborne Pathogens”. They also have a bloodborne pathogen sample program.
Excerpted from the Firefighter Support Cancer Network document August 2013
What is the Firefighter Cancer Problem? Firefighter cancer is a looming personal catastrophe for each and every firefighter. Cancer is the most dangerous and unrecognized threat to the health and safety of our nation’s firefighters.
Multiple studies, including the soon-to-be-released NIOSH cancer study, have repeatedly demonstrated credible evidence and biologic creditability for statistically higher rates of multiple types of cancers in firefighters compared to the general American population including:
■ Testicular cancer (2.02 times greater risk)
■ Multiple myeloma (1.53 times greater risk)
■ Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (1.51 times greater risk)
■ Skin cancer (1.39 times greater risk)
■ Prostate cancer (1.28 times greater risk)
■ Malignant melanoma (1.31 times great risk)
■ Brain cancer (1.31 times greater risk)
■ Colon cancer (1.21 times great risk)
■ Leukemia (1.14 times greater risk)
■ Breast cancer in women (preliminary study results from the San Francisco Fire Department)
We are just beginning to understand the horrific magnitude of the problem, the depth of our naiveté, the challenges involved and the changes required in education, training, operations, medical screenings and personal accountability to effectively address cancer in the fire service. The signs of firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens are everywhere:
■ Photos appear every day of firefighters working in active and overhaul fire environments with SCBA on their backs but not masks on their faces.
■ Firefighters still proudly wear dirty and contaminated turnout gear and helmets.
■ Some fire instructors wear their carcinogen-loaded helmets and bunker gear as symbols of their firefighting experience.
■ Diesel exhaust, a recognized carcinogen, still contaminates many fire stations — apparatus bays as well as living, sleeping and eating quarters.
■ Many firefighters only have one set of gear which means they are continually re-contaminated from previous fires.
■ Some diesel exhaust systems — even when installed — are not used, are used incorrectly or are poorly maintained.
■ Bunker gear still is stored in apparatus bays where it is bathed in diesel exhaust.
■ Bunker gear goes unwashed for months at a time, even after significant fires.
■ Many volunteers carry their contaminated gear in the trunks of their personal vehicles resulting in superheating and enhanced off-gassing of contaminants into the passenger compartment and sometimes even into their homes.
■ Firefighters put their contaminated gear into the cabs of their apparatus both before and after fires.
■ Some firefighters still take their contaminated bunker pants and boots into sleeping quarters.
■ The interiors of apparatus cabs are rarely decontaminated.
■ Many firefighters do not take showers immediately following fires.
“Pinpointing the cause of cancer is extremely difficult because firefighters are not exposed to just one agent. They are exposed to multiple cancer-causing agents. Because of the multiple exposures and the multiple routes of exposure — they inhale carcinogens and carcinogens are absorbed through the skin — it is also highly unlikely for firefighters to get only one type of cancer,” said Grace LeMasters, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of Cincinnati and the lead author of a 2006 meta-analysis of 32 published studies of cancer in firefighters.
Unfortunately, there is no immediate visible impact of carcinogenic exposure, since the time between exposure to carcinogens and the appearance of malignancies can be 20 years or longer, known as the latency period.
“We are not making this up,” IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said. “The connection between firefighting and cancer is real, and there is scientific data to support our position. But we cannot stop there — we must continue to learn more so we can prevent our members from contracting this horrible disease and help them if they do.”
IAFC VCOS Chairman, Chief Tim Wall agreed. “Cancer does not discriminate between firefighters,” he said. “Volunteers routinely transport bunker gear in their vehicles, wear clothing contaminated after a fire into their homes and expose their families to these carcinogens. This is a terrible problem that requires our full attention and immediate action.”
via Texas Mutual
Texas Mutual’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve a copany-record $240 million dividend distribution in 2016. Qualifying policyholder owners across Texas will share the dividend, which will be distributed beginning in July.
This is the 18th consecutive year the board has voted to distribute policyholder dividends, bringing the total to over $2 billion. Over $1 billion of that has been paid since 2012.
Texas Mutual is owned by its policyholders, not stockholders, which means the company shares its success by distributing dividends to policyholder owners who have made a commitment to preventing workplace accidents and helping injured workers get back on the job.
“Texas Mutual has a long history of rewarding our policyholder owners for their contributions to our success,” said Bob Barnes, chairman of Texas Mutual’s board. “These dividends reward safe business practices and also help our policyholders’ bottom lines. Our policyholder owners play an important role in Texas’ economy, and we know the difference these dividends can make for them.”
Texas Mutual President and CEO Rich Gergasko said the dividend distribution is about more than just financial success and that it also signifies the commitment the company and its policyholders make to keeping workplaces safe.
“Texas Mutual measures success not just in terms of dollars and cents but also in the number of lives saved and accidents prevented when employers place an emphasis on workplace safety,” Gergasko said. “We’re proud to share our success and reward the safety efforts Texas employers make with this year’s dividend distribution.”
Gergasko noted that while Texas Mutual has awarded dividends each year since 1999, they are based on performance and therefore are not guaranteed. Additionally, dividends must comply with Texas Department of Insurance regulations.
ESO WC GROUP
VFIS of Texas