Local schools board to receive thousands in refund money

The Board of Education in both Bell and Harlan counties are set to get thousands of dollars in refund money from the Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI), the Kentucky Department of Insurance, and Franklin Circuit Court.

The Bell County Board of Education is set to receive $38,441.07, Harlan County Board of Education is set to receive $28,327.61, and Harlan Independent Board of Education will receive $26,284.60.

The refund comes from $4.77 million that is set to be returned to the Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust Worker’s Compensation Fund (KSBIT). The refund is a result of effective management by KEMI to control claims cost.

“I am pleased that KEMI is in the position to provide this refund to KSBIT, and I’m proud of the work by KEMI employees who made it possible,” said Brandon Voelker, chairman of KEMI’s board of directors. “KEMI provided improved service and savings to school districts throughout Kentucky at a time when no other insurance company was willing to offer a competitive solution, and I believe KEMI’s success with KSBIT demonstrates why the company was created the first place.”

In 2014, KEMI accepted $37 million in claims liabilities for KSBIT which was lauded by the Kentucky Department of Insurance as the “softest possible landing for Kentucky school districts and injured workers.” KEMI offered schools interest-free loans and planned to handle the claims at cost. Five years later, KEMI announced plans to return $4.77 million and will be working with the Kentucky Department of Insurance to distribute the funds to former KSBIT members.

“KEMI made a promise to sustain financial stability, maintain strong claims reserves, and deliver both outstanding service and competitive pricing to our policyholders,” said Jon Stewart, KEMI president and CEO. “I can’t believe we’re fulfilling that promise not only to Kentucky’s school districts, but also to all our policyholders.”

The Middlesboro Daily News will be sitting down with Bell County School Board Director Yvonne Gilliam to discuss what this refund means for Bell County and where those funds can expect to be spent. Be sure to pick up Wednesday’s edition of the Middlesboro Daily News for the full story.