SDPAA—A Year in Review

The Year 2018 marked the 31st anniversary of the South Dakota Public Assurance, which was formed during the 1980’s insurance crisis when local governments could not secure affordable liability insurance, if any, from private insurance companies.  Out of necessity, visionaries from local governments across South Dakota successfully spearheaded enabling legislation through the SD Legislature to create their own risk sharing pool to provide property and liability coverage for their fellow local governments.  Today, the SDPAA has expanded to 427 Members across South Dakota, including counties, municipalities, townships, and special districts.  From its inception, the SDPAA has distinguished itself by providing exceptional services to its Members.  As part of their Membership, SDPAA Members receive free loss control surveys and property valuations.  At any time, SDPAA Members can also consult with experienced and knowledgeable SDPAA staff, who are public employees with a unique appreciation of the risks faced by local governments in South Dakota.  The SDPAA has proven to be the best option for coverage for local governments in South Dakota by providing stable pricing and the broadest coverages available that are uniquely tailored to meet the specific needs of our Members. 

The key to the SDPAA’s success is simple:  it was formed by, it is for the benefit of, and consists entirely of local governments in South Dakota. We are not beholden to out-of-state shareholders. The SDPAA’s Board of Directors is comprised of representatives of its local government Members.  The SDPAA’s staff is comprised of public employees who have unique experience serving local governments in South Dakota.  The SDPAA utilizes local service providers for loss control and claims adjusting who have considerable experience serving the unique needs of our Members.

SDPAA Board of Directors News

At the SDPAA’s Annual Membership meeting in Pierre in October, Mike Wiese, Brown County Commissioner, and Mike Hall, City of Sioux Falls Risk Manager, were re-elected to three-year terms on the Board.  At the Board’s December meeting, the Board appointed Jim Borszich, retired President/CEO of the Greater Huron Development Corporation, to fill a vacant Municipal seat on the Board, which will be subject to election to serve the remaining two years of its three-year term at the 2019 Annual Meeting.  The Board also elected the following officers for 2019:

                        Chair:                          Tracy Turbak, City Finance Director, Sioux Falls, retired

                        Vice Chair:                  Mike Wiese, Brown County Commissioner

                        Secretary/Treasurer:  Jim Borszich, City of Huron

                        At Large:                     Steve Harding, Mayor of Pierre

The SDPAA’s continued success has been the result of the dedicated and tireless efforts of its Board, staff, service providers, and Members.

As we approach the Year 2019, we will not rest on our laurels.  We will continue to look for new and innovative ways to provide exceptional service to our Members.  We are proud to announce a new service starting in 2019 for our Members who have liability coverage: 

SDPAA offers Government Practices Hotline:

Currently, SDPAA Members who have liability coverage may contact the Employment Practices Hotline (EPH) free of charge for up to one hour to consult with local expert attorneys on employment law topics.  Approximately 100 calls are made every year to the EPH by SDPAA Members.  Starting in 2019, the SDPAA will offer a similar hotline for any governmental-related questions, which will be called the Government Practices Hotline (GPH).  Similar to the EPH, the GPH will provide SDPAA Members who carry liability coverage up to one hour of free legal advice from South Dakota Legal Experts on a wide variety of civil legal issues, including:   elections, planning/zoning, open meetings, public records requests, environmental compliance, and Tax Incremental Financing.

The GPH attorneys will be either State’s Attorneys, City Attorneys, or expert transactional and litigation counsel who regularly serve local government clients.  Each of these attorneys has extensive experience in local government law to assist our Members.  This service is intended to support, not replace, your existing legal advisor.  GPH attorneys will be encouraged to work with you and your existing legal advisor to provide the necessary advice for you to effectively and legally serve your constituents.    

SDPAA will offer enhanced training opportunities:

The SDPAA already provides its Members with thousands of hours of training opportunities as part of their Membership.  The SDPAA also co-hosts a Safety and Loss Control Training Conference each year providing hundreds of attendees training seminars on a variety of subjects.  This past year, the SDPAA, through Safety Benefits, Inc., one of its service providers, provided 496 hours of training through 127 training sessions to 3,463 attendees throughout the state.  Thus far this year, SDPAA also provided on-line training to 60 Members with 3,186 courses.  Through a shared Media Library, 36 Members have been provided with 136 training videos.  The SDPAA will expand these opportunities in 2019:

.           The SDPAA is a co-sponsor of new Crisis Intervention Training for all law enforcement officers throughout South Dakota.  A combination of class-room and on-line training will assist law enforcement officers in dealing with those who may have a mental illness.  This training is a joint effort of the SDPAA, the State of South Dakota, the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

.           The SDPAA is seeking to provide additional law enforcement training for those communities who may address civil disobedience issues in the near future.  More to come. 

If you are a Member of the SDPAA, then you are already enjoying these services and many other benefits.  If you are not a Member, then please consider what your local government could gain from the availability of these additional services.  The SDPAA is uniquely situated to assist you as we all travel along our public service journey.           

David Pfeifle
SDPAA Executive Director