Member Spotlight: ACWA JPIA – August 2019

  • by Will Holbert
  • Aug 16, 2019
  • Newsletters

ACWA JPIA staff pose for a group photo outside their Roseville headquarters.

The water industry contains more than its share of hazards, risks and innumerable things that could go wrong. Accidents, natural disasters, lawsuits and liabilities do not make the job of leading California’s water system any easier. Nevertheless, ACWA members have a significant advantage when it comes to minimizing risk and maximizing peace of mind, and this year marks having this advantage for 40 years.

Celebrating its ruby anniversary throughout 2019, the ACWA Joint Powers Insurance Authority has evolved from a risk sharing pool into a comprehensive suite of member services. ACWA created ACWA JPIA in 1979 to help members address the soaring costs of liability insurance. The newly minted ACWA JPIA immediately saved members up to 30% on their insurance programs and has been proving its worth ever since. 

Since that humble beginning with two employees, $2 million in revenue and 83 members, ACWA JPIA steadily grew its value to the ACWA community by adding workers’ compensation and employee benefits coverage. In addition, members receive assistance with training, developing job descriptions, writing employee handbooks and establishing personnel policies and procedures.

Today, 90% of its original membership remains among nearly 400 ACWA JPIA members, a partnership backed by $176 million in annual revenue as of 2018. CEO Andy Sells leads a staff of 50 professionals at ACWA JPIA’s Roseville headquarters outside Sacramento. A JPIA Board of Directors composed of a representative from each member agency steers the dynamic organization. 

Unlike commercial insurers, ACWA JPIA has no stockholders, no profit margin and no sales commission to get in the way of the services provided to members, who then pass along savings to customers. With no income taxes, premium taxes and property taxes, the organization is able to return money from excess funds and investments to the member agencies, instead of retaining it as profit. In 2018, that totaled $4.5 million in refunds to 193 members. 

Now, ACWA JPIA is on track to save members even more money through the creation of the California Water Insurance Fund, in industry parlance a “captive insurance company,” a self-insurance strategy that will also broaden options for further investment. ACWA JPIA also expanded its services a few years ago by launching a Leadership Development Program for general managers and other senior staff at water agencies. 

As many services as it provides, ACWA JPIA’s core mission is providing the broadest possible affordable insurance coverage to member agencies. Essentially, its job is providing peace of mind and a safer work environment for water agencies across California. 

“A core motivation for us is ‘How can we help our members be even more successful?’” Sells said. “It’s this question that has led to expanded programs, coverages, services and training. We like to think of ourselves as partners in the water industry.”

A lot of ACWA JPIA’s success relies on innovation and adaption to changing conditions in the workplace and environment. Significant claims that shaped ACWA JPIA include the increasing severity and frequency of employment practice liability claims, in excess of $3 million during some years. ACWA JPIA identified increased employee training as a solution combined with establishing a hotline. ACWA JPIA has addressed more than 5,000 questions or issues through the hotline since its creation in 2008, with only a single claim being litigated.

Wildfires have placed the entire insurance industry under heavy stress. During 2017, wildfire losses among ACWA members ran in excess of $2 million, much of that uninsured. ACWA JPIA worked to resolve that issue by obtaining new coverage to strengthen member protection from financial impacts outside of their control.

“Given the turbulent nature of today’s liability risks, JPIA has excelled in anticipating member needs and developing effective tactics, services and programs to meet the unique insurance needs of water agencies,” said Steve LaMar, who as ACWA Vice President also serves on the ACWA JPIA Executive Committee. “I congratulate JPIA and staff on a job well done throughout a 40-year history.”


Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Comment Letter: ACWA and CMUA Comment on OEHHA Draft Report

Agencies: ACWA and California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) Subject: Comments on the Public Review Draft Mapping Tool and Draft Report, Achieving […]

2019 Summary of Legislation

ACWA’s 2019 Summary of Legislation provides concise information on legislation enacted in the first year of the 2019-’20 legislative session that […]

Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA’s 2019 Regulatory Summit Materials

Water managers and water quality specialists attended the ninth annual ACWA Regulatory Summit on Oct. 17 to learn about the […]

Coalition Letter on Water Loss Regulations

Agency: ACWA, CMUA and various water agencies Subject: Comments on the Development of Water Loss Performance Standards and Economic Model […]

2019 Summary of Appellate Cases

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: Direct Potable Reuse Framework Second Edition

Agency: ACWA  Subject: ACWA Comment Letter – Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) Framework Second Edition Description: The Association of California Water […]

Beyond the Brink: California’s Watershed

ACWA has co-sponsored a new educational video, “Beyond the Brink: California’s Watershed” to highlight the importance of headwaters and watershed […]

Value of Water Tools

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Engages With Diverse Stakeholders to Develop Joint Recommendations for the Water Resilience Portfolio

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: Association of California Water Agencies’ Comments on the SB 100 Report

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Federal Legislative Matrix

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: ACWA and CMUA Comment Letter on the Draft Adminsitrator Policy Handbook

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Recommendations to Newsom Administration for the Water Resilience Portfolio

Agency: California Natural Resources Agency Subject: Water Resilience Portfolio Letter Excerpt: The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) appreciates the […]

Water Professionals Appreciation Week Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
ACWA News for Nov. 14, 2019

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Faces of Water: Brie Coleman – Nov. 2019

1. Describe your job. I help bring our agency to life for our customers through social media, photography, videography and […]

2019 Fall Conference Around the Corner

A big part of every ACWA conference is the shared camaraderie between the leaders of our member agencies. It doesn’t […]

Member Spotlight: ACWA Members Face Multiple Power Shutoffs in October – Nov. 2019

October was filled with extreme fire and high-wind weather conditions that spurred multiple power outages throughout California. The outages were […]

CalDesal Hires Wendy Ridderbusch as Executive Director

SACRAMENTO – CalDesal has hired former ACWA Director of State Legislative Relations Wendy Ridderbusch as its next Executive Director, effective […]

SWRCB Telemetry Reporting Requirements Take Effect Jan. 1, 2020

The State Water Resources Control Board has announced that water diverters who meet one of three requirements must report telemetry […]

ACWA Releases Fact Sheet on Investing in Water Resilience

ACWA recently released a two-page fact sheet, Investing in Water Resilience for a Reliable Water Supply, to share information on […]

State Water Board Announces Streamlined Permitting for Groundwater

The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights recently announced a new permitting process that provides a streamlined […]

Orange County Water and Sanitation Districts Break Ground on Reuse Project

FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Today, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) celebrated the Final Expansion […]

ACWA, CMUA Submit Joint Comments on Human Right To Water Report

ACWA and the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) recently submitted joint comments to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment […]

Crescenta Valley Water District’s (CVWD) Board of Directors adopts a 2020 Strategic Plan

The strategic plan is an important document that translates CVWD’s mission, vision, and values into actionable and measurable goals, strategies, […]

Moulton Niguel Receives AAA-Credit Rating From World’s Top Rating Agencies

Moulton Niguel Water District maintains affordable rates and healthy finances, according to independent reviews by two of the world’s top […]

NID Approves Starting Negotiations with PG&E for Local Control of Distribution

Buoyed by public outcry over the recent power outages, the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board of Directors took a substantial […]

Walnut Valley Water District Veterans Recognized by City of Diamond Bar

DIAMOND BAR – Walnut Valley Water District Board President, Ed Hilden and District employees Teofilo Pasillas, Alvaro Ruvalcaba, and Ty […]

Innovative Partnership to Reduce Wildfire Risk in the North Yuba River Watershed

A diverse group of nine organizations announced today their commitment to prioritize, plan, and execute forest restoration on an unprecedented […]