Academic journal article The Public Manager

The PERI Data Exchange: A Government Bench Marking Tool: By Incorporating Benchmarking Metrics into Their Strategic Plans, Public-Sector Organizations Can Increase Statistical Validity, Offer Better Documentation, and Reduce Costs

Academic journal article The Public Manager

The PERI Data Exchange: A Government Bench Marking Tool: By Incorporating Benchmarking Metrics into Their Strategic Plans, Public-Sector Organizations Can Increase Statistical Validity, Offer Better Documentation, and Reduce Costs

Article excerpt

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The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) has developed a unique data warehouse of detailed information about public entity liability and workers' compensation claims and exposures. This program, called the Data Exchange, answers the question frequently asked by board members and government administrators: "How are we doing compared with other governments?"

The Data Exchange offers quantitative information to answer this question by comparing similar exposures of other governments. This database serves as a benchmarking tool for government managers and officials interested in comparing their government's claims experience with peers to improve their risk management programs, make better-informed decisions, and control their liability and workers' compensation costs. Any government may participate in the Data Exchange once it fulfills one simple requirement: all participants must submit their claims data quarterly. All the data in the Data Exchange are supplied voluntarily by participating public entities, public risk pools, and third-party claims administrators. The program collects data elements that include financial information (such as the total amount paid for a claim) and dimensional data (such as the cause of loss and nature of injury).This information is then translated into a series of reports designed to promote benchmarking liability and workers' compensation claim activity.

How the Data Exchange Works

By participating in the Data Exchange, governments can measure their performance using desired metrics and link their activity to processes and programs that target their improvement. Currently, more than ten thousand governments from twenty-three states participate in the Data Exchange. Liability and workers' compensation claims data for governmental entities are provided to PERI from various sources (third-party administrators, self-insureds, pool administrators, insurance carriers, brokers, and consultants) through their risk management information systems or Excel spreadsheets. In addition to federal and state governments, the United States has almost 107,000 different governments.

Governments can be separated by type of structure, which adds validity to the comparison of housing authorities with other housing authorities and school districts with other school districts. PERI has divided public organizations into the following government types: cities and towns, counties, federal, higher education, housing authorities, Indian reservations, public school districts, public transits, special districts, and states. Combining the type of government with a geographic location can assist with the creation of a valid peer group. For example, a large transit system or an airport can locate several comparable peers within their region for frequency and severity metrics. PERI uses the four regions created by the US, Postal Service to compare all governments participating in the Data Exchange as well as grouping them by state.

Peer Groups

A peer group is a subdivision of governments based on similar size or a demographic, such as population, payroll, number of employees, miles driven, average daily attendance for schools and higher education, or operating budget. Statistical peer group comparisons help gauge claim and administrative costs and can justify the need for procedural or program changes. Identifying the "best of the best" within a peer group should offer a quantifiable basis for public entities to compare program costs, learn from each other's experiences, indicate problem areas, and provide solid documentation for effecting change, which will eventually help the entire group improve its performance.

Table 1 shows the different size bands used to compare different governments on the basis of their annual payroll, number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, and population. Using size as the primary division can be helpful to jurisdictions that are either small or very large. …

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