AMLJIA, The Bridge

Honorable Mention

“Thanks again for all the spectacular work that you have done for us.”

Dennis Gray, Jr., City Administrator
City of Hoonah


In Good Company
Kevin Smith, Executive Director

Pooling Concept Survives Test of Time

Notwithstanding the dire predictions of many in the insurance industry in the mid-80’s, the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) and its sister pools around the nation continue to thrive for their member owners.

The first public entity pools emerged in the United States in the mid-70’s. When the insurance crisis struck in the mid-80’s, the concept really began to explode around the country. Local government entities, including school districts, could not afford the coverage offered if it was available at all. It was at this time that the Alaska Municipal League (AML) members asked the AML and the Alaska State Legislature to permit them to self-insure as a group. The Legislature passed AS 21.76 and the AMLJIA was born.

Coincidentally, I began working for the AML the same day the AMLJIA began business in 1988. I was intrigued by the idea of local government entities cooperating to cover each other and applied for a job with the AMLJIA four years later. More than thirty years later, the pool has proven to be both an effective risk financing mechanism and long-lasting solution.

Pooling has overcome the challenges of the industry and changed risk management practices for local government entities. In Alaska, we’ve made our mark, too. First and foremost is the sheer magnitude of the State of Alaska. No one knows about Alaska’s challenges better than those of us who live here. While other pools have hundreds of cities that they can drive to, the AMLJIA must deal with over 586,000 square miles largely accessible only by air. Communications, training, and marketing all require new, imaginative solutions. We’re constantly trying to improve, and along the way we’ve invented some answers that pools in the Lower 48 are very interested in.

But, there’s always room for improvement. If you see ways we can better serve your needs, please let me or a board member know.

I’d like to thank you, the membership, for proving year after year that we are better together. I’m excited to see what the future will bring.