Unofficial website about the WASHINGTON CITIES INSURANCE AUTHORITY, whose address is below
WCIA
320 Andover Park East, Suite 104

Tukwila, WA 98188
... where integrity appears optional
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Publisher's Note:  I extend my sincere thanks to those of you who've informed me that WCIA failed, unlawfully, to adjust particular third-party claims, in some instances additionally failing, unlawfully, to  provide notification of the "refusal to pay" -- and in all cases wrongfully compelling the defrauded claimants to consider otherwise entirely unnecessary litigation to recover originally sought damages.  This information has established that the opportunistic, underhanded, roundly unlawful,  court-abusing and taxpayer-bilking WCIA scheme addressed on WCIA.biz has been resorted to with regularity.  -- Kevin Murphy

WCIA violates law, contract, by-laws
  
So-called 'Authority' defies state's authority

.....One would think that a Washington Cities Insurance Authority, or "Authority," that has adjusted tens of thousands of claims since 1981 would have the process down pat.  Yet, when it came to an admittedly meritorious claim presented by Kevin Murphy to the City of Kirkland as a former nine-year police officer, the sought damages of "no less than $711,245.26" seem to have caused a since-departed WCIA executive director and a still-serving general counsel to lose command of their senses.

.....Instead of the Authority's "claims team" adjusting the city-forwarded claim, as mandated by governing Washington "claims settlement" law and the statute-bound provision in the Authority contract that, as a "responsibility," WCIA "shall provide claims adjusting services,"  now-gone WCIA executive director Lew Leigh simply "denied" the claim.  (The word "denied" is in quotation marks because, logically, per state law, a claim cannot be denied without adjusting it.)  

.....As this page's "smoking gun" sidebar (to the right) addresses, Authority general counsel Mark Bucklin participated in a hijacking of the claim in which, instead of allowing the WCIA claims team to adjust it, it was decided through unholy discussion that -- in violation of the Authority's by-laws and a holding of the Washington State Supreme Court -- WCIA would "defend against it."  Given that WCIA later acknowledged to Murphy that the properly conformed, fully supported $711K+ claim is both covered and meritorious, it's manifest that, had the Authority adjusted it (per law and contract), WCIA would have been obligated by Washington law to "effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlement" (payment).

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"Authority general counsel Mark Bucklin
 participated in a hijacking of the claim."

.....That didn't happen.  What did happen is that, (1) with Leigh, in violation of the WCIA by-laws, having assigned Bucklin as "defense counsel" to the city before the discussion that led to the claim's unlawful denial, and, thus, (2) before the so-called "denial" unlawfully triggered WCIA-"anticipated" yet otherwise entirely unnecessary litigation by Murphy against the city, the fait accompli, court-abusing litigation earned more than $220K for Bucklin's namesake law firm, Keating, Bucklin & McCormack (KB&M), for which, at the time, he was board chairman, president and managing shareholder.


To learn more about the outrageous conduct of Leigh and Bucklin,
see the About and Players pages.


"WCIA has failed to honor the former board president's written promise to Murphy of remedial adjustment (settlement) of his never-adjusted claim.  Ass-covering dishonesty appears to reign supreme."

New WCIA director Bennett unwilling to  facilitate righting of $711K+ wrong

  
She blows off Murphy's request for help

.....When Murphy's fourth public records request to WCIA unearthed the "smoking gun" letter addressed in this page's sidebar (to the right), Murphy figured that Lew Leigh's successor as Authority executive director, Ann Bennett, as an 18-year veteran of that "pubic body," would welcome the opportunity to affirmatively intervene in the travesty of WCIA's roundly unlawful, contract-violating failure to adjust and settle (pay) a fully supported, covered, admittedly meritorious claim seeking "no less than $711,245.26" in damages for Murphy's wrongful constructive discharge by the City of Kirkland.

.....That thinking proved misplaced, however, because Murphy wrongly assumed that Bennett, as WCIA's executive director, would responsibly meet her duties to (1) faithfully serve the Authority's governing Board of Directors, (2) respect controlling Washington law, (3) abide by WCIA's contract and by-laws, and (4) protect the Authority's reputation and regulatory standing.  Instead, Bennett put personal interests first and sustained the stonewalling cover-up begun by predecessor Leigh.  As revealed by documents that Murphy wrested from WCIA, Bennett herself is complicit in the "hijack and murder" of Murphy's claim.  As the Authority's then-deputy director of Claims, she allowed Leigh to toss the "rule book" out the window in sidelining her claims team (with its adjusters) so he could "deny" a never-adjusted claim that an Authority review later found to be clearly meritorious. 

    The WCIA Interlocal Agreement (ILA, or "contract"), in its Article 11 ("Officers of the Authority") states, "The Executive Director shall have the general administrative responsibility for the activities of the Joint Protection Program" (JPP). And that's the program that "provides claims adjusting services," as mandated, as a WCIA "responsibility," by the same ILA at Article 16. Furthermore, when Murphy's unadjusted meritorious claim was denied by the Authority in violation of Washington law and the statute-bound ILA, and when WCIA contemporaneously sent Murphy its sham "denial" letter, the JPP was under the purview of then-deputy director of Claims Bennett.  Having left that position to assume the outgoing-Leigh's position as executive director, there's  nobody with a greater professional, ethical and moral obligation to finally "make things right" than Bennett herself. 


.....As the record shows, Bennett was a party to multiple post-denial internal WCIA communications about the killed-off claim.  Given Bennett's plum appointment as Authority executive director, it seems that "going along to get along" can have very tangible benefits, especially given a five-percent raise in salary in addition to the promotion.

.....Addressed in the sidebar to the right, the "smoking gun" WCIA letter wasn't unearthed by Murphy's records "mining" until October of 2013.  Since then, and with the unlimited "bro bono" assistance of an attorney brother who in 1980 graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, Murphy (1) thoroughly scrubbed all Washington law applicable to WCIA as a local government "risk pool," (2) reviewed and organized myriad enlightening documents obtained from the Authority through his successive records requests, including the WCIA contract ("service agreement") with Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) member and WCIA general counsel Mark Bucklin, who is also complicit in the claim's "denial."

        Because Murphy assumed, albeit wrongly, that Bennett would want to see things set right, he wrote and delivered a letter to her in which he notified her of a pending complaint ("grievance") of his to WSBA about Bucklin.  With the letter chronicling the most egregious instances of WCIA law-breaking (and contract and by-laws violating) and including an enclosure of Authority-damning material from the draft complaint, Murphy invited Bennett to contact him regarding a letter-proposed meeting between the two. 

     Murphy viewed the meeting offer as a golden opportunity for Bennett to act in WCIA's best (i.e., legitimate) interests.  His letter advised her that the Bucklin complaint, because it implicates the Authority in serious violations of state law, would be provided under separate cover letters to Washington's insurance commissioner, risk manager, auditor and attorney general, each of whom has regulatory authority over WCIA.

 
"Given Bennett's plum appointment as WCIA executive director, it seems that 'going along to get along' can have very tangible benefits."

     The letter, with enclosure, points out that because Bucklin, as WCIA's general counsel, is, by state law, a "municipal officer," and because, by accepting Leigh's assignment of him as "defense counsel" to the City of Kirkland, Bucklin entered into a per se conflict of interest of his own making that resulted in his law firm (KB&M) earning more than $220K in Authority payments for legal services to the city. 

     As if that isn't outrageous enough, the letter notes that the subject assignment, which meets the statutory definition of a contract (purchase of legal services)  (1) violated the WCIA by-laws, (2) positioned Bucklin to materially participate in, which he did, the Authority's statute- and contract-violating failure to adjust and settle (pay) a covered, meritorious $711K+ claim, and (3) resulted in the WCIA-anticipated, unlawfully compelled, otherwise entirely unnecessary, and court-abusing litigation that meant windfall profits for "chairman" Bucklin's KB&M. 

     And, going from outrageous to obscene, because the assignment was prohibited by Washington law as a conflict of interest, and because the otherwise unnecessary litigation was unlawfully compelled, the letter also notes that the Authority misappropriated $220K+ in public funds ("taxpayer dollars"); and it did so incident to a contract-violating, statutorily "void" agreement.

     Bennett's response?  Dishonoring a written WCIA promise to Murphy and ignoring a readily available means of settling (paying) his admittedly meritorious claim, she sent him a self-serving, authority-exceeding, blow-off  email.  (See also Murphy's linked response.).
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[Photo coming soon]
The offices of the Washington Cities Insurance Authority are located in Suite 104 of this building at 320 Andover Park East in Tukwila.  This office space and the more than 20 WCIA employees are paid for with taxpayer dollars.
\
See the new "State Auditor" page.
Here's its headline:

Auditor Troy Kelley acts lightning fast
Staffers, however, prove worthless


.....This new page reveals how three disloyal senior-most subordinates of State Auditor Kelley, including his chief of staff, Doug Cochran, utterly failed (1) the publicly elected Kelley, (2) the Washington State Legislature, (3) the statewide citizen-voters who passed Initiative 900, (4) the state's taxpayers, and (5) all other Washington residents by refusing to acknowledge the reported and proved WCIA scheme.  On March 6 (2015), Murphy reported the scheme directly to Kelley; and Kelley's immediate recognition that the scheme misuses large sums of public funds resulted in a top-level Olympia meeting the very next working day attended by Kelley, Cochran and the State Auditor's Office (SAO) director of Local Audit, Kelley Collins

.....By (1) failing to heed Murphy's emphatic warnings of a cover-up by WCIA executive director Ann Bennett, (2) refusing to conduct a meaningful investigation that didn't even examine controlling provisions of law and contract (as cited and provided to SAO by Murphy), (3) failing to verify that WCIA breached its contract with members, (4) failing to verify that  WCIA violated controlling provisions of state law, (5) failing to issue corrective actions to WCIA, and (6) failing to inform the Washington Attorney General's Office of the WCIA violations of law, Collins, Cochran and SAO Legal Affairs Manager Cindy Evans are abetting a WCIA scheme that -- by violating the WCIA by-laws, the WCIA interlocal agreement (contract), and controlling provisions of WAC sections 284-30-0330 and 200-100-050) -- WCIA, by deliberately not adjusting certain individually selected high-value third-party claims transmitted by member entities,  has illicitly paid the namesake law firm of its general counsel, Mark Bucklin, MILLIONS and MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars in deliberately and unlawfully compelled, otherwise entirely unnecessary, court-abusing, claimant-brought lawsuits.
 
"Contrary to law, contract and years of everyday practice, WCIA absurdly contends it has no obligation to adjust third-party claims."

'Smoking gun' discovered

.....It took a stroke of luck and a fourth public records request to obtain a telltale WCIA letter, and that "smoking gun" reveals why the Authority would rather have kept it secret.

.....The letter, written to state risk manager Lucy Isaki, articulates the preposterous position that WCIA has no obligation to adjust citizens' damage claims against its 150-plus "risk pool" members, each of which is a local government entity, such as the City of Kirkland.


.....That position must come as quite a surprise to the Authority's many members given that they all signed a contract requiring the program's administrators to "provide claims adjusting services," for which the members pay sizable annual "member assessments" (premiums).

.....That come-lately, utterly bogus WCIA assertion is all the more bizarre given that the Authority adjusts roughly 2,000 claims a year collectively submitted by its membership, with a large share of the claims coming from members of the public seeking compensation for government-caused damages.

.....Those are called "third-party" claims because the claimants are not parties to the insurance contract, as are WCIA's member entities themselves.

.....The absolute "claims adjusting" provision of the Authority contract is bound by Washington "claims settlement" law, which makes no distinction between first- and third-party claims regarding WCIA's obligation -- as routinely met by qualified adjusters -- to investigate them and, in "good faith," seek prompt and fair settlement (payment) when liability is "reasonably clear."

"A shockingly dishonest WCIA became  enmeshed in a self-spun web of deceit."
Developments:

The 10 below "news briefs" appear in order of recency.
 
Their expanded views have links to cited letters and emails,
as indexed on the Documents page.


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"Public Interest"
The below sections of the Revised Code of Washington illustrate the sentiment of the state legislature,
acting on behalf of "the people."
The business of insurance is one affected by the public interest, requiring that all persons be actuated by good faith, abstain from deception, and practice honesty and equity in all insurance matters. Upon the insurer, the insured, their providers, and their representatives rests the duty of preserving inviolate the integrity of insurance.
RCW Section 48.01.030
Insurance
___________________
The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created. This chapter shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed to promote this public policy and to assure that the public interest will be fully protected. In the event of conflict between the provisions of this chapter and any other act, the provisions of this chapter shall govern.
RCW Section 42.56.030
Public Records Act
___________________


"Ask yourself  how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly."

-- Thomas Jefferson



Have you had a bad experience
with WCIA?

Please share it with Kevin Murphy.

Mail@WCIA.biz

THANK YOU
Claim-specific input from visitors to WCIA.biz has established that WCIA has resorted to its roundly unlawful scheme with regularity, thereby defrauding claimants, members and the citizen taxpayers unwittingly "funding" the scheme.  The people of Washington owe a debt of thanks to the activist "watch dogs" who've used the above link to initiate communications with this website's publisher.



 

WCIA quarterly newsletter underscores Authority's deceit
 
Authority's 'forked tongue' caught wagging
     WCIA apparently has no qualms whatsoever about speaking from both sides of its mouth.  After Murphy caught the Authority -- in violation of law and contract --  deliberately failing to adjust and settle his fully supported, meritorious $711K+ damage claim against the City of Kirkland, he asked WCIA's Executive Committee (or, the "committee") to direct remedial settlement of the claim.  In fact, Tony Piasecki, as then-president of the Authority's governing Board of Directors, personally promised Murphy in writing that he would ensure that WCIA had complied with "policy" in the claim's denial.  So why didn't the committee see to it that Murphy's claim was settled?  Because Lew Leigh, as the red-handed Authority executive director who had personally denied the claim as part of the outrageously illicit WCIA scheme, brought in "trusted" outside attorney Mike Bolasina to tell the committee that the Authority had acted properly in denying the claim because it had no obligation to adjust it.  That monumental falsehood -- which had been previously fabricated by Bolasina for the benefit of cover-seeking, paying "client" Leigh -- caused the Executive Committee to erroneously deny Murphy's request.  That's "one side" of WCIA's mouth (or one half of its forked tongue).
    
     The "other side" (or tongue half) is perhaps best illustrated by an article written by Authority Claims Manager Reed Hardesty for the fall 2014 edition of WCIA's quarterly newsletter, "The Authority."  Hardesty's remarks are in the context of a statute-required independent audit of WCIA's claims handling.  Notably, the article doesn't address why the claims audit went back seven years when, by law, the Authority is obligated to undergo such an audit "every three years at a minimum." [WAC 200-100-050(7)].  Below, with emphasis added, is an abridgement of the Hardesty article.  It's important to bear in mind that WCIA's obligation, mandated by law and contract, to "provide claims adjusting services" for member-transmitted claims applies equally to first- and third-party claims -- i.e., all claims received by the Authority.

  In July, our claims operation was audited by Praxis Claims Consulting. The auditor received a listing of all our claims for the last seven years and he selected 70, open and closed claims to review our claim handling compared to industry and pooling claim practices.

The report concluded by stating “the files show excellent claims handling adherence to standard industry best practices. WCIA complies with the WAC as well as AGRIP’s advisory standards.  The current claims staff appears to have the technical expertise and sophistication necessary to properly handle the current inventory of claims.”
  The auditor looks for timely acknowledgement and investigation of claims and reasonable claim decisions based on the information known at the time.  An important element of claims handling is reserving.   It is the claim adjuster’s job to analyze the anticipated end result of a particular claim and “reserve” or call out that dollar amount in the claims system.

Most of our claims resolve within 60 days.  The actuary uses ... reserves to understand likely future financial needs of the pool to meet the claim obligations.  Those claim obligations are the single largest element of what you pay WCIA through the member assessment.

The audit  requirement is valuable and allows members an outsider’s view our claims staff’s operation.  [The auditor] recognized the membership’s engagement in the claims process and the experience of the claims staff in handling these exposures as a strength of WCIA.
      One can't help but wonder why it is that members of a WCIA Executive Committee swallowed hook, line and sinker the "artificial bait" cast them by the law-trampling Leigh's outside "defense" attorney (Bolasina); then read a Hardesty newsletter article making it abundantly clear that -- as mandated by controlling provisions of WAC sections 284-30-330 and 200-100-050 and the statute-bound Authority contract -- WCIA does, in fact, have an obligation to adjust third-party claims and to settle (pay) them when meritorious,  as is Murphy's, which Bolasina himself has acknowledged.  Of course, that's why Bolasina -- on behalf of paying "client" Leigh -- fashioned the bait cast to the committee's gobbling-down members, including Authority board president Piasecki.
 
     After all, repeated below for emphasis, Hardesty wrote,
  Those claim obligations are the single largest element of what you pay WCIA through the member assessment.
 
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