01/29/06 — New County property, liability insurance approved

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New County property, liability insurance approved

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 29, 2006 2:05 AM

Wayne County's Board of Commissioners has approved a new bid for the county's property and liability insurance, kept the business in the county and saved some money..

The county's current insurance was due to renew Feb. 1. The commissioners approved the new plan at their meeting Tuesday.

With the assistance of Esses Consulting, a Salisbury-based firm, the county accepted bids from three providers in the state. Of the three, BB&T Insurance Services of Goldsboro provided the best coverage, services and financial stability at the most reasonable cost, said Steve Bird, a principal consultant for Esses.

By using a $100,000 liability deductible, Bird said the county could save thousands of dollars in the coming years.

"You would get a big premium credit for the $100,000 deductible. We're going to come out with $200,000 to $300,000 in savings," Bird said.

In addition to finding a new insurance provider, Bird said he also evaluated ways the county could save money with better coverage and protect itself from any future claims.

The easiest way for the county to save money would be to discontinue buying physical damage coverage on county vehicles after the vehicle has depreciated over a number of years, Bird said.

"There are 200 vehicles in the county. After five years, the value of the car depreciates. If you wreck it, you'll get next to nothing back. You don't need to buy physical damage coverage after a certain time," he said.

However, Bird said the county should also consider using money to purchase terrorist coverage. Under the county's property tax levels, terrorist coverage would only increase the rate by 3 percent, costing $20,000 to $30,000.

Savings from changing property and liability coverage would offset the costs, Bird said. Also, he said the county could be covered if terrorists attempted to attack Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

He also suggested pursuing an umbrella package that could increase the local law enforcement's liability coverage from $1 million to a higher amount, Bird said.

"The coverage is written on an occurrence basis. If a claim arises in the future from that policy, it is the policy that holds up, and you only have a $1 million limit for the claim," he said.

Bird said he could continue to look at different sources that could provide a better policy and give that information to the county commissioners after companies sent in their price quotes.

The commissioners approved Bird's suggestions and will agree to a one-year package with BB&T with the option of two more years if the company continues to provide the most competitive coverage.