Trumann Budget Committee looking at city's property insurance

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The City of Trumann's Budget Committee has been reviewing the city's insurance for city property and vehicles. A representative from the Municipal League met with the committee Monday to talk about the insurance programs they offer.

Currently, the city has insurance locally through Dennis Morgan Insurance. Mayor Barbara Lewallen told the committee that there is no problem with their current insurance provider. "Every claim has been handled, and we have a good agent. The issue is money."

The city's current insurance premium is $74,399. But Lewallen said she had looked over the city's property values and would like to have them recalculated to be more accurate to their current values. She said values need to be raised on some buildings and lowered on others, while some pieces of property--which have been or are in the process of being removed like the former sign in front of city hall and the Maxie Theater--will be removed.

Lewallen said the values had been figured several years ago, and when she started looking into the city's insurance this year, she realized they need to be updated. Lewallen said she spoke with the city's insurance provider and was told the city's current premium is set for next year, so values cannot be recalculated until 2019.

Dale Carter, Director for Arkansas Municipal League's Municipal Vehicle and Property Programs, spoke to the budget committee about the insurance coverage they offer. Among the perils Municipal League insurance covers were flooding and earthquakes, which are not covered under the city's current insurance. Municipal League insurance has no coinsurance penalty and has cheaper premiums since they are nonprofit and don't make commission. The initial quote on a premium through Municipal League was $38,000, though that will change once the new property values are figured. Carter also said property values can be changed at any point in the year.

When asked how many cities get their insurance through Municipal League, Carter said around 400 of the 500 cities in Arkansas have Municipal League insurance. "You guys and Jonesboro are just about the only cities in your area who aren't in the program," Carter said. The city is already a member of the Municipal League and is in the Municipal League's health insurance program.

Lewallen said the city has the amount to cover its current premium in the 2018 budget and that she will get the numbers worked out to see what a premium through Municipal League would be with updated property values so the budget committee, and ultimately the council, can make a decision on which insurance program to go with moving forward.

"These are difficult decisions because we try to buy local," Lewallen told the committee. "This is a matter of getting enough coverage and making sure that we're doing the best for the city."

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