Morenci city council changes insurer 12.12

Written by David Green.

City council members voted Monday to save a lot of cash by changing liability insurance providers. Department heads are hoping they still have the same coverage.

Making the switch from the Michigan Municipal League (MML) insurance plan to one provided by Berends, Hendricks and Stuit Insurance Agency will save the city $7,000 in each of the next three years.

Additional savings could be realized due to the $250 deductible cost in collision insurance compared to $1,000 from MML. The city’s claims for collision coverage are generally below $1,000, said city clerk/administrator Renée Schroeder.

A year ago, the city paid $47,000 to MML for liability insurance coverage. This year’s bid came in at $39,800. Berends, Hendricks and Stuit (BHS), based in Grandville, Mich., gave a bid of $32,800 and guaranteed that rate for three years if the city wishes to renew the contract.

“The last time we went with someone else, it was a big pain for me,” said fire chief Chad Schisler.

Schroeder knew he would be concerned about allowing children to ride on fire trucks during parades, but she checked that issue with BHS and learned it wouldn’t be a problem.

BHS was also aware that Morenci provides coverage in a portion of Ohio, but that was acceptable to them, also.

Police chief Larry Weeks said that he also has concerns about leaving MML because he would be leaving behind valuable resources the company offers.

Weeks said the company has a person on staff who is very familiar with law enforcement issues. Weeks has obtained assistance with policy questions, employee-related concerns and civil liability issues.

Schroeder said BHS also has a support person on staff. She acknowledged a “comfort level” with Michigan Municipal League, also, but after reviewing the BHS proposal, she’s expecting comparable service.

“For the cost savings, I think it’s worth a try,” she said.

“I realize we need to save money,” Chief Weeks said. “I just want council to understand what we’re receiving now.”

Schisler was also concerned about replacement cost coverage on city equipment, noting that the cost of purchasing a new fire truck far exceeds the prices paid in the past for the existing fleet of vehicles.

Schroeder said BHS offers the same replacement costs as MML: for fire trucks  only and not other city equipment.

With councilors Keith Pennington and Jason Bryant absent, council members vote 5-0 to accept a one-year contract with Berends, Hendricks and Stuit.

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