St. Francois County Clerk Kevin Engler asked to renew two insurance policies on Tuesday morning during the weekly St. Francois County Commission meeting.
The first insurance renewal was for liability and vehicle insurance with MOPERM.
“We buy insurance from MOPERM, it’s a quasi-government insurance agency that insures governments like ours,” Engler said. “We do not have to bid it out, but the best practice is to make sure that we are not being taken advantage of.
“We sent bids out to multiple companies to make sure that we were being treated fairly. Two of the companies after examining our lawsuits said they didn’t want to bid.”
Missouri Rural Services (MRS) bid about $30,000 less than MOPERM. However, MRS would not have back coverage of existing lawsuits. Also, the aggregate coverage of MOPERM is unlimited where MRS would have a cap of $4 million. Finally, if St. Francois County leaves MOPERM, they cannot return for three years.
“[MRS can] only guarantee a one-year price then they can take it to whatever they need it to be,” Engler said. “If we would lose one of these lawsuits they could justify [raising it].”
During the motion discussion, Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins noted that MOPERM covers 90 out of 114 counties in Missouri.
Engler added, “Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of claims in the year I’ve been here, they’re always quick to respond and take care of the situation and good to work with.”
Public Administrator Gary Matheny asked if the county is in a high-risk category regarding premiums.
Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher answered that in some areas the county is high risk.
Matheny asked, “Do we have anybody with expertise on risk loss? It would be nice if officeholders including myself would not get sued. Do we have anybody that assumes that responsibility to help us get in a better position that we don’t have lawsuits coming down the path?”
Gallaher answered, “Not that I know of. It is something to think about and look at.”
The commission moved to renew the insurance contract with MOPERM.
Engler then asked the commission to renew the workmen’s compensation contract with the Missouri Association of Counties Self-Insured Workers’ Compensation Trust (MAC Trust).
“Our rate increase is 2.7%,” he said. “We’ve picked up a couple of people on the payroll, we’re covering a few more people, I thought that was pretty close to in line, normal. The total premium payable is $168,000. Unfortunately, just like any other nonprofit they look at our expense ratios and then come up with a formula on that. They follow last year’s expense ratios and we did real well.”
Gallaher observed that the policy is a part of the membership of Missouri Association of Counties (MAC).
Mullins added, “Again, this is the MAC Trust, representing about 90 counties, they offer 250 training programs online. Chainsaw safety, I think that’s a program road and bridge offered years ago, there’s more to it than just starting a chainsaw. They actually reach out to the counties.
“We’ve outlawed chainsaw juggling,” Engler said.
Engler also reminded the commission that the loss rates for workmen’s comp went down dramatically this year.
The commission approved the renewal of the insurance contract.
Gallaher announced that next Tuesday at 10 a.m. will be the public budget hearing with the county commission regular session following. The budget is available for viewing on the St. Francois County website.
For more information, the St. Francois County website is www.sfcgov.org
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at email@example.com