Board makes workers’ comp switch

NEW CUMBERLAND – The Hancock County Board of Education is switching insurance carriers for its workers’ compensation coverage.

Board members voted unanimously Monday night to accept a bid from Assure America/Erie Insurance of Erie, Pa., for $257,903 for workers’ compensation coverage for the next three years, starting July 1.

The bid was a $45,215 savings from the one submitted by City Insurance Professionals/The Hartford, Superintendent Suzan Smith said.

“It comes down to numbers here,” she said.

The Hancock County school district has been with The Hartford for workers’ compensation since July 2010. Previously, it was covered by BrickStreet Insurance.

Mike Idleman, senior vice president for City Insurance, appealed to the board to stay with The Hartford despite its higher bid of $303,118.

“Price should not be the determining factor for workers’ compensation. I urge the board to stay the course,” he said.

Idleman said in the three years that Hancock County has been with The Hartford, there has been a 61 percent drop in incurred workers’ compensation liability in the district. He also said Erie Insurance lacks experience with workers’ compensation policies in West Virginia.

Assure America Chief Operating Officer John Frankovitch, who obtained the quote from Erie, countered by saying, “Erie writes a tremendous amount of risk in West Virginia.”

Both Smith and board President Jerry Durante praised The Hartford but said the decision came down to dollars and cents.

“The board usually accepts the lower bid, all other factors being equal,” Durante said. “For us to not give Erie an opportunity to perform wouldn’t be in the best interest of the taxpayer.”

The new policy will be effective for three years.

Also Monday, the board:

Accepted a bid of $314,600 from G&W Roofing, of Eighty Four, Pa., for the construction of a new roof for Weir High School;

Entered into a memorandum-of-understanding agreement with C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc., of Weirton, for the purpose of distributing excess and leftover food to two local agencies that serve the homeless;

Approved professional and service personnel pay scales; and

Went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

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