City finance committee considers property, liability insurance costs

WEIRTON The City of Weirton is moving forward with plans for insurance coverage in the next year.

At their regular meeting Wednesday the Weirton Finance Committee heard from John Frankovitch, chief operating officer of Assure America, regarding property and liability insurance coverage for the city.

After soliciting quotes from Travelers Insurance Co., the city’s current provider, and Scottsdale Insurance Co., Frankovitch presented the information to members of the committee for consideration, noting that it is “fairly consistent with what we did last year.”

“If you recall last year we reduced the umbrella liability coverage to $1 million to cut down on excess coverage. Last year the city paid $685,966 for coverage out of a budget of $20.4 million, and that’s combined water, sanitary, library, everybody. This year the budget is up to $23 million, and Travelers quoted you at $706,079. Evaluations on property are up slightly, so it’s not even really an inflationary increase. It’s a pretty nominal increase. Scottsdale quoted you at $701,506; however, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison,” Frankovitch explained.

Deductibles show many differences between the two providers, Frankovitch explained, in the areas of property, general liability and employee benefit liability. Property insurance, for example, has a $1,000 deductible proposed by Travelers, while Scottsdale has it set at $2,500. General liability has no deductible under Travelers, but $10,000 with Scottsdale. While employee benefits have a $3 million limit with Travelers and $1 million with Scottsdale.

The difference that is most substantive in the whole thing, officials said, is the law enforcement liability. Right now the city has a $1 million limit per act, and $2 million aggregate. The Scottsdale proposal has only a $1 million aggregate. It also raised the law enforcement liability deductible to $25,000. Right now there is uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage with Travelers, and that limit is $1 million. Frankovitch said Travelers was asked to give the option of dropping that coverage limit to $100,000, which drops the city’s premium down to $685,407.

“So all things being equal, our recommendation to the city manager is that we retain Travelers for another year,” Frankovitch concluded. “The city has made really unbelievable strides toward risk management. We were in a very different position five years ago. So everyone working together has really made a meaningful difference and enabled us to go back to Travelers when they originally priced it and say ‘You know what, we need pricing that’s reflective of the work that’s gone into the city,’ so that’s what you’re seeing for the proposal. I have to tell you, I have not delivered a proposal in any large account with that low of an increase. This is really pretty rare.”

City Manager Valerie Means thanked Frankovitch for his summary and recommendation and noted that he has “helped tremendously” throughout the process.

Members voted unanimously to recommend the Travelers Co. quote via a resolution at the next regular city council meeting on Feb. 10.

In other business, the Finance Committee recommended passage of a resolution authorizing acceptance of the application contract for West Virginia Governor’s Community Participation Program funds.

Members also will recommend entering into a contract for tree removal services on Mound Street and Adams Street. The lowest bid is estimated at about $4,200.

Finally, members will recommend an ordinance establishing new salaries for city firefighters.

“I’m working on the draft of the contract now, and I’ll have it for council as soon as I can,” Means elaborated.

The salary ordinance requires passage by two readings, which is why city council is planning to hold a special council meeting on Feb. 24. According to Means, the goal is for the new contract to go into effect starting March 1.

“Right now all the items in the contract have been agreed upon,” Means explained. “It’s just the language in the contract that we’re trying to make sure both sides are in agreement with.”

(Dalrymple can be contacted at