The Canal Winchester Times

Canal Winchester

Joining consortium could cut city's insurance costs

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Canal Winchester officials are taking steps toward joining a new consortium in hopes of increasing liability insurance coverage while reducing costs.

Finance Director Amanda Jackson introduced legislation at the Aug. 4 city council meeting that would authorize Mayor Michael Ebert to sign on to the Central Ohio Risk Management Association (CORMA) self-insurance pool. The CORMA pool currently includes the cities of Dublin, Grove City, Groveport, Pickerington, Powell, Upper Arlington and Westerville.

Both Marysville and Canal Winchester are potential new members for this year, if their respective officials approve, she said.

The coverage is for city property and has nothing to do with employees' health insurance.

According to Jackson, Canal Winchester's current relationship with providers Selective Insurance and Travelers and with Wichert Insurance would continue under the new agreement.

"We currently purchase our liability insurance through Wichert Insurance, with coverage provided by Selective and Travelers," Jackson said. "Wichert Insurance also provides the administration services for CORMA, so our relationship with them will not change.

"Moving to CORMA will actually change very little for the city in terms of insurance companies, as Selective and Travelers both provide the coverage for CORMA as well," she said.

The benefit of going with the consortium instead of buying insurance independently, Jackson said, is that the cost of annual premiums would drop from $68,171 to between $62,351 and $66,500 annually, depending on options selected by the pool after adding the new members.

A coverage comparison document provided to council shows that, while the decrease in premiums is only a few thousand dollars, many coverage amounts would increase exponentially. For example, the city's building and contents blanket coverage would increase from about $34 million to $574 million; and coverage of underground pipelines ($20 million), earthquake damage ($5 million) and flood insurance ($5 million) would be included; such coverage is nonexistent under the current policy.

"While the monetary savings are not large, the added benefits of becoming a member of the self-insurance pool make the decision to switch a profitable one for the city," Jackson said.

City council is expected to hear a third reading and vote on the ordinance at its Sept. 2 meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 10 N. High St.

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