County drops excess insurance

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County legislators Monday declined to purchase a “specific excess” Worker’s Compensation Insurance policy it has purchased in the past, saving the county nearly $90,000.

The Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee discussed the issue prior to the regular board meeting at the County Office Building, where final action was taken.

Supervisors passed a resolution declining purchase of a “specific excess” Worker’s Compensation Insurance policy.

“This is something we’ve kicked around the last couple years, maybe a little longer than that,” said Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan, chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee.

He said the county’s premium for the excess policy for 2014 is $89,500 – up about 15 percent from $77,000 for last year.

The policy protects against liability risks for the County Worker’s Compensation Self-Insurance Plan in the event of a “catastrophic claim,” the resolution said. The resolution said the Board of Supervisors has the option not to purchase the excess insurance policy. The resolution says the Finance Committee evaluated the “rising cost” of the policy’s coverage against the risk of relying on Workers Compensation Plan Reserves to protect the plan from the impact of “very large” claims.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said there have been no claims the past 12 years.

“We do believe we can save this money,” Fagan said.

He said the Finance Committee recommends putting about $50,000 of the savings that would have been spent on the policy into county reserves. He said his committee feels what the county is doing is “worth the risk.” He said the county has other insurance policies to compensate.

Fulton County Treasurer Terry Blodgett said the balance in the Worker’s Compensation Reserve is currently at about $1.5 million and is available to the Worker’s Compensation Self-Insurance Plan, in the event any large adverse claim or claims affect the program.

The board declined purchase of the “specific excess” policy for 2014-15.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.