Vicksburg insurance premiums up $150,000 in 2001

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2000

[12/29/00] Vicksburg officials agreed Thursday to pay 30 percent more in premiums for a wide-ranging package of insurance policies.

The policies, which will cost $644,672 for 2001, include worker’s compensation, vehicle damage insurance and general liability coverage, along with several smaller policies including one covering City Pool.

The same policies cost $494,672 in 2000.

The main culprit behind the $150,000 increase is the physical damage policy the city purchased on vehicles and fire trucks. That coverage was included in the city’s general liability policy this year, but this year the city purchased a separate vehicle policy for $128,450.

Paul Rogers, a consultant and former city clerk who helped negotiate the premiums, said staying with the combined policy offered by The Hennessey Agency of Vicksburg would have cost the city even more. The local agency has sold the city insurance coverage for many years.

Rogers said the city submitted a list to bidders for the insurance contract of how many vehicles the city has, although the insurance cost isn’t broken down by individual vehicles, and won’t increase if the city buys more vehicles during the year.

City officials were not responsive to requests by The Vicksburg Post Thursday and this morning for a list of city vehicles, but the city has purchased at least seven new police cars and two new fire trucks this year.

The number of wrecks involving city vehicles last year was not discussed as a reason for the jump in premiums, Rogers said. But specific figures on the number of wrecks were not immediately available.

The new general liability policy from Mississippi Municipal Service Co., without vehicle coverage, will cost $174,955, compared to $197,076 for last year’s combined policy.

The cost of worker’s compensation coverage also went up, from $251,393 to $275,701.

Vicksburg has also called on its insurance policies to pay legal fees in several lawsuits. In the past four years, the city has been sued over a decision to close Vicksburg Municipal Airport, by contractors for the Vicksburg Convention Center, for false arrest of a Vicksburg oral surgeon and for slander of a rape victim by a police officer. Of those cases, only the convention center case has been resolved.