The Douglas County Commission Wednesday night heard two different proposals for insuring the county.
At issue is whether the county will stay with its present insurance company or join a group of Kansas counties in a new program, the Kansas County Association Multi-Line Pool. The pool is intended to offer counties broader coverage with no deductibles in some areas.
Addressing the commission were Gary Sollars and Bob Johnson of Charlton Manley Inc., the county's current insurer, along with John Torbert, executive director of the Kansas Association of Counties, and Jay Odice, corporate vice president for Rollins-Burdick-Hunter, which specializes in forming insurance pools.
Sollars estimated his firm could supply the county insurance for $168,433 next year, which was slightly lower than this year's premium of $171,221. Odice was unable to provide a dollar amount because the plan is still being reviewed by the state's insurance commissioner.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATIOR Chris McKenzie said the county would give both plans a careful review once all the cost figures were received.
"We need to make not only a line-by-line, but also an incident-by-incident kind of comparison," he said. "We need to look at the total package, because sometimes you'll pay more for one line and less for another line, but they equal out to a reasonable figure."
Sollars said he took issue with a document prepared by his competition because it compared his existing program to the proposed pool plan, which has not received state approval.
"We're kind of fighting a ghost here," he said. "Our policy forms are filed and approved and in use and in use to pay claims everyday. The pool plan, as was indicated, we've not seen any policy forms, we have no idea what the actual coverage says . . ."
TORBERT SAID the pool would help counties avoid situations of distress such as the "hard" insurance market of the 1980s, when policies were cancelled and huge increases in premiums occurred. The advantage to the pool, he said, was that the insurance company was serving only county governments, and could provide the counties with a proprietary data base and experienced people who worked solely on county problems.
"The bottom line is service," he said.
Odice said he expected to have state approval for the pool in September and that the target date for a needing a decision from the county is Oct. 15.
Commission chairman Mike Amyx said although the proposal had a short turnaround time, he would not feel pressured to make a quick decision on which plan to go with.
"That would not be a good decision-making process," he said. "We'll have to have a good reason to join. At this point we just don't have the information for comparison."
IN OTHER business the county:
Unanimously approved a resolution to raise the county's reimbursement for use of personal vehicles from 22.5 cents a mile to 25.5 cents a mile for 30 days, after which the rate will revert to 22.5 cents. The 30-day limit was added to protect the county in case fuel prices come down soon.
Approved a 30 mph speed limit on Breithaupt Drive and Yankee Tank Overlook in Lake Estates Subdivision No. 3.
Deferred receiving a staff report and discussion of a request by Robert Harrington and others to construct a second entrance to Lake Estates Subdivision No. 3 from County Road 13.
Deferred for one week an executive session to complete the discussion of a department head's evaluation.
Re-appointed Ted McFarlane to the Region IV Emergency Medical Services Council.
Approved action for the county to co-sponsor, with the city, an application for an economic development grant with the state for widening of Sixth Street between Wakarusa Drive and County Road 13.
Approved minutes of Aug. 27 and accounts payable.
Approved the consent agenda items of the commission orders and a bid recommendation for tax billing forms.