BUCKHANNON — Thursday’s city council meeting began with a closed session, unlike any regular meeting. Afterwards, Mayor Robbie Skinner made a comment. “Ladies and gentlemen of the council and in the audience, the council held an executive session relating to personnel matters. No decision has been made but there may be discussion later in the meeting, but the board met at 7:25 in its normal open forum meeting. I appreciate the audience that made this moment possible for us,” said Mayor Skinner.
Mayor Skinner then welcomed VIP guest Jamie Powell, the insurance agent for the Town of Buckhannon, who was on hand to discuss policy renewals. Mayor Skinner announced that he wanted to move forward with property insurance renewals and liability renewals after Powell’s presentation.
Powell noted, “I’ll start with renewal of ownership, which is done through Westfield Insurance.” Powell went on to say that the renewal bonus payment totaled $53,989.06. Powell informed the council that the bonus had increased by around 6% since last year. Buckhannon Water Works and Stockert Youth Center contributed to the increase of around $1,900 after an ISO rating change. Powell noted that inflation has affected property costs and values.
With that in mind, Powell revealed that building values have also increased. “We increased buildings valued over $100,000 by 2% to account for inflation. Insurance is directly driven by the fact that if you have some losses, it costs to rebuild,” Powell said. “We’re starting to see a lot of insurance companies taking a break on ownership, so I think that’s a good raise or rate change as far as renewal goes. At present, the total property insured with respect to buildings is $26,418,300 and the total property insured for the business is $1,947,000.
“I think Jamie has reached the best times and I agree. Unfortunately, we are at a point where insurance is following the building materials market. I appreciate the fact that we are following inflation because we want to have the resources to come back from a catastrophic event,” Mayor Skinner said after the presentation. A first motion to approve the renewal of the property was given to my councilor CJ Rylands and a second by Dave Thomas, with the motion carried.
Powell then led to the renewal of liability for travelers’ insurance. “If you look at this policy it covers automobile liability, fire insurance liability, public entity management liability, employee liability, professional liability, general liability and it also covers your equipment and your felony,” Powell said. “Accountability has been a struggling area just because of the environment and what’s going on nationally.” He noted that over the past four to five years, many insurance agencies have exited the particular market that covers cities due to increased claims and costs that cities and counties have had to pay. Powell praised Travelers Insurance, saying that despite the national issue, Travelers has not backed out of offering this section of insurance. That being said, Powell explained that the bounties had increased. Powell argued that the biggest cost, with travelers, is car coverage. He noted that many costs were driven by inflation with an increase of approximately $62 per covered vehicle. Powell noted that in the future, it could be beneficial to “shop around” for other insurance companies.
Following the presentation, a first motion of approval was noted by Councilor Randy Sanders, with Sheila Sines delivering the second motion. Approval carried away.