Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 3, 2013

County gets non renewal notice

MT. VERNON — Jefferson County officials have been notified of non renewal of its casualty and property insurance, which expires on Jan. 1.

Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, based in San Antonio, informed county officials of the non renewal in correspondence received in late September.

According to the insurance carrier, the reason for the non renewal is “an increase in the severity of hazards associated with the county’s operations.”

On Aug. 30, Travelers conducted a risk control inspection of the county and discovered the following conditions:

n The Jefferson County Jail is no longer permitted to house federal detainees of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency, following an inspection by the agency, which found the facility to be non-compliant with federal detention standards. The removal of federal detainees from the facility has resulted in a significant loss of revenue to the county and a substantial reduction in workforce.

n The loss of funding has resulted in a decline in the financial stability of the county, and has impacted several important infrastructure improvements, including repairs to the county courthouse for which the following recommendations were made on June 7, 2012: Based on a visual inspection of the roof, there are indications that it needs repairs or replacement. The roof covering appears to be at a higher risk of damage, which may result in water intrusion into the building in the event of heavy wind and rain. A qualified roofing contractor should assess the condition of the roof covering and make the necessary repairs or replacement. These conditions increase the severity of hazards associated with the county’s operations.

Chairman Robert White indicated the non renewal will likely result in an increase of $100,000 for casualty and property insurance, which, “adds additional pressure on our budget.”

White said he thinks the non renewal notice is “weak,” adding, “Just because we lost ICE may put us in a perilous position, but it’s not something we haven’t been able to overcome. This is an unfortunate development, and just like when we lost ICE, we’ll deal with it and get through it.”

White added he hopes Travelers will reconsider their decision.

Travelers provided fire and extended coverage insurance on county property through the policy. The correspondence received noted the county should contact their agent concerning coverage through another insurer, or investigate the possibility of coverage through the Illinois Fair Plan Association, based in Chicago.

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