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County explores casualty, risk insurance
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The Newton County Board of Commissioners have had to make difficult cuts to keep health insurance costs down in recent years, but they turned their eye to the casualty and risk insurance policy they have on their buildings and equipment last week.

At a Monday work session, the board examined its insurance policy on its numerous facilities and nearly 600 vehicles and pieces of equipment, which take around $500,000 to insure, said Chairman Kathy Morgan.

Because they were working on the issue on short notice, the county only got two quotes, one from its current provider OneBeacon Insurance and another from Association County Commissioners of Georgia, which is a pool insurance program.

Morgan and county financial officials are expected to bring a recommendation on which bid to select to the board at Nov. 1’s board meeting.

The county will try to do a more in-depth comparison of more bids next year.

“We realized this is a large cost and an important need to the county that we need to look into a little more next year and start the process earlier. We had not gotten comparison rates since 2000-2001, so this was a big step just getting one comparison,” Morgan said.

Law enforcement insurance for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and workman’s compensation insurance are both separate from casualty and risk insurance.

However, Morgan said the casualty and risk insurance is complicated enough anyway, as the age and condition of each of the county’s buildings and hundreds of vehicles play into the cost.

She said there are many moving pieces. One insurance company recommended a $10,000 deductible for claims as opposed to the $2,500 deductible the county has now.

Another company wanted the county to assume the entire risk for vehicle accidents. Most vehicle wrecks cost between $2,500 to $6,000 to fix, Morgan said. Minor vandalism or other damages, generally under $1,000, can be repaired at the county’s fleet maintenance facility without insurance being filed.

“We want to be insured for the proper value. You don’t just say, ‘I think that building will cost $8 million to replace so let’s insure it for $8 million,’” Morgan said.