Hughes/Horseshoe Lake News

WM insurance rates stay low

Coverage at ‘ a really good price’ says city treasurer

City Treasurer Frank Martin delivered good news to City Council about the cost of insurance. Both the group health coverage for city workers and the building insurance were discussed in good light in recent separate meetings at city hall.

“In an age were expenses constantly rise, the news of a significant savings was well received with West Memphis law makers.

Mayor Bill Johnson tallied the building insurance invoice for City Council to hear.

“I need permission to pay the Arkansas Municipal league for building insurance, it’s $25,400,” said Johnson.

“That’s a really good price on that,” said Martin.

“When we went to the ISO 1 fire rating it cut our insurance cost in half.”

“In half?” asked an incredulous Councilor Willis Mondy.

“It hasn’t helped residential rates too much, but it helped commercial insurance rates,” said Martin.

Low insurance costs, and rock bottom utility rates not only benefit city expenses directly but also serve as competitive advantages when businesses consider locating in the Wonder City.

Later the same afternoon, the city insurance committee heard a forecast of next year’s health insurance premiums. In the end, hopes went forward for no cost increase coupled with no coverage changes for city workers next year. After hearing Martin recap the claims and expense experience of the United Health Insurance, the insurance agent agreed to ask the company for a rate hold.

Martin and the insurance commissioners thought that was a fair request based on the claims costs so far this year and saw no reason to ask for competitive bids if United would agree to a price freeze next year.

“Their expenses are running at 77.7 percent to premiums collected,” said Martin. “The standard used to be 20 percent, that they need that for overhead expenses. At 77.6 percent they are extremely happy.”

By John Rech