Insurance companies decline Monticello due to litigation
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO October 22, 2013 The Village of Monticello has apparently lost its second insurer since 2007, was recently turned down by at least three other prospective insurers, and has had to enter into a contract with a specialty insurer who specializes in providing coverage to troubled municipalities.
All because of the volume of lawsuits filed against the entity.
Documents provided to the Democrat list no less than 118 different cases of litigation brought against the village between 2007-2013, broken down into categories varying from property claims, inland marine claims and auto claims, to law enforcement liability claims, public officials claims, and by-far the largest category, general liability claims.
Between August of 2007 and October, 2013, the village averaged 18 claims per year according to the documents. The average payout per year was $122,936, for an average cost per claim of $6,829 and an “actual” six-year loss ratio of 63.84 percent. Total claims for the six-year period were listed at $737,621.13.
During the claims period for August, 2007 to October, 2011, Trident Insurance Agency out of Cherry Hill, N.J. was listed as underwriter for the village. From August, 2011 to August, 2013, HCC Insurance Holdings handled the municipality’s various claims. Most recently the village has had to enter into contract with underwriter New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR), which bills itself as “the largest municipal, property and casualty underwriter in the entire state.”
“We applied to four different insurance companies,” offered Village Trustee Carmen Rue. “They didn’t want to take the village because we had way too much litigation, so we had to go with NYMIR because they tend to take troubled municipalities like the village.”
According to an internal email to Village of Monticello Trustees from Village Insurance Broker Owen McKane III dated July 23, 2012, also obtained by the Democrat states that the following insurance companies had turned down the village for underwriting services: Houston Casualty, Trident Insurance/Argonaut and American Alternative/Glatfelte.
McCain declined to comment
Furthermore, a second set of documents obtained by the Democrat, outlines a “Notice of Violation and Order to Comply” levied against the village by the New York State Department of Labor (DOL). The citation, listed as “Serious,” cites Section 12 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 800.6 (h) (l), and states: “The employer [the Village of Monticello] did not provide each employee with information and training on the risks of workplace violence in the workplace or workplaces at the time of initial assignment, and at least annually.”
The DOL document further states that the “Training is to cover requirements of 12 NYCRR Part 800.6, the identified workplace violence risk factors of the workplace, the measures employees can take to protect themselves from specific risks identified. Examples listed as possible mitigation measures were alerts, alarms, controls, appropriate work practices, emergency procedures and reporting.
The DOL has given the village until October 28 as the “date by which violation must be abated.” After that, it will fine the village $200 per day.
Reached for comment, Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins said, “You can take these questions to Carmen Rue. These are her lies and problems.”
Asked about the DOL deadline and if the village would comply, Jenkins declined to comment.