Chesterton Tribune



Commissioners hire third party consultant for workers comp insurance

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The Porter County Commissioners Thursday took another step in their effort to bring insurance costs down.

The Commissioners met for a special meeting where they hired KBIC Consulting of Indianapolis to be an independent third-party advisor on workers’ compensation policies as well as property, casualty and auto insurance.

Executive Lead Consultant for KBIC Matt Heffernan said that his company will use different matrices to vet proposed insurance policies and determine which plan will “bring the most value to the table.” They will also look at what risk is present and recommend management processes to keep costs down.

Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center, said the County has legacy issues with its workman’s comp and wants to monitor it better. When the Commissioners renewed the compensation insurance policies previously, they were in a bind due to time constraints. Having KBIC would enable them to look ahead for this upcoming year. The deadline for workers’ comp renewal is April 10.

County Attorney Scott McClure said this is “a deep dive” look at policies the County has currently which could lead to a lower cost in premiums.

“What we are going to do is going and getting quotes or bids, making sure what we get is priced right in the market,” McClure said, adding that KBIC will review request for proposal documents when it is time to renew.

“This has nothing to do with the (insurance companies) we already have. If the people who we have are the best, God bless them. If not, we are going to move on to something different,” McClure said.

As a third-party, KBIC can give unbiased recommendations on plans because they will not be paid any more or less for whichever company is chosen, McClure said.

The agreement by the County is to pay KBIC associates at hourly rates and not to exceed $20,000 total.

The goal is not only to save the County money but to create good conditions for its workers.

“It’s a win-win,” said Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South.

Good and Blaney voted to accept the contract. Absent Thursday was Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North.

“Just the sheer amount of insurance we have to carry in County Government, we have to have a set of outside eyes looking making sure we are doing it the right way. I’m all for it,” Blaney said.

Expo Center alcohol

Along with worker’s comp, the Commissioners were also able to save on alcohol liability insurance for the Expo Center, by about $1,000. Quotes for premiums came in with the highest being $1,795. The lowest, which was the one awarded, was from Samuelson Insurance in Portage, at $1,370.

Good said there will be more times like this when the Commissioners will look to get a better deal, no matter what the item is.

“We’re turning over stones and shaking the tress and see what comes out,” he said. “We are saving $1,000 on our premium for one venue.”

RDC reorganizing

Next Wednesday, March 15, at 6 p.m. will be the first meeting of the year for the County Redevelopment Commission.

Good said the Commissioners and the Council aim to revamp the RDC which has looked at the possibility of tax increment finance areas around Porter Regional Hospital and the Porter County Regional Airport, but none have yet been created.

The five-member RDC will have some new appointments this year due to changes in leadership on the Board of Commissioners and the Council. Good said there are “no big sweeping plans yet” for what the RDC will do, but Wednesday will serve as a time to reorganize.


Next, Blaney and Good voted yes to NIPSCO’s request for temporary access on a County-owned easement near the City of Portage for the third phase of replacing its gas main. The current 22” gas line will be replaced with a 24” gas line.

Special meetings

Starting the meeting, Good explained that these special meetings, or those that are not on the Commissioner’s approved list of 2017 meeting dates, are for to hear and approve business items that are time sensitive.

“We’re trying to move things a little bit faster,” he said.

Generally, the Commissioners space their meetings by three weeks and this is the second special meeting this year. Good said more special meetings can be expected in the future.


Posted 3/10/2017





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