Chesterton Tribune



County Commissioners approve 2018 insurance coverage, lower premiums

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Going from a commission-based to fee-based model for insurance coverage appears to have saved Porter County thousands of dollars in premiums.

At the Porter County Board of Commissioners’ meeting last week, Mark Behrendt and Charlie Keene of General Insurance Services appeared to discuss their recommendations for 2018 county insurance. At a previous meeting, the board followed their suggestion to move from the commission to fee model.

As Keene told the board, he and Behrendt approached the agencies that the county already works with and recommended that the board stay with those carriers. All county insurance is due for renewal Jan. 1 excluding workman’s comp, which is due in April.

Keene and Behrendt made two other recommendations as well: that the board consider adding cybersecurity insurance because the current policies do not cover losses or damages incurred from Internet crimes such as data breaches; and that the board increase the primary limit from $2 million to $5 million, which would enable the county to add additional abuse and molestation provisions to their umbrella coverage.

The board voted to adopt the recommendations, excepting the cybersecurity insurance, for which no quotes were presented. The total premiums for next year will be $1,115,300, down from $1,191,623, a savings of $76,323 or 6.4 percent.

Utilities Savings?

In other business, Facilities Director Matt Stechly told the board that tens of thousands of dollars in savings could lie in the utilities expenses for county buildings.

Stechly presented his findings about possible NIPSCO electric rate changes for Porter County’s public buildings. He found that adjusting the rates for the county jail would save between $10,000 and $15,000 per year, and the rest of the buildings he examined could total up to $60,000 in yearly savings if rate changes are granted.

Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North asked how rate changes work. County Attorney Scott McClure explained that the utility rates on county buildings are not locked in, and if the level of use or the way NIPSCO categorizes use changes, the county can request a rate change to lower its costs. Since the jail is a 24-hour facility, it may qualify to be billed at a different level from a facility that has nonoperational hours. The board granted Stechly a release to seek NIPSCO’s approval for the rate changes.






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