In a unanimous vote in last week’s commissioners court meeting, the commissioners elected to increase the county’s deductible from the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) Risk Pool Management Property insurance from $1,000 to $10,000.
The decision will dramatically increase the county’s liability in the event of having to pay out a claim under the insurance, but as the commissioners and Director of Human Resources Mary Westbrook reflected on the relatively few number of claims made against the county over the last six years, they chose to increase the deductible in order to minimize the 17 to 20 percent increase that TAC was going to require at the $1,000 deductible level. Westbrook said that a 17 percent increase would equate to $23,631 more than what the county paid last year.
The county’s main contact with TAC said that the increase was due to the massive amounts of claims that TAC received two years ago in response to Hurricane Harvey. Overall, TAC had a $72 million incurred cost as a direct result of the storm. While all counties would see their insurance rates increase in response, counties on the Texas coast who are most at risk of damage in the event of another hurricane will see their insurance costs increased by 20 to 25 percent.
With the $10,000 deductible, Kaufman County will still have to pay eight percent more for the TAC property insurance than they did last year which Westbrook said would come out to $11,330.
In looking through property insurance claims (which includes heavy equipment such as construction equipment) made against Kaufman County over the last six years, Westbrook found that the majority of them were weather-related and therefore out of the count’s control, but that overall the county had paid out more than they had received.
“Our claim dollars have definitely been less than our contributions,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook initially advised moving to ta $5,000 deductible at a 12 percent increase in insurance costs which Judge Richards was favorable to, but both commissioners Skeet Phillips and Ken Cates argued that the county should just go ahead and increase the deductible to $10,000.
“My thought process for when I purchase insurance has always been to make my deductible as high as I think I could possibly absorb,” Richards agreed.
TAC is expecting to increase the insurance cost again in 2020.
During last week’s meeting, the commissioners also voted to accept the commissioners court meeting minutes for May 9, May 14 and May 15, approve the Star Transits Ridership Reports for the month of April 2019, accept the Kaufman County Historical Commission by laws, approve an application for funds from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, approve the North Central TexasCouncil of Governments Master Interlocal purchasing agreement through the North Texas SHARE program, approve the purchase of one 2019 Ford F150 4x2 regular cab in the amount of $23,220.39 from Paul Murrey Ford for precinct 2, award the contract for RFP 19-12: annual contracts for electrical services, HVAC services, plumbing services and on-call general construction services, approve permission to solicit RFP 19-03 for food services for Kaufman County Detention Center, approve permission to solicit RFP 19-06 for an annual contract for Kaufman County Jail inmate health services, approve the receipt, transfer and disposal of county-owned property, accept the Fire Marshal’s office’s monthly activity report for April, accept the treasurer’s monthly report for April, accept the tax assessor-collector’s monthly report for April 2019, approve an interlocal agreement with Forney for downtown public parking, accept the auditor’s monthly report for april, and approve line item transfers and claims for payment.