insurance contracts

Catoosa County recently renewed two of its annual insurance policies and was able to save thousands of dollars in premium costs.

During the final Board of Commissioner’s meeting of 2018 in late December, officials approved new contracts for its worker’s compensation insurance, as well as its lump-sum cancer and long-term disability insurance for firefighters.

Catoosa County Chief Financial Officer Carl Henson says the worker’s compensation premium for 2019 will include significant savings over last year.

“Catoosa County is a member of the non-profit ACCG Self-Insurance Worker’s Compensation Fund,” Henson explained. “Catoosa County does receive that safety discount each year of 7.5 percent. That’s a $27,000 reduction to the premium.”

Henson says a 6.9-percent decrease in rates for 2019, as well as a dividend of $4 million split up between eligible members of the fund, will also create savings.

“Here again, we received the reduction of 6.9 percent, a net reduction in premium of $20,000. We received the discount of the safety discount program of $27,101 and also the awarded county portion of the dividend was $57,579,” Henson said.

Ultimately, commissioners unanimously approved the 2019 invoice in the amount of $276,671.

Firefighter insurance

In addition to the worker’s compensation insurance, the board also approved a new agreement for annual lump-sum cancer benefit and long-term disability insurance for both full-time and volunteer firefighters.

In 2017, Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 146, which requires municipalities to carry lump-sum cancer benefit and long-term disability insurance coverage for firefighters.

Henson explained that eligibility and premiums are based on all full-time employees, part-time employees, and volunteer firefighters of the county as provided on the roster who have served 12 consecutive months as a firefighter with the county.

“The proposal with the insurer, Chubb Accident and Health Insurance, is a fixed-price annual premium,” Henson said. “The current year is $11,904. It’s a reduction in premium from the prior year of $652 and that’s due to a reduction of two career firefighters and two volunteers. We’re currently insuring 48 career firefighters and 24 volunteers.”

When a firefighter reaches 12 months of service with the county, the firefighter is automatically covered throughout the rest of the current year.

“The average premium is about $163 per year for each person,” Henson said.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.