Insurance costs rising for city


Insurance expenses for the city of Philadelphia are going up.

Allen Hardy of Philadelphia Security Insurance informed the Mayor and Board of aldermen during their meeting Dec. 15 that the price they accepted for employee healthcare insurance with United Healthcare and Gulf Guaranty in their previous meeting has been increased by 9 percent.

During the first eight months of 2020, the city’s premium payment was $300,000 while United Healthcare paid out $409,000 in claims, roughly a 136 percent loss ratio.

United Healthcare proposed a 19-percent rate increase for 2021. 

PSI and the city negotiated a gap plan option by combining coverage with United Healthcare and Gulf Guaranty that would lower the increase to 13 percent increase on the city’s part while also lowering out of pocket expenses and deductibles for the employees.

United Healthcare has invoked a clause where it could increase its price by 9 percent if the city combined its coverage with another gap plan.

PSI brought back another proposal that was a combination of Gulf Guaranty and United Healthcare’s plans.

The city doesn’t have much bargaining room, officials said. United Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi are the only major carriers that write group health insurance policies in Mississippi. 

When approached, Blue Cross said it could not be competitive, the city said.

Aldermen voted to rescind the order in last week’s meeting and then voted to accept the revised new plan with United Healthcare and Gulf Guaranty.

They then turned to the rising costs for the city’s property/casualty insurance. The new price will be up around $24,000.

One reason for the increase was the number of city vehicles being insured, going up from 55 to 61, officials said.

Ward 1 Alderman Joe Tullos suggested the city only provide liability coverage for police cars that are four or five years old and have more than 100,000 miles on them. 

Police Chief Julian Greer said he would prepare a list. Negotiations were to continue.

The list of city buildings insured has been updated recently and aldermen voted to accept the changes.

In other business,  a public hearing about used tries that have been accumulating around Hardy Tire on Beacon Street was continued until Jan. 5.

The need to repair the roof at City Hall was discussed.

In other matters, aldermen voted to:

• Approve the minutes and the claims docket from the previous meeting;

• Approve the payment of $25,419 to Tony Watson Electric per Waggoner Engineering for the Automated Weather Operations Systems (AWOS) project at the airport, which is under way. 

Aldermen were informed of a $9,000 increase in the contract with Waggoner. 

Project manager Darion Warren explained that construction and observation work needed to oversee the project is already $5,000 over budget with more work to be done.

Also, $2,000 was needed to upgrade two Federal licenses for the system that have been expired.

After some discussion, aldermen voted to pay $2000 for the licenses because it was reimbursable but took no action of the remaining part of the bill;

• Approve the closure of the public hearing on the house at 510 Holland Ave. Aldermen consider the matter resolved; and,

• Approve the purchase of two equipment trailers from Lewis Trailer Sales at a cost of $27,440. This is being funded through the Task Force Grant account.

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