Cullman County Commission calls special meeting to discuss insurance agreement

(Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Commission called a special meeting Tuesday to discuss their Property and Casualty Insurance agreement. In an earlier November meeting, the Commission considered changing their insurance provider to Byars Wright and more time was requested to review the agreement.

Cullman County Administrator John Bullard stated, “Given the limited time frame that we have, we have to have insurance in place by December 1 and the fact that there are still some unknowns, uncertainties on the time frame and being able to get everything changed over, I’m going to recommend that we go back with our current provider and then reevaluate for the upcoming year.” Bullard recommended staying with Smith-Gray Insurance for the present time. He said “The premium amount was $739,907. That was not the lowest, but that’s something we know what the coverage is, and everyone feels comfortable with what is paid out in the past and we know how it works.”

The Cullman insurance brokers with Byars Wright, Trae Norrell and Lawson Schaffer, gave their proposal. Norrell said, “We began this process March 22 of sitting down, walking through policies and we laid out a timeline of everything that we walked through. Our recommendation is different than what is set in place. It’s different from a company standpoint. It’s different from a premium standpoint. For us, what we try to do with the best information provided was line up an apples-to-apples comparison to what you three gentlemen would make the decision of. So, the question at hand that I hear from John as well is making sure we get everything in place by Dec. 1. I’m here to assure you of that. If you were willing to make a change…Really the workload from now until December 1 will be on our shoulders. Yes, it’ll be getting the information, but also carrying this thing to the finish line which at the end of the day will provide a partnership for risk management and property that I think will benefit the County Commission.” Schaffer added, “The actual savings you will have this following year will be around $154,000 by going with Byars Wright. If you look at it from a numbers and business standpoint, I don’t see how it could be a wrong decision.”

Kerry Watson voted to go back with Smith-Gray Insurance.

Garry Marchman stated, “I don’t have enough experience or knowledge in the insurance business to make a good solid recommendation for either argument, but I also know that many times we have to go off of what our department heads recommend because they are supposed to be the subject matter’s experts. So, I’m going to, at this time, second the motion to go with what our administrator recommended.”

The Chairman passed the motion and adjourned the meeting. The next Commission meeting will be Tuesday, December 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room.

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