Commissioners talk insurance

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – During their Wednesday meeting, Belmont County commissioners heard a report from Ginny Shrimplin of CORSA Insurance regarding a renewal update.

She was joined by Bob Bethel, chair of the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Belmont County, and Matt Thomas, committee member.

Shrimplin gave a positive report, noting the county’s decrease of 2 percent in total premium, while pool-wide there was a 3 percent increase due to increasing property rates. The 2 percent decrease comes to $9,258.

The county also received loss control member equity credit of $41,280. They also received a loss control incentive program credit of $4,549 for participating in the program and meeting some guidelines.

Total amount due this year is $463,959, a reduction from last year’s $473,218.

“We went through some rough times in Belmont County, and I really have to commend you,” she said. “Everybody has really worked and made an effort to keep those losses down and participate in our programs.”

She noted three coverage enhancements made to the program this year. The attorney disciplinary action coverage has been expanded to include any attorney who is employed by the county. Contracted individuals are not covered. Coverage is limited to $25,000, with an annual aggregate of $25,000.

The employee dishonest/faithful performance coverage will no longer have a deductible. This is due to an increase in the number of claims. The attorney general’s office is becoming involved and has decided that should a county employee commit a theft, no county money can be used to repay the loss. The Ohio Revised Code specifies that elected officials are responsible for the actions of their employees and would have to pay the deductible.

“We didn’t want that to happen so we are doing away with the deductible,” said Shrimplin.

In addition, a $1,000 limit has been added to claims expense coverage.

Also, CORSA has put the local agency representation policy statement in writing.

She presented the stewardship report, listing the full benefits the county received during the past three years through CORSA membership. She noted the county has made frequent use of the HR help line 2010 and 2011 for legal advice.

“It does help prevent a lot of losses for the county. Your invoice, your program costs reflect that this year,” she said, also commending the county for sending contracts to CORSA for review.

Shrimplin also commended Fred Thompson, the previous sheriff, for his efforts in taking advantage of online CORSA classes.

Board accepted the resignation of Dwayne Pielech as director of Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, effective July 12, 2013. He held the post for the last 14 years. Commissioners accepted by a vote of 2-1, with Commissioner Matt Coffland dissenting.

Commissioners motioned to enter into a roadway use maintenance agreement for pipeline and compressor projects and infrastructure with Ohio Gathering Co. LLC for the use of .50 miles of Belmont 100 (McMillan Road) for the purpose of ingress and egress for pipeline activity. A county-wide $5 million bond is on file.

Commissioners approved a motion to adopt a revised county roadway use maintenance agreement for drilling projects and infrastructure.

In other matters, commissioners noted that Community Development Block Grant funds available were down to $190,000 this year from last year’s $212,000. The applications are due by June 21.

Commissioners motioned to adopt a resolution establishing a Capital Projects-Senior Centers Fund to accumulate resources for the acquisition, construction, or improvement of fixed assets. These include acquiring, constructing or improving facilities and equipment and providing for contingencies and unexpected emergencies related to maintaining facilities and equipment. Money shall not accumulate in the fund for more than 10 years. If not used after 10 years, the fiscal officer will transfer all money in the fund to the original source or the fund intended to receive the money.

Commissioner Ginny Favede was authorized to execute a Master Group Policy with THP Insurance Co. Inc. for health insurance coverage for eligible Belmont County employees for one year, commencing June 1.

The next commissioners’ meeting is set for Tuesday, April 23, at 10 a.m. The Wednesday meeting is canceled due to the oil and gas expo.

DeFrank can be reached at