Insurance cheaper, better, reflects a sign of the times

Staff Writer

Pay less, get better coverage. It sounds like a car insurance commercial or something similar. But while it may sound too good to be true in the commercial, it's actually the case for the city of West Point.

Gil Lyons of Lyons Insurance, the city's insurance agent, told Selectmen the city's liability insurance will cost $148,899 starting July 1, a savings of more than $3,800 from the current rate while the coverage is better than what the city has now.

The new policy will be with Travelers, which has handled the city's insurance in the past before One Beacon offered enough savings and comparable coverage four years ago to lure the city away.

"It's a definite recommendation. I wouldn't worry about the switch," Lyons told the board. "Last year, it was a toss up between One Beacon and Travelers. This year there is no doubt."

While the new policy has some significant improvements, it also reflects a sign of the times with safeguards included for cyber computer attacks and terrorism.

"We know the value of the coverage. It paid off for us this year," Mayor Robbie Robinson said when Lyons touched on the cyber liability coverage. "We got a virus in our computers this year and it cost us $22,000 to get it cleaned up."

The city's insurance covered most of the cost of those repairs, Robinson noted.

"It's something you have to have. If we could get all those people who are so smart to do good things it would be great," Lyons said, referring to hackers who find pleasure or profit in spreading computer viruses.
Likewise, the terrorism coverage is almost mandatory.

"You just about can't write policies these days without a terrorism clause," City Administrator Randy Jones said.

he big improvements to the coverage include covering more vehicles -- 104 compared to 96 -- at a lower premium and a removal of what is known in the insurance industry as a 120 percent margin.

In those cases, if a building cost $200,000 to replace and is covered for only $100,000, the insurance carrier will only pay $120,000. The new policy will cover the entire replacement costs, Lyons explained.
"That is a significant difference, a major improvement," he said.

The policy even has provisions in case something happens to the city's drug and tracking dog.
"It covers just about everything you could imagine," Lyons said during his review of the policy options.