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Lincoln County supervisors saving on insurance

When the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors met Monday, they were given a solution instead of a problem.

Insurance agent Gerald Delaney presented the board with two ways to help the county save money when faced with unwarranted insurance claims.

The first is an option that would allow Delaney to check out every claim submitted to the county’s insurance on property, individuals and equipment. If approved, Delaney will address each claim as it arises, weeding out the ones that do not apply to the county — such as ones made against employees and equipment of private companies or the state.

“A lot of claims are not ours,” Delaney explained. The county sees an average of 17 claims a month, he said. The majority of these shouldn’t be filed against the county’s insurance, he said.

Under this proposal, the county will invest in $1,000 monthly premiums, a figure District 1 Supervisor Jerry Wilson objected to.

“That’s extra money,” said Wilson. “I need extra money myself right now.”

But Delaney assured the board that the county would save more than $1,000 each month just in removing incorrect claims, and thereby avoiding payment of deductibles that should not have been paid.

Regarding Delaney’s assurance that he would investigate every claim, Wilson asked, “Your service is going to be free? F-R-E-E?” Delaney said his efforts would be, but the $1,000 monthly premium would apply.

At District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown’s recommendation, the board voted to table the issue until they could look at more documentation concerning Delaney’s recommendation.

Delaney’s second recommendation allowed the board to lower the deductible on legitimate property claims.

On behalf of the board, Delaney negotiated a drop in property deductibles. The county pays a $25,000 deductible per property claim. The renegotiated deductible is $10,000.

“We pay the first $25,000 now on every claim,” county administrator David Fields told the board.

County attorney Bob Allen said $25,000 is a high deductible. “To me, it’d be worth it for the deductible,” he said.

Delaney said no other changes would be made to the policy.

Supervisors accepted the recommendation on a unanimous vote.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a request for a homestead exemption appeal from William and Diane Hay, who moved to the county from Louisiana in the middle of 2015. The Hays filed state taxes in Louisiana and Mississippi so the state’s computer program automatically denied their homestead exemption because it looked like they lived at two residences. The Hays requested that supervisors acknowledge their residency in Lincoln County so they could appeal the homestead exemption denial by the state.

• Approved tax exemption on less than 2.5 acres of land donated to Heucks Retreat Baptist Church by David Oberschmidt.

• Approved dismissal of a property tax chargeback of Roland Stewart, deceased.

• Approved the interstate lighting reimbursement of $606.07 to Brookhaven for one-half of the month’s bill.

• Approved a crime scene investigation class for investigator Byron Catchings with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved attendance at the annual sheriff’s conference for Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing.