Village: Good news on insurance front


After weeks of battling with Granville Village insurer, Trident, regarding claims tied to the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Irene, village clerk treasurer Rick

Roberts said he’s finally getting some good news.

During a conference call Friday, Nov. 4 village officials spoke with representatives from Trident who agreed to pay the major portion of claims made by the village, those at the waste water treatment plant off of Mettowee Street. Total losses in the village are currently estimated at about $1.3 million.

The losses in the waste water treatment plant alone are expected to top $500,000. “While this is not complete coverage, this is fairly good news,” Roberts said.

Damage to other village properties such as waste water pumping stations, the water well field and the Slate Valley Museum will be covered, but will each have a $50,000 deductible.

Those repairs should be covered by a combination of funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA and its New York State counterpart SEMA. “With everything combined I believe we will be made whole again,” Roberts said.

Mayor Brian LaRose praised the village staff for their work Monday night saying it was a combination of persistence by Roberts and deputy clerk Denise Davies along with excellent record keeping and documentation by Superintendent Dan Williams and his crew that helped bring about this resolution. 

LaRose said he authorized Roberts to keep the pressure on Trident and their local carrier Cool Insurance Agency Inc. after receiving word the company did not plan to cover flooding losses in the village.

Since that information became public Roberts said the village had been contacted by several firms offering to collect for the village for a percentage of the funds recovered. Monday night Cool’s claims manager Mike Plunkett said he thought things worked out well with the village receiving coverage for the heft of the damage and Trident fulfilling its responsibilities to its customer.

In the aftermath of the storm, on the Labor Day holiday, an adjuster from the insurance company came to the village and urged officials to get started with repairs.

However, a month later Trident reversed course and told the village it was not covered because it had not purchased additional insurance board members referred to sarcastically as ‘super insurance.’

At the October village board meeting insurance agent Gary Edie and Cool Insurance Company owner John ‘Jack’ Bienek told the village board they should have purchased additional insurance to cover the first $500,000 in losses Trident said it would not pay.

Trident claimed the village must pay the first $500,000 in damage as well as $50,000 deductibles “per location” before insurance coverage kicked in.

The village contended based on communications with its insurance agent the municipality had $1 million in flood insurance with a single $50,000 deductible. Edie said the company would respond in a week to 10 days

Officials with Trident referred the matter to an ‘independent attorney’ to evaluate the claim and determine their liability. Plunkett said that move, referring the coverage question to an independent coverage council, was not unusual because the company “wanted to do the right thing” and was not trying to avoid paying out for a claim.

When Trident announced it would not pay for flooding damage, the village countered claiming the area of the waste water treatment plant should be covered because it was damaged by backed up waste water when the plant experienced several times more water than its designed maximum capacity during and after Irene, Roberts said. That tactic worked and Monday night Edie said the coverage was not the only good news. Because the village upgraded its policy, the damage being covered as backed up water carries a $1,000 deductible, not the $5,000 deductible initially announced.

 

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