Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved the new township liability insurance contract during the March 22 meeting following a detailed presentation by John Johnson of Burnham Flower Insurance.
The annual premium of $118,041 includes multiple provisions for damage and loss of township property along with liability coverage. Johnson explained that as the township has been a member of the Michigan Township Participation Plan or PAR "for quite a few years," there are several benefits and grants available as part of the policy. He explained that the township has received a total of $37,000 as dividend returns and that a return is expected again this year although the amount has not yet been calculated.
Johnson also urged the township to take advantage of the risk return grants offered by the insurer. He said the township has already received two grants at $5,000 each and that criteria for the funding has been expanded to include a "wide variety of things that can be approved" including generators and training.
"Police, fire or EMS training may be covered and is potentially eligible for these grant funds," he told the trustees. Last fall, he said, there were about 90 applications or the grants and almost 70 of those were approved, and "we now offer reimbursement for professional certifications."
There were very few changes to the policy coverage, Johnson explained, although the policy does include a valuation update for replacement of items and a "3 to 4-percent inflation rider." He told the board that the insurer is "working with Esther (Township Clerk Esther Hurst) constantly" to insure accurate property records for coverage. "This is an intent to keep up with inflation," he added.
Trustee Don LaPorte asked Johnson to clarify that the $2.6 million valuation at Fire Station Number One with an $89,000 contents value did not include fire equipment. Johnson said that this was for the building and miscellaneous items such as building furniture but did not include the fire vehicles or actual equipment used to fight a fire which was covered under another policy.
Trustee Matt Oddy asked about the liability of the township for employees cutting weeds and vegetation on Wayne County property, something trustees agreed to do to allow for visibility of traffic signs and other vehicles and several intersections in the township.
"If township employees are in the county easement without permission from the county, who is liable if there are injuries," he asked.
Township attorney Rob Young suggested that the township send notification to the county saying that the clearing of the weeds from the intersections will be provided in an effort to solicit approval of access to the easements. That would insure the viability of liability coverage he and Johnson agreed.