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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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Oregon city council on Monday approved the renewal of the city’s liability insurance coverage with The Ohio Plan. The cost to renew the plan represented a 6 percent increase over last year’s agreement.

The coverage is administered by The Hylant Group.

Brooks Insurance, of Toledo, and Wells Fargo Insurance, of Dayton, also submitted bids to the city, according to Mayor Mike Seferian.

The total premium with Hylant represented the lowest bid at $183,350. Brooks Insurance bid $215,962 and Welles Fargo bid $187,212.

Administrator Mike Beazley said the city had “spirited exchanges” with the other two companies to obtain the best coverage.

“They made strong cases for being the best. We did feel The Hylant Group was closest to the specs we provided and also it was the lowest price,” said Beazley. “We’ve had a good strong solid relationship with them. We’ve had good experiences with the other proposers as well. But we feel very comfortable recommending the lowest and best bid - in this case, The Hylant Group.”

City Finance Director Kathy Hufford said the city has been with The Ohio Plan since 2004, “so we do have quite a bit of history with them.”

Councilman James Seaman asked if other companies also offer The Ohio Plan in their bids.

Laurie Weinberg, of the Hylant Group, said the distribution of The Ohio Plan in Ohio is limited. “However, we have approximately 30 agents in the state of Ohio that are selected based on the fact that they specialize in public entity insurance,” she said. “The people who have the other bids do not access the Ohio Plan.”

Last year, the city’s premium with The Ohio Plan was $173,000, according to Hufford, which was 6 percent lower.

Seaman asked if the rate increased because there were more claims made against the city last year.

Weinberg said the loss ratio for the last five years is 725 percent.

“We’ve had some public official claims that are driving that loss ratio. Typically, you never want a loss ratio over 100 percent. Companies prefer 50 percent or lower. So that’s driving some of the rate increase,” she said.

“The Ohio Plan is always below the standard market rate because we’re a pool and we can stay below the `for profit’ insurance companies’ rates. So your rates are still really competitive,” she added.

“In a large city, you’re always going to have general liability claims – slip and falls – and you’re always going to have some property claims,” she said.

“The Ohio Plan really touts keeping rates stable, so you are never going to see big jumps, even if you have large claims,” said Weinberg. “You’re always going to see some sense of stability. The standard market rate now is running at a 10 percent increase, especially on property. You’re well below the market trend.”

The Ohio Plan, established in 1988, currently has 775 public entities that are members of the Ohio Plan, including cities, townships, villages, libraries, and water and sewer districts – any public entities can join.

The pool for schools is a separate fund called the Ohio School Plan.

“We have about 300 schools in the state,” said Weinberg. The Oregon City Schools District is not part of the Ohio School Plan, she said.

Health insurance is also offered through The Ohio Plan health care consortium.

“It is helping public entities get good rates. It’s available if you want to look at it,” Weinberg said to council. “It’s a pool as well. It’s very stable. It’s been around for five years. The board of directors designed it because public entities were in search of better rates for small groups. Small groups tend not to be able to get the coverage and rates they would like. If you ever want to get a quote, let us know.”

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