Commissioners talk insurance, liability

The Warren County Commissioners talked insurance possibilities and limiting liability during a brief work session this week.

Fiscal Director Judy Albaugh said the county’s current liability policy has a $5,000,000 limit and requested permission to go obtain quotes for a rider to the policy to extend that upper limit.

“When we have DHS (Department of Human Services) caseworkers… transporting children in vehicles. If they have a vehicle accident (with) two-plus kids, the changes of a claim to hit the payout in that bracket (are) a lot higher. Our limit includes any claims paid out and legal fees paid.”

“It’s a next to never that we would use it,” she said, but “something we should consider getting.”

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said that, with the exposure the county has, he is surprised the total is not higher and suggested Albaugh go solicit quotes.

Shifting to limiting liability, Kafferlin said that they met with members of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) and said, “there are opportunities to apply for grants to fix some of the systemic” problems they are experiencing from a liability perspective.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said he spoke with county maintenance last week regarding courthouse signage and the condition of the parking lot.

“We can probably do some patching but I think the parking lot is going to need to be redone relatively soon,” he said.

He added that, with single point of entry limiting access to the Fifth Avenue side of the courthouse, there is a need for a sidewalk that runs up the side of the building. Currently, many people walk up the parking lot.

Eggleston asked if there was funding available to examine the parking lot and come up with a plan.

“Since we do have single point,” Albaugh said, “(the) sidewalk is a safety issue.”

Kafferlin said that there was some money put into the 2018 capital budget but he described the amount as “a little bit” and “not enough to do it.”

He said the county could dip into the Rouse road fund or grants through their liability insurance company “because we have had enough slips and falls.”