County's vehicle insurance officials recommend defensive driving course
BENTON - MOPERM has a new policy for insuring government fleets: All of the cars or none.
"We will no longer write just a portion of them," said Jenny Morrison, member services specialist for MOPERM, during Tuesday's Scott County Commission meeting.
Scott County has used MOPERM, a not-for-profit insurance pool for government agencies, to insure the sheriff's department vehicles since 1997.
MOPERM provides coverage for 55 other counties and 730 public entities in Missouri, according to Sean McGonigle, risk management consultant for MOPERM.
In order to continue to cover the sheriff's department, however, MOPERM will need to also cover the county's 10 other vehicles, Morrison said.
Morrison and McGonigle visited commissioners to inform them of the underwriting change and advise them on how to improve their loss ratio.
Officials reviewed the county's history since 1997 looking at its premiums, claims and loss ratio.
Since 1997, the county has had 10 accidents and 15 claims for a loss ratio of about 400 percent, according to McGonigle. "It appears there could be some defensive driving needs," he said.
The MOPERM officials said while they are not a regular insurance company that will cancel their insurance, they do need some way to control losses. "We need to see a commitment that there's going to be an emphasis on defensive driving," said McGonigle.
McGonigle said Scott County is fortunate in that a defensive driving course is available in Cape Girardeau for law enforcement officers. MOPERM has available a $50 rebate for the hands-on course, he added.
He said as a condition of coverage, Scott County needs to implement some programs and policies to address the driving issues such as written guidelines and qualifications for driving county vehicles.
MOPERM has a resource library available with model documents that can be used by members.
McGonigle also recommended disciplining or require remedial driving for deputies that wreck cars but added: "We understand law enforcement is a more hazardous activity...and not all accidents are the deputies' fault."
"My guess is we're going to be as competitive as anything," Morrison said of MOPERM's rates.
In other Scott County news:
* The county may assume the lead role in a Tax Increment Funding agreement for renovations at the Sikeston Outlet Mall.
Scott County Economic Developer Jim Schwaninger said as the Sikeston Outlet Mall in Miner provides the county's greatest source of sales tax revenue, officials are very interested in seeing that retail area grow and are willing to participate in the TIF and help in any way they can.
"Miner kind of has its hands full right now with its own financial administration," said Schwaninger.
Miner officials will meet with the mall's developer, Phil Boyer, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Miner City Hall to iron out remaining details.
Schwaninger also updated commissioners on other economic development efforts.
Scott County received word late last week that the county was approved for a $15,000 grant through the National Association of Counties, according to Schwaninger. "The funds are for the initial software needed to do a Geographic Information System for the county," he explained.
The county has also submitted a grant application to the Mississippi Delta Regional Authority for federal funds to complete the GIS database and get parcel information "resolved, digitized and in the system," Schwaninger said. "It could be an 18-month process."
Schwaninger said he is also gathering information from real estate agents on their commercial buildings for inclusion in an online database for industries and businesses.
* County officials have scheduled an informational meeting on forming a drainage district in Scott County east of Highway 61 for 8 p.m. June 3 at the courthouse.
* Scott County's road and bridge department is looking for applicants "with some experience with what we do," according to Harlan Duncan, road and bridge department supervisor.
* The cost of boarding Scott County prisoners at other facilities for April was down $7,780 from March, according to Jamie Burger, commissioner.
The total for April was $38,285 of which $19,705 went to Cape Girardeau County, $13,580 went to Mississippi County and $5,000 went to Butler County.