Niota insurance costs jump over 700%

Niota insurance costs jump over 700%

Niota is insured again at a cost of more than seven times of the old policy. Niota is insured again at a cost of more than seven times of the old policy.

NIOTA (WATE) – Niota is insured again at a cost of more than seven times of the old policy. 

The town of Niota was a skeleton of its former self after losing liability insurance more than a week ago. About a half dozen city employees were laid off as a result.

The police department was dark and the door was locked. The park was roped off with caution tape. The town's small library was also off limits. 

"I think we will get this worked out," said Mayor Lois Preece at the time. She explained why the town's liability insurer dropped them.

"There was some intentional harassment done by the commissioners toward the employees," Preece said.

The insurer, the Tennessee Municipal League Pool (TML), seems to point to that in a letter to the mayor this spring that states that a review of the claims activity, "reveals a pattern of actions aimed at city employees by city representatives that is severely outside the standards required."

City Hall provided paperwork about harassment claims by a former employee against commissioners Leesa Corum and Richard Rutledge. 

"For anyone to believe we would lose insurance coverage because someone made an accusation about harassment claims is ridiculous," Corum said.

She said the real reason the town was dropped is that the insurer has already paid out too much on behalf of the city, more than $200,000 in the last several years. TML would not confirm any numbers or any more specific reasons for discontinuing their coverage.

City commissioners agreed in an emergency meeting on Friday to a new policy that will cost about $58,000 per year.  The last policy cost the city $7,122 per year. 

The new policy includes a $26,768 per year premium for general liability insurance from Travelers Insurance.  Law enforcement liability insurance will cost the city $31,507 per year. 


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