Decorah City Council not in agreement on insurance endorsement
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:19 AM
Decorah City Council members are not in agreement on whether to endorse the National Service Line Warranty Program.
Last year was the first year of the program that offers citizens the option of purchasing water and sewer line insurance protection and the Council agreed to allow the company to use the city's Decorah logo on its letterhead for marketing.
The program is endorsed by the National League of Cities and the Iowa League of Cities and provides coverage from the water or sewer main back to the foundation of the home, which is the homeowner's responsibility. Last year, the average cost for coverage was about $5.95 per month for the sewer line and $4.95 per month for the water line.
The warranty program has 673 enrollments in Decorah; there have been 11 completed claims and no claims have been denied. City Manager Chad Bird told the Decorah City Council last week the company will be marketing the water main insurance this fall and is again seeking the city's support for the program.
Bird reported some residents had problems working with the company and that he had been personally involved in two cases.
"I believe the current problems have been resolved," he said.
The problems occurred when the insurance company only wanted to pay to repair a two-or three-foot section when the plumber recommended the whole line be replaced.
"In one instance, (the insurance company) paid for the whole repair, and in another, the property owner made up the difference," said Bird, who added he would understand why a property owner wouldn't want their yard torn up more than once.
Water/Sewer Superintendent Todd Ihde said other than the instances Bird referred to, he hadn't received any complaints or concerns about the insurance company.
Mayor Don Arendt said he wanted the topic discussed again at the Council's next meeting because his signature goes out on the marketing piece for the company.
Council member Carolyn Corbin said the mayor's signature might lead citizens to believe that is the city's option for insurance or the only option available.
Arendt said most of the cities utilizing the program are satisfied with it.
Corbin said she's glad it's working for citizens, but it could still be offered without a letter of endorsement from the city.
Council member Paul Wanless said he agreed.
"We're letting them use the city to advertise their program," he said.
Bird said the insurance could continue to be offered with or without the city's endorsement.
Council member Randy Schissel said he has no problem with the city endorsing the insurance. Council member Gary Rustad said the city endorsing the program doesn't prevent other companies from requesting the same thing.
Corbin made a motion not to send a letter out using the mayor's endorsement. The motion failed with Corbin and Council member Jody Niess voting for it and Council members Rachel Vagts, Jarrad Walter, Wanless, Schissel and Rustad voting against it. The issue was referred to the Council's community betterment committee for further discussion.