Last updated: July 18. 2014 4:15PM - 1791 Views
By - jandes@timesleader.com

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Luzerne County Council is set to vote next week on the hiring of The Zigmund Co., LTD, as the county’s new insurance “risk manager” for $25,500.

The Harrisburg-based company would replace DGK Insurance and Financial Services of Factoryville, which had been paid $35,000 annually.

DGK had been hired by prior commissioners in November 2011, with options to renew its contract in 2013 and 2014. However, the company declined to keep the county contract in 2014 because a company official is retiring, county officials said.

A risk manager reviews policies and claims to come up with recommendations on the dollar amounts and types of coverage that should be purchased by the county, including bonds covering some employees.

The risk manager also helps the county seek and review proposals from insurance brokers and examines policies secured by the selected broker to ensure the county is receiving requested services and coverage, officials say.

Some council members have questioned the added cost and need to continue retaining both a risk manager and insurance broker.

The county hired Bethlehem-based Brown & Brown of Lehigh Valley Inc. as an insurance broker through the end of 2014. The company receives a flat $110,000 fee to find insurance carriers and administer all claims for county coverage.

The administration maintains the risk manager provides an added service and provides a check and balance over the insurance broker. An attachment to next week’s meeting agenda says the administration is “VERY happy” with the training and other services provided by Brown & Brown but may not have the same “level of service or trust” if a different broker is selected in the future.

The county has budgeted more than $1 million this year for insurance coverage, including policies for vehicles, property and liability.

Two other companies submitted proposals to be risk manager at annual costs of $28,500 and $48,000, the agenda says.

The Zigmund Co.’s proposal was $18,000, but the company would be paid $25,500 to work more than a year, from the beginning of next month through Dec. 31, 2015.

Tuesday’s council voting session starts at 6 p.m. in the county meeting room at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre. The agenda is posted on the council section of the county website, www.luzernecounty.org.

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