WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A federal lawsuit is costing the Mohegan Sun Arena in more ways than one.
The site’s insurance premiums increased this year, one by 25 percent due to the suit that’s on appeal.
The 11-member Luzerne County Convention Center Authority that oversees the arena approved a coverage package costing $13,700 presented by the Joyce Insurance Group of Pittston. The old package that included coverage for employment-related practices cost $10,979, Joe Joyce told the authority members at their monthly meeting Wednesday.
“We have an outstanding claim,” Joyce said, and $41,000 has been paid on it so far.
The authority and SMG, the manager of the arena, were sued two years ago over the restrictions placed on animal-rights protesters during performances by the former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In April, a federal judge in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of Silvie Pomicter and the non-profit Last Chance for Animals. The authority and SMG have appealed that ruling.
The authority met in a closed-door executive session after its monthly meeting to discuss the litigation. During the public session, it approved a package for property, liability, umbrella and other coverage from Assured Partners Inc. of Plains Township that costs $136,748, an increase of $5,364.
Edward Miller of Assured Partners described the arena’s loss history as “good” with only two claims in 15 years.
“The issue we had this year is the building,” said Miller. But there are not physical or structural concerns, he said, adding the arena that opened in 1999 is run and maintained very well.
The 22 school shootings in the last year; violence and the threat of terrorism at concerts and stadiums; and weather have rattled the industry, shrinking the number of carriers willing to provide coverage, Miller explained.
He mentioned the tornado that tore through the nearby business corridor and caused an estimated $18 million in damage last month. Data compiled for the insurance industry has shown “storms are now moving 7 miles an hour slower in the U.S.,” hence causing more damage, he said.
The carrier, Chubb, was thinking about not renewing the policy, Miller informed the authority. But it made a deal for someone else to cover the first $5 million in liability coverage and pick up the remaining $20 million, he said.
Joyce suggested that even though his firm does not offer it, the authority should look into “active shooter coverage” given what’s happening in the world. Premiums range between $3,000 and $8,000 annually, he said.
Although it was not in reaction to the security concerns raised during the insurance renewals, the authority approved the drafting and issuing of a request for proposals for walk-through metal detectors.
Brian Sipe, SMG’s general manager of the arena, said multiple detectors would be placed at both entrances.
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.