Tampa Not Deliberately going without insurance, Aid Says by Mitch E. Perry


The City of Tampa’s budget director says the City does have a problem getting insurance. But contrary to an editorial in the Tampa Tribune, city administrators says it’s because a property insurer is NOT available in the market.

In their lead editorial today, the Tribune described the city’s decision to largely self-insure as a ‘risky solution’ to the insurance crises, because the city lacks the funds to rebuild many of the assets it owns if a catastrophic storm hit Tampa.

Bonnie Wise is the City’s Revenue and Finance Director. She says what’s happening with Tampa and insurance is a reflection of what’s happening with individuals, businesses, and yes, local governments, all across Florida (roll tape#1 o.q.�in the market�)

Wise said the sad situation for the City regarding insurance in part occurred because of when the city’s previous policy expired, and the market having dried up significantly at that time.

Wise refered to other localities, like Pinellas County, and the Osceola School District is getting much dramatically less coverage from their previous Policy (roll tape#2 o.q.� For less insurance�)

The city’s new insurance policy covers a maximum of only $30 million dollars in property damage, while owning over a billion dollars in facilities, like their police headquarters and the Howard Curran wastewater treatment plant.

Wise says if the City CAN purchase more insurance, they will and have done so, but the market is completely different.

City Councilman John Dingfelder ask City officials if there is any discussion with the Florida League of Cities about helping out local governments with insurance (roll tape#3 “that sort of thing�)

Wise said that the Florida Government Finance Officers Association is looking at such an arrangement.

The City’s Risk Manager, Mike McNabb, says he has had discussions with Hillsborough County officials about sharing resources, or pulling their buying power to help with purchasing insurance.

Councilmember Sean Harrison asked Budget Director Wise – if a major storm did hit Tampa , what would the city’s options be?(roll tape#4 o.q.�as a city have�)

Wise also told the City that the city is still waiting for several hundred thousand dollars from FEMA, in reimbursement fees from hurricanes Jeanne and Frances in 2004.

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