Tampa Not Deliberately going without insurance, Aid Says by Mitch E. Perry08/31/06
The City of Tampaâ€™s budget director says the City does have a problem getting insurance. But contrary to an editorial in the Tampa Tribune, city administrators says itâ€™s because a property insurer is NOT available in the market.
In their lead editorial today, the Tribune described the cityâ€™s decision to largely self-insure as a â€˜risky solutionâ€™ 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 Cityâ€™s Revenue and Finance Director. She says whatâ€™s happening with Tampa and insurance is a reflection of whatâ€™s happening with individuals, businesses, and yes, local governments, all across Florida (roll tape#1 o.q.â€?in the marketâ€?)
Wise said the sad situation for the City regarding insurance in part occurred because of when the cityâ€™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.â€? For less insuranceâ€?)
The cityâ€™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 â€œthat sort of thingâ€?)
Wise said that the Florida Government Finance Officers Association is looking at such an arrangement.
The Cityâ€™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 â€“ if a major storm did hit Tampa , what would the cityâ€™s options be?(roll tape#4 o.q.â€?as a city haveâ€?)
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.