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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete weighs value of terrorism insurance

10

March

What's the risk of Tropicana Field being attacked by terrorists? More to the point, is it worth insuring against?

On Thursday, a City Council commitee decided it wasn't.

Right now, the city prefers to pay insurers to protect the property against damage from a bomb or other type of terror: The $100 million policy costs $45,724 a year.

Perhaps not for much longer. The council's Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee voted to scrap that insurance, saying that it wasn't worth it.

Council member Darden Rice said it felt like insurers were peddling fear to sell a policy.

City staff said there was no way to calculate the risk of an attack on the Trop, but that terrorists often chose high-profile landmarks. 

That wasn't the case in a recent attack in San Bernardino, Calif where a couple picked a center for the developmentally-disabled to undertake a shooting spree.

Council member Charlie Gerdes said he thought San Bernardino was the result of "wack jobs," not terrorists. But the Tampa Bay Rays have been good enough in recent years to make the possibility of a playoff series or even the World Series itself in St. Petersburg worth the cost of insuring the dome and property, he said.

"To make the 'poof' the biggest it can be," Gerdes said.

He was the only one on the Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee who felt that way. By a 3-1 vote, the committee advanced the city's property insurance policy to a full council vote without the terrorism policy for the Trop.

The committee didn't squash another terrorism policy for the city's water supply. That $19,450 premium covers $354 million in assets. 

[Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2016 5:11pm]

    

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