TREASURE ISLAND — In hopes that staying with its current insurance carrier will prove best in the long run, city commissioners may decide to spend almost $6,500 more on coverage.
The city is looking at a 14 percent increase in dental coverage at a cost of $4,788 and a 20 percent increase in long-term disability insurance coverage at a cost of $1,656. Life insurance costs remain flat. It is not known whether health insurance will be increasing.
But city staff says sticking with Standard Insurance, the current insurance provider, is best because of the two-year guarantee the company has offered of no rate increase for dental, life and long-term disability coverage when the new contract begins Oct. 1.
The one bid the city did receive from Lincoln Financial would have saved the city the $6,444 increase but Jennifer Poirrier, director of Human Resources, said she expects costs would have spiraled the following year.
"We don't want anyone buying our business," she told commissioners, who are expected to make a decision at their next meeting July 1. "It is possible there would be a huge increase after the first year."
City employees won't see any changes in benefits or costs, City Manager Reid Silverboard said. But the cash-strapped city will have to absorb the extra $6,444 through general revenue and enterprise funds.
"We are getting additional funds from assessed values," he said. "And our enterprise fund rates are structured to accommodate an annual inflation rate."
Sewer and storm water fees, part of the enterprise funds, will be going up, said Silverboard, who is working on the budget for next year.
Poirrier said staying with the same carrier has its advantages.
"Remaining with a carrier for multiple years has a benefit of developing a relationship that demonstrates some commitment that aids in favorable renewals for future years as well as eliminates the disruption to employees that switching carriers can bring," she said.
Silverboard agrees. "Our employees obviously are our most important resource," he said, "and we have to ask, for $6,000, is it worth the disruption to them?"