This year Causeway Coast & Glens Council is spending more than £1million on insurance policies and currently there are 79 insurance claims against the council.
Members of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee were brought a report which outlined the annual insurance costs.
Council officer, Mr Stephen Wright, gave councillors a breakdown of the costs explaining that officers annually go through the European journal procurement exercise for a range of insurance policies but it is ‘proving difficult as a result of Brexit.’
Mr Wright added: “There are less insurance companies in the market and they are doing their best to push insurance prices up, so we are monitoring it closely.”
Committee members were informed that the total costs of the policies had increased by over £350,000 in the last year rising from £866,091.17 in 2019/20 to £1,217,045.96 for 2021/22 before Mr Wright explained what some of the policies cover.
“We have a Combined Liability policy which is the most expensive one and for this current year it costs £759,360.00,” he said. “It’s the public and employers liability where all the big claims sit.
“That’s when we have accidents and incidents by staff and the public generally and that’s the one we are really trying to control the costs of because it is really, really getting astronomical.
“The only way we can control that is to have a good claims ratio and reduce the actual cost to the insurer against what we pay each year.”
The official continued to explain what the Officials Indemnity policy which cost £59,464.33 for this year was.
“That’s for the staff and the councillors,” he added. “If you are challenged in some way legally or something happens, we have some insurance there so that the staff and councillors do have a degree of protection.
“The important bit about that is it is not for staff or councillors to take action against somebody it is there if somebody takes action against them then that’s when this policy kicks in.”
The Commercial Combined policy which covers all the council’s property portfolio has cost £147,367.36 this year.
Mr Wright explained: “The insurer is putting us under pressure now to give full details of all the property we have, including all the land and all the snippets of land. If we slip up somewhere and don’t provide enough details and an accident happens it is potentially a way for it to slip through the net.”
Council’s Motor Fleet policy cost £109,793.60; Commercial Legal Liability £38,910.30, Engineering Inspection £27,229.10 and Marine Liability £19,355.87 were some of the other policies.
The report outlined that of the 79 insurance claims currently in place against the council, 55 are public liability insurance claims, 12 employer liability and 12 fleet. 12 of the public liability are from Coleraine estates with a further 11 from the tourism and recreation service area and eight from sport and wellbeing.
Five of the 12 employer liability claims are from Coleraine estates whilst six of the fleet claims are from Coleraine operations.
Mr Wright spoke of the ‘concerns’ officers have ‘because we have quite a few fairly substantial claims with reserves on them at the moment’.
He added: “We are hoping to fight those or get at least those claims down because the ratio tends to set what the premium will be when this goes out to tender.
“Some of these claims go back five/six/seven years, it just goes to show how long these things can be sitting. The longer they are sitting and not settled the longer they affect the claims ratio while they are sitting in the reserve pile.”