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TRUMBULL COUNTY Insurance claims remain unpaid

Saturday, January 31, 2004

The county prosecutor has threatened to sue the insurance companies.
WARREN -- Trumbull County's insurance companies have not yet paid $400,000 for damage to the 911 center during July flooding, even though they have not contested the validity of that part of the county's claim.
That money is in addition to an $800,000 claim for 911 computer and telephone equipment, which the insurance companies Gallagher Pipino Inc. and United National Insurance do not want to pay, 911 director Tim Gladis said.
"This is not at all reasonable," Gladis said. "This has been a travesty."
He said he planned to file a formal complaint against the companies with the state department of insurance.
Work in progress
Gallagher Pipino Inc. has not said it would fight paying $400,000 to fix drywall, floors and electrical outlets at the Howland 911 center, but neither has it approved the claim, Gladis said. Much of the work has already been done.
Today, commissioners are expected to approve paying Lewis Construction $65,000 to create a room for computer equipment on the building's second floor.
Earlier this month, Prosecutor Dennis Watkins sent the companies a letter threatening to sue if the claim for computer and telephone equipment is not settled.
The insurance companies wanted to repair damaged equipment rather than replace it. In October, county commissioners borrowed $800,000 to buy new equipment while insurance issues are being ironed out.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency may pay a portion of the county's uninsured expenses.
A telephone call to Gallagher Pipino Inc. offices in New York was not returned.
Earlier controversy
The decision to buy insurance from Gallagher Pipino in the first place was controversial. In 2001, commissioners James Tsagaris and Joseph Angelo voted to switch to the company from CORSA, an insurance cooperative run by Ohio counties.
A consultant commissioners hired to analyze the deal recommended against the switch. Then-commissioner Michael O'Brien voted against giving a one-year contract to Gallagher in 2001, and voted against it again when it came up for renewal in 2002.