Act 46 ups insurance premium for Herndon
HERNDON - The borough will pay $1,588 more for insurance coverage under a new premium approved by council at its meeting Monday night.
Dave Eyster from Snyder-Eyster Insurance Agency discussed the impact of Act 46 on Herndon's insurance rate in presenting a proposal for renewal. Despite the higher premium, now totalling $11,912, the proposal from EMC Insurance through Snyder-Eyster as broker was unanimously approved.
The premium includes liability, property, vehicle and other protection, but the bulk of the increase, some $1,200, will go toward higher worker's compensation rates. Act 46, a state law enacted in 2011, is designed to financially help firefighters who become ill with cancer. At a hearing last fall, state lawmakers said they are receiving reports that some insurance companies are dropping workers' compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters as a result of the law, which guarantees benefits to those who meet specific criteria.
Insurers were told few worker compensation claims would be made under the terms of Act 46, but there has been an explosion of claims. One expert told lawmakers the law should be rewritten to reduce the types of cancer eligible for claims and give municipalities more control over volunteer fire companies.
Gary Lubold, a borough employee, quizzed Eyster during his presentation, and the discussion seemed to allow board members to better understand the reason for the increase. Also, Eyster read examples from three different newspaper articles of how Act 46 has affected other municipalities.
Herndon is reimbursed for part of its worker's compensation insurance costs related to volunteer firefighters by Jackson, Little Mahanoy and Washington townships because Herndon Fire Company serves those communities and they do not have their own fire companies.
In other business:
- Council discussed the rental apartment above borough hall, where repairs are being made. The former tenant, who was evicted, is being sued for back rent, damages and court costs. Council Chairman Joel Wetzel said there will be no new tenant anytime soon because of the damages. The board agreed that the borough would do most of the work to save as much money as possible.
- There is a vacancy on the Herndon Borough Jackson Township Joint Municipal Authority. The new member must be a resident of Herndon.