Council considers switching to new broker for property and casualty insurance

At a committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, council members heard from R.J. Impastato of Foa and Son, an insurance broker. Impastato first appeared before the council on May 5, 2015 and told them that after conducting an audit of the city’s current property and casualty insurance, that he saw opportunities for the city to save money and improve coverage.

Some of the proposals made by Impastato in 2015 included dropping earthquake insurance, as well as dropping collision coverage on older model city vehicles. He also said that the city lacked coverage for potential liabilities associated with liquor sales at the golf course and other city events.

Representatives of the city’s current insurance broker, Adirondack Trust, and current carrier, NY State Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR) addressed Impastato’s proposals at a committee meeting on May 19,2015. They countered that the city was not charged anything extra for earthquake insurance, and that insuring older city vehicles still made sense given their value. Representatives also said that the proprietor of the golf course clubhouse is required to carry insurance to cover liquor sales liability.

NYMIR is a non-profit insurance provider governed by elected and appointed municipal officials. Former corporation counsel Gerard DeCusatis serves on the Board of Governors.

The city did not move forward with the switch to Foa and Son last year. At yesterday’s meeting, Impastato offered to serve as broker at no cost to the city until July. He said he could do a better job than the current broker by contacting a variety of insurance providers to provide quotes, a task he said the current broker has not done. Impastato said he estimated the city could save between $20,000 to $35,000 per year for the city by switching to his firm.

According to Controller Matt Agresta, the city currently pays approximately $300,000 per year for it’s property and casualty insurance. Agresta recommended that the council consider several brokers as well as Foa and Son’s offer before making a decision.

“There are other options out there and I think those should all be explored before we just jump in both feet first,” said Agresta.

Alderman Jim Martuscello cited the recent decision to award the Wladis Law firm with a $10,000 contract without considering any other options.

“We didn’t go out to ask for ten different law firms to come and help us,” said Martuscello. He added that from past experience, he has seen brokers who don’t always live up to the proposals they make once they have a contract.

“[Impastato] comes in here, he says he has until now until July to save us some money. I have this feeling…give this individual a chance, see how much money we can save,” said Martuscello.

Alderman Chad Majewski said he would consider Impastato’s proposal but added, “I agree with Mr. Agresta that we should probably take it out for proposals…this isn’t something small…this is something of a larger scale.”

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.