Harlan council discusses insurance rates

Published 12:33 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

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The Harlan City Council addressed an issue with rising fire insurance rates inside the city during the panel’s regular meeting for March.

Mayor Joe Meadors updated the council on the issue shortly after the beginning of the meeting.

“Our fire insurance rating went up,” Meadors said. “We’ve been discussing this with (Harlan City Fire) Chief James Billings, and he had told me probably back in December they had gotten notice that ISO (Insurance Services Office) had issued a report, and there were several things in there we were going to contest.”

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According to Meadors, the report stated there were deficiencies in the city, including lack of maintenance of fire hydrants. However, not all hydrants can be maintained by the city.

“One of the deficiencies on the report was that we did not maintain the hydrants…out at Village Center,” Meadors said. “Well, it’s not our property…That’s not our responsibility.”

Billings verified there are approximately 260 water hydrants within the Harlan city limits.

“That’s a lot of water hydrants,” Meadors said.

Meadors asked Billings to compile a list of the location of all the city’s hydrants.

“I want a list of all the hydrants in the city of Harlan, where they’re located,” Meadors said. “Then we’ll know where we stand.”

Meadors said the city intends to contest multiple items in the report but attempts to contact the ISO representative have yet to be successful.

“The long and short of it is, we can’t get this lady to call us back,” Meadors said. “In the meantime, the insurance rates went up effective Oct. 1.”

Meadors pointed out that rates cannot be changed immediately.

Council member Ann Hensley advised the rates are changed yearly.

Meadors said he would make additional efforts to contact the ISO representative to discuss the report.

“This went into effect in October. We’re already almost six months into this,” Meadors said. “Before you know it, it will be time for the next rate, so we’ve got to get this straightened out pretty quick.”

Council member Jeff Phillips suggested City Attorney Karen Davenport contact the ISO representative on the city’s behalf.

“Reach out to her tomorrow and let me know where she stands,” Meadors said.

Meadors said the increased cost impacts people who own a house or business in Harlan.

“That’s unacceptable,” Meadors said. “We’re going to get on this.”