Western Springs backs insurance pool
Updated: April 1, 2013 7:03AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Western Springs leaders Monday approved a resolution supporting the Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency’s government self-insurance pooling and in opposition to “non-productive legislative restraints.”
Legislation has been proposed in Springfield that would put such insurance pools under the domain of the Illinois Department of Insurance, and subject to unlimited examinations The proposed legislation would also allow pool members to get out of the joint effort with three months’ notice. Right now, the Risk Management Agency members need to give one year’s notice when wanting to depart.
Village President William Rodeghier said the agency has been great for the village and there is no reason for changes to be made to the program.
“The legislature is good at leaving good things alone,” Rodeghier said. “I do not see any need for changes to this set-up.”
Western Springs has been part of the agency since 1981, one of 70 communities in the northeast section of Illinois. Of the 70 local members, 48 have been with the insurance pool 20 years or more and 28 have been part of the pool for 30 or more years.
Susan Garvey, director of legal services for the agency, said a key difference between insurance companies and insurance pools is insurance companies are out to make a profit, while insurance pools are only concerned about providing coverage.
“In the past 20 years, IRMA has given back $83 million to its member communities,” Garvey said.
“Our goal is to provide insurance at a reasonable cost,” Garvey told Western Springs officials. “The key is you’re the ones in the pool, you are the ones governing the pool, you are the ones controlling the pool.”
Garvey said the broad piece of legislation being proposed is an effort to have the Department of Insurance come in and oversee municipal risk pools.
“They are trying to regulate what you do with your own intergovernmental agreement,” Garvey said.
She said allowing members to leave the pool with just three months’ notice would affect the predictability of the agency pool and could cause remaining communities to have to pick up additional administrative costs should one town leave.
Trustee John Horvath said the insurance pool has worked well financially for Western Springs.
“IRMA is effective and worth the money,” Horvath said.