Jun. 28—The cost of insurance for Barton Community College will take a $200,000 hike, Vice President of Administration Mark Dean told Barton trustees Tuesday. But with no better options, the trustees approved the property, liability, workers compensation and other insurance for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
“It’s becoming difficult to get insurance carriers to bid on college properties,” Dean said. The total insurance package offered by KERMP (Kansas Educational Risk Management Pool) was $485,392 for 2022-2023 and it will be $689,751 for 2023-2024.
This is the bulk of the college’s insurance, with the exception of insurance for athletes. Dean shared a history of past policies:
—EMC, a longtime carrier, canceled the college’s coverage after the 2018 dining hall fire at Camp Aldrich. EMC was also exiting the community college market at the time.
—The college then used Midwest Higher Education Compact (MHEC), a consortium of school districts, colleges and universities across the nation, until that company increased its rates due to significant losses. It also raised its deductibles to more than $1 million, so Barton canceled that policy.
—Chubb/Philadelphia was the next company chosen. It was competitive, but Barton later found a better deal with KERMP. Dean noted that Chubb/Philadelphia also limits its clients to $150 million in property coverage.
Barton is in year three of coverage from KERMP, a consortium of Kansas schools. There are 93 members, all members of the Kansas Association of School Boards. These include other community colleges as well as Great Bend USD 428 and Hoisington USD 431.
Property valuations, construction costs and property losses are all increasing insurance costs by 35-45%, Dean said. “This is the number one factor in renewal costs.” KERMP required about one-third of its clients to get updated property appraisals prior to renewal and Barton was in that group. (Others will follow in the coming years.) The sum of its building values rose from $95.6 million to $143.5 million, and that doesn’t count the new farm machinery and transportation technology complex under construction.
Barton’s insurance cost for FY24 amounts to an approximately 42% increase over the previous year, Dean reported. All independent carriers are increasing wind/hail deductibles to a percentage (2-3%) of the property value. For Barton, the property and contents value is $190,044,098; at a 2% wind/hail deductible, Barton’s deductible would be around $3.8 million.
With KERMP, the wind and hail deductible for the main campus is $250,000. There is a new $100,000 deductible for water damage, such as might be caused by frozen pipes. The deductible for cyber-extortion is $10,000 and the deductible for “all other perils” is $50,000.
In addition to approving the insurance renewal, the trustees extended Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman’s contract for another year. Chairman Mike Johnson said board members recently conducted the president’s annual evaluation and continue to have confidence and are pleased with his work.
The following new personnel on the Barton County campus were approved:
Timothy McKiearnan, coordinator of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program
Adam Hardin, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) support analyst
Mariah White, Residence Life coordinator
Haley Pierce, Human Resources technician
Sarah Simmons, assistant volleyball coach
Candace Tomlin, custodian (Barton Campus)
Nicole Pinney, assistant softball coach
Reagan Smyth, head coach for men’s and women’s swimming
Jennifer Bernatis, executive director for Health, Humanities and Science
Tana Yellowwolf, position change to nursing instructor
The board also met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss the individual performance of an employee.