Harbor's insurance bill faces $160K hike

Written by Adam Spencer, The Triplicate August 05, 2014 02:50 pm

With great docks come great responsibility, and for Crescent City Harbor that translates to greater insurance premiums.

The harbor district is facing an increase of more than $160,000 for insurance premiums to cover new docks installed during the past two years. The increase will be discussed during the district’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the Flynn Center, 981 H St.  

In the wake of massive natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, insurance companies are less keen to offer marine coverage, explained Bill Cochran of Redwoods Leavitt Insurance Agency in a memo to harbor commissioners and staff.

“Adverse claim history has hit marine carriers extremely hard in the past several years,” Cochran wrote. “Events such as Hurricane Sandy and other disasters have hit the marine market especially hard.”

The harbor district’s current coverage costs $30,335 annually while coverage for the new docks is estimated to be $194,400, according to Cochran’s report. Dock coverage is required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which loaned the harbor $5.4 million to pay for its portion of the $54 million reconstruction of the port, which was destroyed by tsunamis in 2011 and 2006.

Harbormaster / CEO‚ÄąCharlie Helms acknowledged the high increase but said the district did not expect to pass on the hike to dock tenants.

“We want to keep the harbor affordable for people, and they just went through a big increase,” Helms said, commenting on the recent rate increase that came with the new docks installed as part of the reconstruction of the harbor. “We have to remain competitive in the marketplace.”

The harbor district will also discuss the possibility of requiring hull coverage for tenants in the inner boat basin to protect the harbor district and tenants from the cost of wreck removal or pollution.  Helms is recommending that the commission phase in a requirement for hull coverage while offering a credit for boat owners who acquire coverage the first year and requiring hull coverage for all boat owners the second year.

Harbor commissioners will also discuss declaring three vehicles and 79 dock sections as surplus and having the items disposed of by public sale.

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