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South Bay Digest

Rolling Hills : City Insurance to Lapse

December 12, 1985

The city's liability insurance will lapse Jan. 8, and city officials are having a hard time finding replacement coverage.

City Manager Terrence Belanger told the council Monday that if insurance brokers with which the city is conferring are unable to find replacement coverage by the deadline, the council will meet Jan. 6 to discuss alternatives, including the establishment of a self-insurance program funded with city money.

Belanger said Rolling Hills' insurance problem is not unusual. Many municipalities are being rejected by insurance companies unwilling to risk losses "because of the uncertain nature of the judicial system."

Other Southern California cities without liability insurance include Beverly Hills and Pasadena, he said.

Belanger said that in some instances, insurance companies have had to pay entire awards in lawsuits filed against cities, even though the cities were found to bear only a small amount of responsibility for injuries. "That primarily has scared insurance companies out of the field," he said.

Belanger said Rolling Hills is presently insured by Chicago Insurance, which notified the community in mid-October that it will no longer insure municipalities. He said Rolling Hills has filed no insurance claims in the past three years. He also said the Flying Triangle landslide area has not affected the city's ability to obtain insurance.

Sixteen slide-related claims have been filed in court against Landmark Insurance, which held the city's liability coverage in 1981 when the slide was activated. The claims will not be adjudicated until June, 1986, Belanger said.

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