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South Bay Digest

Rolling Hills : Insurance Problem Solved

May 15, 1986

The city has solved its liability insurance problem by joining the Coachella Valley Joint Powers Insurance Authority, which is made up of small cities--mostly in the Palm Springs area--with minimal insurance risks. The City Council approved a membership agreement this week after action by the authority's board to admit Rolling Hills for a $20,000 annual premium. The city has been without liability insurance since Jan. 9.

Under the joint powers agreement, which is effective immediately, the city will retain $25,000 in self-insurance. Beyond that, it will be protected for liability of up to $1 million for each incident involving legal action. The city has had no losses resulting from claims since 1980, officials said.

With an active landslide in the Flying Triangle area, the city is protected under the agreement against negligence involving future landslides or subsidence, City Manager Terrence L. Belanger said.

The city, along with other public agencies and individuals, is being sued by property owners whose homes have been destroyed or damaged in the Flying Triangle, but Belanger said the city is covered in that case by an insurance policy that was in effect when the slide began.

The insurance agreement does not apply to the Rolling Hills Community Assn., which lost its insurance when the city did. "We're still looking," said association President Nicholas Hornberger.

The association, which maintains roads and recreational facilities in this private, gated community, initially closed tennis courts and riding rings and barred non-residents from using horse trails. Later, the courts and one ring were reopened after interim liability protection, including signing of waivers by users, was set up.

Hornberger said the horse trails, which tie into a Peninsula-wide equestrian network, may soon be opened to non-residents, provided they ride with a resident wearing an identifying badge. Both would be required to sign waivers, he said.

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