Insurance Costs Increase for Missouri Town after Settlement

September 8, 2014

A southwest Missouri city said its insurance deductible has increased by $95,000 after it recently settled a harassment complaint with a former employee.

Last month, Ozark settled a lawsuit with former human resources director Cara Borneman for $78,000. It paid $5,000 out of pocket and insurance paid the rest.

The city’s insurance provider, Midwest Public Risk, then sent a letter to Ozark, saying its deductible on employee practices coverage would rise from $5,000 to $100,000 starting Sept. 1.

“There is obvious concern on our part that not all avenues of available assistance have been utilized by the City in eliminating these types of claims,” the letter said.

City Administrator Steve Childers said at a Board of Alderman meeting that he spoke with officials with the company, who told him Ozark hadn’t taken full advantage of the insurer’s legal counsel.

But some aldermen said they thought the letter meant the city doesn’t take all the steps it can to prevent harassment claims. They want a human resources consultant to conduct a review.

“We’ve got some issues, obviously,” Alderman Christopher Wegley said. “We need to do whatever is necessary, we need to do our due diligence as stewards of the city to keep this from happening again.”

Borneman filed a gender discrimination lawsuit after her position was eliminated in May.

She told the Springfield News-Leader she was dismissed after complaining some city officials were spreading false rumors that she was romantically involved with a superior.

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