Last year the city endured a drawn-out debacle when Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim refused to approve the co-pay for an insurance settlement. The conflict was ugly, marked by false attacks by Kim against Marilyn Rivers, the director of Risk and Safety. Ultimately, Kim conceded to a federal judge that the city had no authority over the settlement, and the insurance company was finally paid. You would think Kim and the Council would have learned from this experience. You would be wrong.
As Yogi Berra once observed, “it’s deja vu all over again.”
One would have hoped that after having served two terms on the Saratoga Springs City Council as Public Safety Commissioner and now having spent over a year in office as Mayor, that Ron Kim would have at last begun to understand how the city’s insurance coverage works. After all, as he always likes to remind us, he is also a lawyer. Unfortunately, Kim is once more resisting paying a deductible due to Traveler’s Insurance for a case settled against the city.
The Latest Insurance Case
In 2019, Kenneth Wilkins fell on ice in front of city hall. He made a claim against the city. Travelers Insurance defended the city in the suit and ended up settling the matter for $65,000.00. The city’s Travelers insurance policy requires the city to pay a $25,000.00 deductible.
On March 13, 2023, Kim was presented with the following resolution to authorize the city’s payment of the deductible due to Travelers Insurance. As the document below shows, City Attorney Tony Izzo signed off on the resolution writing that it “appears lawful and proper.”
Mayor Kim signed off on the resolution, and then, for reasons unknown, he asked for the document to be returned to him, scratched out his signature, and decided he would bring it to the Council.
The resolution was on the Mayor’s agenda for the March 21, 2023, City Council meeting. In a bizarre twist, the Mayor announced it would not be considered in his agenda but would be dealt with at the end of the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Kim announced that the Council was going into an executive session to deal with a matter from Risk and Safety. As the matter of the co-pay had originated from Risk and Safety, presumably, the resolution was the focus of the executive session.
When the members of the Council emerged from the executive session, Kim announced that no action had been taken during the session. It is simply stunning that Accounts Commissioners Dillon Moran, Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi, and Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino said nothing (Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub was absent). Sanghvi and Montagnino had supported Kim in the previous fiasco, and they are apparently doing it again.
What Is Going To Happen To The City’s Insurance
What insurance company will want to put up with this kind of behavior, and if there is one, what will they charge?
7 thoughts on “OMG, Kim Is Refusing To Pay The Co-Pay For Yet Another Settlement And His Docile Council Colleagues Are Empowering Him.”
With all due respect , How many get out of jail passes does Ron get?!
– the entire Marylin Rivers incident was wrong. He should pay AND owes her a public apology
– numerous unethical decisions made (more than I prefer to waste time listing
– cussing at/out his council members, members of his own party, those who do not stand in line behind him, etc
– forging our city attorney’s name
– continuously breaking the councils policies of meeting, etc
– the list goes on and on and on and…
As they say, “you can’t teach an old (dirty) dog new tricks.” Our city leadership should be members we trust and respect. Members who have volunteered to put our community in front of their own self driven agendas. It’s boggling how anyone can truly support such behavior and believe Ron’s purpose is for the betterment of our city??
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Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Kim’s Law: “If there’s any way to do something wrong Ron Kim will do it.”
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Marilyn Rivers had managed the City’s libility insurance issues well for years. She worked well with Travelers Insurance and they both came up with innovations that helped to keep the number of suits against the City to a reasonable level. Why Ron Kim decided to undermine Marilyn’s role is a mystery to me.
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You’re claiming there is no possible legitimate reason it would be best not to pay it at this time?
Yes. Review what happened in the Tim Wales case. I provided the links. Our insurance is similar to your car insurance. You have a deductible. If you are going to allow the insurance company to pay for the liability in an accident you must pay the deductible. Kim conceded this to Judge D’Agostino (read the transcript). Nothing subtle or complicated. In the end the city paid. Kim holds to the delusion that the city (him) has to approve the settlement.
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To add on to what John said, Travelers Insurance is a massive player in the insurance space, and is the subject matter expert in this case. They’re not in the business of making payments without merit. The only reason to hold this up would be if the mayor thought Travelers did something wrong, or perhaps against the contract, to which there is no indication they did.
The mayor has shown himself to be clueless in this matter time and time again, and at some point Travelers may decide him screwing around isn’t worth the hassle, at which point the city will have to find another provider who will likely be worse and/or more expensive. Taxpayers will ultimately feel the pain purely due to Kim’s ego.
The city has some real issues to tackle, and I honestly have no idea why the council defers to a mayor making so many unforced errors with real downside risk to the city.
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I have been doing insurance defense work for many years. I would like to clear up a couple of points
We are dealing with liability insurance. that is, claims by third persons for personal injury or property damage. the average person does not have a deductible on their liability policy. However, you do have a deductible as to first party claims to your own property. for example, you have a deductible as to collision coverage for damage to your own vehicle
However, some policies for big corporations or municipalities do have deductibles on their liability policies. The purpose is to reduce the premium. the bigger the deductible , the lower the premium. The city of Saratoga Springs does have a deductible .
In the average insurance policy, the insurance company can settle a liability claim with a third person without your consent. It is their money. the insured also has a duty to cooperate with their insurance company. Very few insurance policies require the insureds permission to settle. For example, for some medical malpractice policies, Doctors have to consent to settlement.
Here we know that Travelers can settle a liability claim without the consent of the City. There is a deductible. the City has to pay the deductible. Pretty simple
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