Sorrento considers insurance options as deadline approaches

SORRENTO, LA (WAFB) - The mayor of Sorrento and town council met Tuesday night to decide if a deal can be met before the police department's insurance is canceled.

In two weeks, the Sorrento Police Department will no longer be insured by the town's current provider.

"Our law enforcement liability insurance on our vehicles has been canceled effective 12 a.m. on November 19," said Mayor Mike Lambert.

Lambert outlined the decision by insurance company Risk Management to remove the Sorrento Police Department from the insurance coverage it currently offers the town. It is a decision Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith said will leave the department with only one option when the deadline arrives.

"If we cannot find a carrier by that deadline, we will not allow our officers to utilize the police units, allow officers to patrol or answer any calls of service in the town of Sorrento," Smith explained.

Several council members and Lambert assured the public the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office will pick up police protection at the deadline, but current Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot would have to recommend current police funds be used for that purpose. Some, like Councilman Randy Anny, are concerned about mounting costs.

"If he does not make recommendation, then you're talking about unemployment and still paying clerks," said Anny. "You still have to pay assistant chief and now, you have to pay a separate entity."

In the meantime, the police department is waiting to hear back from six other potential insurance carriers. Smith said the police department is not any more of an insurance risk than any other part of the current plan, but Lambert doubts a deal will be made with Risk Management or any other carrier by the deadline.

"That's an insurance made by insurance company. That's a decision to accept risk and I think it will be very expensive if we do find insurance," Lambert added.

"They keep saying for claims, they've paid more money from town side, significantly more money than they have for police department," said Smith.

The council's next move is to contact Risk Management to see if it would be willing to meet with the entire council in the next few days to see what it would take to continue covering the police department and at what cost.

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