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Norvelt EMS gets new insurance policy

Mt. Pleasant Township supervisors have opted to permit continued township provision of worker's compensation and third-party liability coverage to Norvelt Emergency Medical Service based on the service's recent acquisition of a new $200,000 insurance policy.

Norvelt EMS Treasurer Debbie Noble this week said the agency acquired the policy from Connellsville-based Truxel-Laughlin Insurance for coverage of its 25-member, all-volunteer staff of emergency medical technicians and paramedics, along with its buildings and all of its medical equipment.

The service's previous policy was with Confluence-based Mosholder Insurance Agency.

"We were changing over to an insurance policy that requires half the cost of the one we had previously," Noble said.

At its most recent public meeting, the township's board of supervisors voted to cease provision of its portion of insurance coverage to Norvelt EMS via the township's insurer, MRM Property & Liability Trust, citing a nonpayment notification issued by Mosholder on Dec. 9.

The Mosholder notice informed Norvelt EMS that its previous policy would have been canceled if not paid by 12:01 a.m. last Monday.

However, Norvelt EMS officials on Dec. 22 presented the township with a binder indicating that the service had successfully acquired an insurance policy via Truxel-Laughlin.

The township subsequently deemed its prior vote to cease coverage to be null and void.

"Norvelt EMS provided proof that they got a new insurance policy last Thursday," said township Supervisor Duane Hutter.

The annual premium on the new policy will cost Norvelt EMS roughly $3,000 less than the previous policy, Noble said.

The reason the Mosholder policy cost Norvelt EMS so much more dealt largely with the fact that it provided more coverage for the service's garage than a building of its size warranted, said agent John Truxel of Truxel-Laughlin Insurance.

"The main thing is that the prior agent did not engineer the risk very well (for the building). In other words, (the prior agent) had a building that measures 3,800 square feet insured for close to $400,000," said Truxel, who added that he took measurements for the building and checked all of the service's equipment. "It (the building) was insured for a lot more than what it was worth."

The service's policy accounts for $200,000 in coverage, Truxel said.

That amount of coverage was judged to be adequate based on Truxel's consultation with the Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Service, he said.

"We have several other fire companies insured. This is our first EMS service, but there's not too much difference," Truxel said. "The coverage is enforced as of midnight Monday; the supervisors are satisfied and so is the service."

With the state of the lagging economy, Norvelt EMS Chief Michael Noble said it's more important now than ever that the service be aided by willing volunteers.

"People need to support their local volunteer emergency medical services," he said. "Norvelt and Kecksburg have the only two volunteer-based EMS units left in Westmoreland County and, without support, those two won't be left, either."

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