Leanis Steward

City Internal Auditor Leanis Steward gave preliminary findings of her insurance audit to the City Council and the Perkins Administration at a special meeting on April 15.

Two weeks after a preliminary internal audit revealed the City of Shreveport was "inadequately insured" and Mayor Adrian Perkins' CAO said she'd work to get the city back to its previous full coverage, the administration is now standing pat.

The early audit findings showed the City of Shreveport had only $50 million in property coverage under its new plan by Frost Insurance of Dallas. The city had previous full coverage of $815 million under longtime local insurance partner, Gallagher. Yet the city paid $185,000 more to Frost for that small fraction of the full coverage Gallagher provided.

That's even though one of new Mayor Adrian Perkins' previously stated goals was to save money.

At a special meeting two weeks ago, the City Council quickly approved buying $1.6 million worth of insurance so the Perkins administration could get the city to $300 million in coverage -- still less than half of the previous coverage. Chief Administrative Officer Sherricka Fields Jones said then that the administration would continue adding layers of insurance to get back to the full $815 million in coverage.

But that's not the case now. Perkins' spokesman Ben Riggs said in a statement:

"CAO Sherricka Fields Jones asked for quotes on additional layers of property insurance per the council's request. However, she agrees with the mayor that the city is sufficiently insured. Shreveport's property insurance policy has $815 million in total insured value, which covers all of the city's assets. It also provides $300 million in single occurrence coverage, insuring our highest valued asset three times over."

Independence Stadium is valued at about $92 million.

James Flurry chairs the City Council's audit and finance committee. He says there's lots of blame to go around.

"Mayor Perkins -- he just wasn't experienced. And he got bad advice. I'm very disappointed in Risk Management and them not blowing the whistle and saying wait a minute," Flurry said.

The councilman says the city originally budgeted $2.1 million for property and casualty insurance for this year. But the Perkins administration has now overspent by $600,000, at $2.7 million.

But Flurry says the city budgeted $6 million for all of its insurance this year, and has so far spent $3.4 million. The administration has not said what it plans to do with the remaining $2.6 million. No reserve money has been spent in the process.

City records show that the city's property and casualty coverage is just some of the dozen new policies brokered by Frost and its agent Roddrelle Sykes, who's connected to the Perkins campaign.

Flurry was in on a private meeting with others on the council when Sykes admitted he'd never done municipal insurance coverage before. On its website, Frost Insurance says it ensures public entities for property and casualty. But Flurry's not impressed.

"I really thought Frost Insurance would have had their executive here with (Sykes)," says Flurry. "As big of an account as this is? I would've had the senior vice president or somebody here with him."

Three other new policies for the City of Shreveport's Fire Department are with Sykes' previous employer, 3rd Millennium of New Orleans. One policy remains with Gallagher -- a premium for about $8,700 to insure city employees against crime.

KTBS found no one on the City Council criticizing the administration's decision to stop at $300 million in single occurrence property protection.

But some remain focused on the initial lapse of giving the city just $50 million in coverage. The city has several buildings worth tens of millions more than that. And a disaster could've wiped the city out financially.

They await the full internal audit report in hopes of getting to the bottom of how it happened. That could be a few more weeks.


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