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John Lamb, Published October 20 2009

Fargo votes to scrap self-insurance fund

Fargo city commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to discontinue the city’s general liability self-insurance fund.

The city will join the North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund, a nonprofit provider.

Fargo was the only major city in the state with a self-insured liability plan.

Fargo Finance director Kent Costin said the transfer to the NDIRF should be completed by year’s end. The city has bought auto insurance through NDIRF since 2007.

The move would cover Fargo’s claims-related legal costs. Until now the city paid its own legal fees, including more than $180,000 last year in two high-profile cases.

Fargo could refund as much as $1.5 million to more than 53,000 drivers who were overcharged for traffic fines.

The city paid $450,000 to the family of 8-year-old Amanda Leininger who was killed in a traffic accident Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker blamed on a south University Drive rut.

Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533