Madison County became the tenth county in the state to sign up for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors Insurance Trust (MASIT), a pool for property and casualty insurance, which resulted in saving taxpayers $50,000 per year for coverage.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to change their policy from current policy holder Zurich to MASIT during Monday's meeting. District 2 Supervisor Ronny Lott was absent due to a family illness.

The quote for coverage by MASIT was $406,768, compared to Zurich's quote of $459,808.

Michael H. Harvey, president of Robert's Insurance in Canton, the county's insurance agent, explained that the two policies mirrored each other and had many similarities.

"The MASIT coverage is, again, a pool," he said. "It's very broad coverage."

Harvey said the Zurich quote was a few thousand dollars more than last year because of the addition of the South Madison Annex and a few pavilions.

He said the biggest difference between the two came with total value. Zurich valued the property at $43 million, whereas MASIT had a pool limit of $250 million for all participants.

Both policies added professional liability coverage, something the county did not have prior to this year.

County Administrator Mark Houston said they were accustomed to pools because the worker's compensation and health insurance are in a pool.

He said Jackson County (which is only liability and casualty coverage, Hinds County and Forrest County have already signed up.

"We do have some of the heavy hitters in the pool already," Houston said. "That makes me feel more comfortable."

Derrick Surrette, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, and MAS general counsel Leslie Scott were both in attendance. There was no representative from Zurich at the meeting.

Surrette said he has high hopes for the new pool and Madison County would continue to see savings each year as the pool grew.

"We think as the pool gets more and more mature, and as years go by, we'll have you a greater savings," he said. "We have quoted 13 counties, nine have joined."

Surrette said MASIT has collected $2.4 million in premiums so far and has saved a collective $675,000. He said with all 82 counties the savings could be over $4.2 million.

District 4 Supervisor Karl Banks questioned whether or not there were any safeguards to protect Madison County since some areas are more prone to catastrophic events. He pointed to the coast as an example.

"That's my only concern," he said. "[I'd] hate to see increases to take care of others' losses."

Surrette said MAS and Willis were worried about that, especially with how young the pool is. They aren't allowing the six coastal counties to have property insurance now.

Last year, supervisors were torn 3-2 over general liability insurance and decided to stay with Robert's Insurance despite a proposal from a division of Bancorp South that would have saved taxpayers $60,000.

Robert's ultimately lowered its rates by $17,000.