Iowa City in Insurance Dispute over Landfill Fire

May 20, 2013

Iowa City, Iowa, officials say their insurance claim over a costly landfill fire last year remains in dispute, and it may force legal action.

The Travelers Companies claims the landfill cell that burned for 15 days last May was not listed on the policy’s municipal assets, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.

“As the dispute may end in litigation, extensive comment by City Council or staff may not be appropriate,” said city manager Tom Markus in an email.

Melissa Miller, a revenue and risk manager for the city, said officials are providing all the information requested by Travelers.

“We’re working with the carrier to try to resolve the issue of coverage,” Miller said. “Based upon what happens there, it may end in litigation.”

The city’s policy with Travelers lists sheds and buildings at the Iowa City Landfill, but not the cells. The company made an initial and undisputed payment of $155,000, but the fire caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage.

Matt Bordonaro, a spokesman for Travelers, says the company doesn’t discuss insurance claims for privacy reasons.

“We are working closely with the customer on the claim, but I can’t get into any further details at this point.”

The fire on May 26 covered roughly 7.5 acres of the landfill, primarily in an unused portion. The fire spread to a layer of shredded tires used for drainage. It took two months to clean up.

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