Iowa insurance group wants $22,000 for access to settlements

November 5, 2019 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa government insurance program under fire for spending lavishly on out-of-state travel says it would cost $22,000 for the public to see how it’s been using money to settle recent legal cases.

The Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, which provides insurance to counties, cities and other local governments, is refusing to disclose its settlement agreements without that payment.

Settlements are public under Iowa law, and The Associated Press requested those that ICAP negotiated for its members since 2018. Board Chairman Jody Smith first claimed the settlements weren’t ICAP records, even though they release the pool from liability.

He later reversed course after AP protested. But he said it would take an employee 439 hours — more than 10 weeks of work — to find the settlements at a $50 per-hour charge.

Some ICAP members have argued the pool is too quick to settle lawsuits. One recent case involved a $250,000 payout to an arrestee whose leg was broken by an Iowa Falls officer.

After an AP investigation, ICAP board members are reconsidering their longstanding practice of having public meetings at resorts in Florida and Michigan during peak vacation times.