The ASUC president signed an emergency order to reinstate an insurance policy and switch insurance providers for the ASUC-operated Cal Lodge last week in order to keep the lodge open.
The insurance policy for Cal Lodge with Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. expired June 5, necessitating an “active insurance policy” to continue the operation of the lodge, according to the emergency order signed by ASUC President Yordanos Dejen on June 15.
With the ASUC Senate not in session during the summer, the action was carried out as an emergency order and passed without senate approval. Within three weeks of the senate’s first meeting, however, the senate will have to decide whether or not to reapprove the decision, according to Joe Wilson, chief of staff to the executive vice president.
Cal Lodge, a retreat lodge located in Soda Springs, California, is rented out to student organizations, members of the UC Berkeley community and the general public throughout the year. In recent years, Cal Lodge faced major deficits from disrepair and inconsistent bookings, prompting the ASUC to consider terminating its operations in 2013. After undergoing renovations and hiring new management, the lodge re-opened in late 2014.
Under the previous insurance policy, Cal Lodge was categorized as a vacant property while it was undergoing renovations to save money with cheaper insurance, Wilson said. The lodge is now classified as a commercial property, so when the previous insurance expired, a new, inexpensive insurance policy was sought out to cover any damage that might occur and to continue the lodge’s operation — a process that took longer than expected, Wilson said.
“We wanted to make sure the insurance policy that we got was one that really fit Cal Lodge and one that protected any sort of thing that could happen to the lodge,” Wilson said. “So we spent a good two or three weeks ensuring that the policy we went with was the best one we could get and the best thing for our buck.”
While the lodge was uninsured, the ASUC was unable to rent out the property.
Since the ASUC assigned new management to Cal Lodge in October 2014, the property has made more money than it has in any other given recent year, according to Wilson.
To retain this steady flow of revenue, Tony Do, the ASUC chief financial officer, looked at ways to minimize the cost of the insurance.
“In terms of the insurance logistics, this is your average liability insurance quote,” Do said. “We did our best to exclude parts that didn’t pertain to posing a threat to Cal Lodge, but it covers what is definitely needed, such as snow damage and fire hazards.”
Based on ASUC’s research, for the same services, continuing with the previous insurance provider would have been more expensive than switching to Essex Insurance Company, according to Wilson.
The insurance policy will be paid for out of the Cal Lodge fund line item and is estimated to cost about $13,000 annually, according to Wilson. Cal Lodge is currently operating and insured.