Iowa City settles with insurance company over landfill fire

City will split the roughly $3.4 million cost with Travelers Companies Inc.

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IOWA CITY – Iowa City will split the roughly $3.4 million cost of a 2012 landfill fire with its insurance provider.

The City Council Tuesday night approved a settlement with Travelers Companies Inc. that pays the city $1.85 million.

In May 2012, a fire believed to have been caused by something hot being dropped off broke out in a 7.5-acre section of the city’s landfill and burned for weeks.

Connecticut-based Travelers paid the city $154,708, but city officials pushed for the full amount.

The city did not get that, but City Manager Tom Markus said he believes both sides consider the result fair.

“I feel really good about the effort the staff made to lay out our argument in a really succinct fashion, and I think that really made an impression on the insurance company,” he said.

He also said the city will continue to use Travelers. But city officials also are searching for a policy to cover as much of the landfill as possible.

Two insurance experts told The Gazette last year the fire did not appear to be covered because the actual landfill is not mentioned in the city’s property insurance policy.

Construction on the new landfill cell will be finished soon, Markus said.

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