For a short while, the Michigan city thought it would have to cancel the long running event.
The city of Mason, Michigan, has held a fireworks display that entertains thousands of people every year for the July 4th celebrations, but for a span of four days, the insurance news looked bleak as it appeared that the coverage for the event was being withdrawn, cutting off its ability to continue this year.
The organizers of the event moved quickly to find out what went wrong and to resolve the situation.
From May 31 through June 3, it appeared that the fireworks display would have had to be cancelled as a result of bad insurance news. Fortunately, following a conversation between Martin Colburn, Mason City Administrator, and Ibex Insurance Agency, things have turned around and the Ingham County Fairgrounds show has been restored.
This is very welcome insurance news for people who celebrate July 4 with the fireworks every year.
Colburn explained that this insurance news “was just a problem with communication.” He added that “The insurance company faxed me a certificate of coverage for this year’s show so we are back on.”
The insurance news all came about at a city council meeting during public comment, when Mason firefighter and event organizer, John Sabbadin, stated that he had been informed that Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (the risk pool group for the city) would not sign off for the fireworks display for coverage purposes.
Sabbadin said “I come to this council to ask for help.” He expressed that “We were told about this on Friday. We have less than a month to do something.” From that point, action started to be taken to rescue the fireworks display.
According to Kerry Minshall, the Mason Fire Chief, the Mason Firefighters Association is the sponsor of this July 4 celebration, and that it filed an application for a grant with the risk management authority to purchase an electronic firing system so that the fireworks would be safer for the volunteers who shoot them. He said that “Not only did they decline the grant to make it safer they said they would not cover us.” He added that “They said they didn’t know we were conducting fireworks shows, but someone there knows because we have been doing it every year. It is a matter of one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing.”
The cost of the fireworks show was calculated at $6,600, this year, according to Sabbadin. The funding comes from donations that are collected each year during the show itself. It is conducted by volunteers, many of whom are from the fire department and are certified handlers. This insurance news came just in time to ensure that the display would be able to continue for another year.