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Commissioner John F. King reports to the House Insurance Committee (Screenshot of committee meeting)

Ever since a college student was killed in an elevator malfunction in Atlanta at the end of August, the state agency in charge of elevator inspections has been examining its program to try to figure out how to improve it, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King told state lawmakers this week.

“One of the things we’re exploring is what authority our office has to compel the owner of the building to do their job,” he said.

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The elevator at 444 Highland was out of date when it trapped 18-year-old JauMarcus McFarland, who died of his injuries. The Department of Insurance and Fire Safety fined the building owners, Sohanna Management, $5,000 for failing to notify the insurance department after the malfunction, King told the House Insurance Committee Tuesday.

“There’s no one cause of not only technical (issues) but also compliance from the building owner,” King said. Both the elevators and the boilers at 444 Highland were out of date, he said.

King said he plans to spend $400,000 on new software to better detect out-of-date inspections.

King also said he will be working closely with lawmakers during the 2022 session to improve Georgia’s current laws governing elevator maintenance.

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