Public entities have a lot on their plates, especially when it comes to protecting their properties and people. They are, essentially, the protectors of public dollars and need to have financial safeguards in place. Keeping employees and stakeholders safe and sound is a full-time job that requires a close relationship with a reliable, knowledgeable and proven insurance partner.
But that’s only the beginning. Here are five questions you should ask to determine if you’ve got the best insurance partner for your public entity:
1. How long has the carrier provided insurance products to the public entity sector?
There is value in deep expertise. Too much is at stake for the estimated 87,849 public entities nationwide that every day must adhere to certain standards and regulations. An insurer that has only recently dipped its toes into the public entity market may not be prepared to offer the broad solutions needed for adequate protection. The only way to make recommendations specific to a public entity’s needs and risk exposure is for the carrier to have accumulated experience researching, comparing and making recommendations to public entities like yours.
2. Does the carrier understand the unique risk management challenges of public entities in my state?
Where the carrier has accumulated its experience is as important as how much experience it has in risk management. Risk management concerns can vary dramatically by state, making a one-size-fits-all solution unreasonable. Public entities in the north will be exposed to winter weather risks, for instance, while those in other parts of the country may contend with wildfire threats. The insurance carrier also must be familiar with the particular governmental structures within each state, including the various counties, cities, municipalities, townships and specialty districts. A good insurance carrier who understands local and state regulations will be prepared to help you with your unique exposures.
3. Are underwriters, risk control and claims professionals focused solely on public entities and their needs?
Think specialization. To ensure adequate protection, professionals within the insurance carrier must be dedicated full-time to evolving challenges public entities face. After all, the risks involved with public entities stretch far and wide. Counties, for instance, build and maintain 45 percent of the public roads and are at the forefront of response in case of disaster, both natural and human-made. Meanwhile, many public entities are using social media to communicate with their citizens. With special districts, recreation departments, emergency responders and so many more departments in the public entity mix, consider a carrier dedicated to understanding the breadth of your operations.
4. Does the carrier offer insurance coverage designed specifically for public entities in my state?
The right coverage for your local government. The insurance carrier must be able to make recommendations specific to your state to ensure adequate protection. From simple issues such as minimum required limits to more complex solutions recognizing unique governmental immunity and tort caps, insurance coverage should recognize your locale.
5. Will I have access to both online and personal risk control training and consultative services?
Your insurance carrier should have a wealth of tools to help you evaluate and manage risk, as well as a variety of resources such as best-practice guides and risk control methods to measure risk in real time. The delivery of these resources should match your needs, just in time downloads to comprehensive knowledge transfer, your insurance provider should have the products in place to serve your requirements.