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Governmental Entities

Governmental Entities(capitol-building-543598)

Government and institutional buildings provide office and meeting facilities for various governmental operations. They often have auditoriums designed for large public gatherings or for political assemblies.

Minimum recommended coverage:

Building, Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Audio/Visual Equipment, Computers, Contractors’ Equipment, Fine Arts, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Public Officials’ Liability, Cyber Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Hired and Nonownership Auto, Workers Compensation

Other coverages to consider:

Computer Fraud, Forgery, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage, Stop Gap Liability

Property exposure due to fire comes primarily from wiring. Most offices and auditoriums have extensive wiring for lighting, computers and other electronic equipment. It must be in good repair and adequate for its use. Valuation concerns and the ability to rebuild with like construction and quality may pose significant problems in those buildings that have unique architectural design. Smoke detectors are critical for early detection of a fire. Smoking should be prohibited. If there is a restaurant or cafeteria on premises, all cooking equipment should be properly protected. Garages for storing, fueling and maintaining vehicles must be separated from office facilities. Governmental facilities may be a target for political activists or for terrorists. Adequate security is required, and disaster recovery plans in place to continue operations in the event of a large loss.

Crime exposure is from public officials’ dishonesty, employee dishonesty and money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, must be completed on all employees. Money received from taxes, fees, fines and penalties must be properly received and disbursed. Regular deposits must be made. Money should not be left on premises overnight. There must be regular audits, preferably by an outside firm. All employees must take at least one complete week of vacation each year. If the facilities have offices to collect fees, penalties or obtain permits and licenses, there may be an exposure to holdup. Regular deposits must be made.

Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable, audio/visual equipment, computers, contractors’ equipment, fine arts and valuable papers and records. All records should be duplicated and retained at an off-site storage facility. Contractors’ equipment may be used off-premises to build, maintain or service municipal streets and roads. Fine arts such as statuary and paintings, artifacts, historical documents, rare or historical books or manuscripts all pose significant risk management concerns as they may be one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable. If insured, valuation should be done by a qualified appraiser. Valuable papers and records are often delicate and must be protected from fire, water damage, vandalism, theft or other losses.

Premises liability exposure is high due to services provided to residents and the public’s access to the building. Public and life safety code compliance is very important. Good housekeeping is critical to preventing trips, slips and falls. Adequate lighting, marked exits and egress are mandatory. Steps must have rails, be well-lit, marked and in good maintenance and repair. Elevators and escalators should be inspected annually by an outside service contractor. Such facilities may be a target for vandals, disgruntled citizens, criminals or terrorists. Security inside the facility, as well as outside areas including owned parking areas, needs to be carefully implemented and monitored. An evaluation plan must be in place.

Public officials’ liability exposure can be severe. Today’s political climate has seen an increase in lawsuits against public officials for failure to perform the functions of their office, failure to account for tax funds, failure to enforce regulations, failure to follow mandated procedures, such as open bidding on contracts, bad faith and other errors or omissions. Defense costs can be prohibitively expensive.

Automobile can be high if vehicles are used to transport public officials, guests and visitors. MVRs must be ordered regularly on all drivers. Training and prior record of drivers, as well as condition and maintenance of vehicles are the main items to consider. During inclement weather, drivers may be on the road for extended hours in adverse conditions. Supervision is necessary so drivers can be rotated and not become overly fatigued. There may be a high nonowned auto exposure if employees use their own vehicles to run errands or attend meetings on municipal business. Employees should carry personal automobile insurance with adequate liability limits.

Workers compensation exposures are varied, from office workers to janitorial staff, building or yard maintenance workers, repair personnel and drivers. Some operations expose workers to back injury, hernia, slips, falls, strains or sprains. Workers may be exposed to skin or lung irritants, infectious disease or occupational injury. Appropriate safety equipment may be required for some operations.