Public Entities in OhioPublic Entities in Ohio face unique challenges when it comes to risk management. Tax bases go down, operation costs go up and public administrators are under pressure to maintain – if not improve – municipal services. As a result, the insurance coverage for public entities in Ohio needs to be the lowest cost possible. However, with the number of claims against public entities on the rise, the lowest cost insurance coverage may not be in the best interest of anyone.

Types of public entities in Ohio that require specialized coverage include municipalities, counties, townships, local and regional authorities, school and community college districts, ambulance districts, volunteer fire departments, public universities, transit authorities, water districts, sewer districts, libraries and other special districts.

A public entity can be defined by the following characteristics: it is operated with public funds; its employees are considered government employees; it receives significant assistance from the government by provision of property or equipment; and it is governed by a board elected by voters or appointed by elected officials.

While coverage for Public Entities is similar to commercial coverage, it varies greatly from state to state and over time due to legislation aimed at protecting public entities, including state liability caps, immunity defenses and early reporting requirements.

Liability policies

Liability policies are designed to respond to losses that you are obligated to pay due to your negligence. They always involve a third-party claim.

  • General liability policies typically respond to bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury claims.
  • Professional Liability provides coverage that is not included in a general liability policy. Professional liability might respond to claims of negligence.
  • Management Liability coverage can respond to claims of wrongful acts.
    • Employment Practices coverage is very important for public entities because these claims can be quote common. Precisely because of their public nature, civil rights laws are particular applicable to public entities.
  • Other Specialized Liability policies respond to exposures specific to the public entity’s activity. Examples include:
    • Law Enforcement Liability
    • School Board Liability
    • Educators’ Legal Liability
    • Airport Liability
    • Environmental Liability, including pollution
  • Excess Liability/Umbrella policies protect the organization by packing up the limits of its underlying liability policies. For the most part, it is used to cover exceptionally large events or losses with low probabilities of occurrence. Without this insurance, these events – as rare as they may be – can be devastating.

Property policies

Property policies protect your physical property in case of losses due to fire or lightning, including the cost of removing property as a way to protect it from further damage. Standard policies may also include coverage for windstorm, earthquakes, acts of terrorism, vandalism and other losses. A public entity may have special types of property that require additional coverage, such as:

  • Aircraft
  • Underground Storage Tanks
  • Boiler and Machinery
  • Automobile coverages

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation pays for employees’ medical bills and lost wages from work-related injuries. In most states, workers’ compensation is required.

The Rinehart-Walters-Danner Insurance Agency has provided insurance protection to public entities in Ohio since 1988. We currently provide public entity insurance to more than 250 public entities including Municipalities, Villages, Townships, Fire Departments, Fire Districts, EMS / Ambulance Districts, Soil and Water, Sewer and Water Districts, and Libraries throughout the State of Ohio. If you need help determining the best option for your public entity, give us a call. We can help.

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