The California Joint Powers Insurance Authority’s (California JPIA) quarterly Risk Manager Roundtables provide opportunities for members to explore important topics and share experiences with their peers, serving as a forum for open discussion and dialogue about timely issues. This year, a new virtual format has leveraged a webinar platform and breakout rooms to facilitate not only insightful presentations but also peer engagement.
August’s roundtable drew 75 attendees for a robust discussion about lessons learned in the realm of governmental immunities, including design, trail, and hazardous recreational activity immunities. Speakers included John Barber, partner at the Law Offices of Barber & Bauermeister; Ed Richards, partner at Kutak Rock; David Ferrante-Alan, junior partner at Wesierski & Zurek LLP; and Josh George, partner at Adamski Moroski Madden Cumberland & Green LLP.
The topic of governmental immunities was presented as part of the California JPIA’s ReClaim awareness campaign, which defines potential claims affecting public agencies, educates staff on specific actions necessary to manage those exposures, and integrates those actions into risk management strategies.
Since 2016, the California JPIA has paid over $46 million to settle liability claims that could have potentially been defended with the application of governmental immunities. These include roadway and street design claims, recreational accident claims, and claims occurring on trails. Governmental immunities protect municipal agencies from tort lawsuits arising from many of these claims, falling within the category of qualified immunities, which protect local governments from liability only when certain conditions are in place.
“The session was a good refresher on how governmental immunities may be the first layer of protection for a city when preparing its defense,” said Mike James, ICMA-CM, who holds dual responsibilities as assistant city manager and public works director for the City of Lemon Grove.
Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at cjpia.org.