Maria Galvan, a senior risk manager who joined the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) in 2013, commemorates a milestone anniversary—ten years of service—last month. Promoted from risk manager to senior risk manager in July 2019, Galvan manages member relations. She oversees training, risk management, claims, and finance for members in Region 5, which includes the San Gabriel Valley, Pomona Valley, West Los Angeles County, and the City of La Palma.
“Everyone on the Authority’s staff listens to each other’s perspectives, opinions, and ideas,” said Galvan, who describes the California JPIA as a one-stop shop for anything related to risk management. “Our ultimate goal is to provide the best service to our members, and teamwork helps us to achieve that goal.”
Galvan joined the California JPIA from the City of La Puente, where she was a management assistant and rehabilitation grant specialist. She leverages her insider’s understanding of municipal operations to help the Authority’s member agencies serve the public, embracing experiences and challenges ranging from reviewing complex contracts to evaluating risk exposures to presenting to municipal leaders.
“I understand that risk management is just one of many priorities for public agency staff,” said Galvan. “I aspire to be a valuable resource for our members, just as Insurance Programs Manager Jim Thyden, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager Jeff Rush, and every California JPIA staff member and business partner I communicated with were a resource for me when I worked in La Puente.”
While she is involved with various California JPIA projects, Galvan said the most interesting was serving on the Authority’s COVID-19 resource team.
“None of us imagined that we would ever have to be experts on a pandemic,” she said. “Early on, when the pandemic started, we formed a resource team.”
As a team lead, Galvan kept up to date on frequently changing county and state health orders, as well as legal matters related to the pandemic. She also led the development of a COVID-19 exposure control plan and a COVID-19 resource page on the Authority’s website.
Galvan is a subject matter expert on First Amendment Audits, a trend by which individuals enter public facilities and record interactions with public agency staff and officials under the auspices of the First Amendment right to free speech. She said an auditor’s goal is to provoke an adverse reaction and record staff violations, potentially leading to litigation. When Galvan’s article on the topic captured the attention of the director of judicial education for the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, she was invited to present at their 2020 Judicial Conference. Her breakout session, “Responding to First Amendment Audits,” co-presented with Attorney Scott Grossberg, addressed how public agencies could prepare for such encounters.
“Maria regularly collaborates with the Authority’s training division to prepare and present new content and resources. She provides valuable assistance onboarding new members and plays a key leadership role in updating the Contractual Risk Transfer Manual,” said Deputy Executive Officer Alex Smith. “Maria serves the Authority’s members and the pooling community with high-level risk management expertise and does so with genuine care and consideration.”
Galvan earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology from California State University, Fullerton. A certified Associate Risk Management Professional, she also holds a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation and diploma from The Institutes for completing courses and examinations on risk management principles, insurance policy contracts, and coverage analysis. Galvan also sits on the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities (CAJPA) Litigation, Insurance, and Tort Liability Committee. As part of the committee, she helps develop training programs.
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.