General Liability Insurance
many public entities buy special public entity liability insurance policies,
these policies are all more or less related to the commercial general
liability (CGL) policy (also known as casualty insurance). Whereas property
insurance claims are termed first-party claims because the insured
has suffered the loss, liability losses are called third-party claims
because the insured is legally obligated to pay some injured third party.
In other words, this insurance refers to coverage mainly for bodily injury
and property damage to third parties caused by, or arising out of, our
operations or the use of our facilities.
provides protection for all sums we are legally obligated to pay, including
legal expenses associated with the occurrence in question. (For example,
just because someone is injured on our premises does not always mean that
we are legally responsible for that person's injuries.) It also covers
losses arising from personal injuries, which include false arrest, defamation,
invasion of privacy, wrongful eviction, discrimination and civil rights
violations, and other intentional torts. Other liability insurance coverages
may or may not be included with general liability. This includes liability
for automobiles, public officials, malpractice, environmental impairment,
professional practices, and employee benefit programs. Additionally, this
coverage extends beyond the entity itself and covers employees as individuals
while acting in the course and scope of their employment.
has the "right and duty" to defend any claim. It also has the
right to settle any claim as it sees fit, sometimes irrespective of our
wishes. The insurer pays legal fees and defense costs until it has paid
out the policy limits.
applies only to an occurrence in the coverage territory which takes place
during the policy period. Occurrence is defined as "an accident,
including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general
harmful conditions." Coverage territory is typically the U.S., its
territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
is issued in two versions: the occurrence form, which covers all
claims, whenever made, arising from occurrences during the policy period;
and the claims-made form, which only covers claims made during the policy
period. Some common exclusions include:
acts; willful violation of the law
liability other than an insured contract
compensation or similar laws
known false statements
CGL insurer is United Educators (UE)-a risk retention group that specializes
in insurance for colleges and universities. UE provides two separate towers
of liability with $1 million in limits: General/Automotive Liability and
Educators Legal Liability. This policy is written on both occurrence and
claims-made forms. As a result, it is extremely important that all
potential claims be reported to the District Risk Manager as soon as practicable
after a potential loss becomes known.
A third party
who requests to recover monetary damages for bodily injury or personal
property, (including automobile claims) allegedly caused by the District
or its employees, officers, agents, or volunteers, must do so within 180
days after the date of the occurrence. District employees are to neither
accept liability nor furnish information on incidents or accidents, and
should refer the claimant to the risk manager immediately after knowledge
of a potential or actual claim.
defines the requirements for filing a claim against a public entity in
the state of Arizona. The statute requires, in part, that a claim against
a public entity or public employee:
- Be filed
with the appropriate party within 180 days after the cause of action
sufficient facts to permit the public entity or public employee to understand
the basis upon which liability is claimed.
a specific dollar amount for which the claim can be settled and the
facts supporting that amount.
A claim not
filed within 180 days after the cause of action accrues is barred and
no action may be maintained thereon. In order to file a suit against a
public entity or public employee, a valid notice of claim must be filed.
A lawsuit generally must be filed within one year after the cause of action
that failure to comply with this statute can prejudice the District's
rights to accept or deny a claim. Therefore, it is imperative that
anyone seeking monetary damages from the District submit a valid notice
of claim. (Notice of Claim forms, which can help facilitate the claims
reporting process for claimants, are available from the Legal Services
Department.) Once a valid claim is received, the risk manager will facilitate
the investigation and final disposition (denial or settlement) of the
in the Winter 2003 Edition of In Brief