Alaska Jail Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Jail Insurance. Jails are confinement facilities housing inmates for relatively short periods of time - they may be convicted of minor crimes and serving sentences that are generally less than a year long, or awaiting trial or sentencing.
While some jails host no more than a few hundred inmates, others are bustling facilities capable of accommodating several thousand.
Jails are contained in local law enforcement facilities. They provide temporary detainment for prisoners awaiting sentencing, those facing minor sentences, or until arrangements can be made for transportation to permanent or long-term facilities.
Prisoners generally stay in jails less than one year. After being taken into custody, a prisoner is booked, photographed, and fingerprinted. A physical and mental health evaluation is done to determine whether there are additional needs, and a security assessment is completed.
A body search is conducted to confirm that no weapons or contraband items are being taken into the jail. Depending on the facility, the prisoner may wear his or her own clothing or be issued a uniform. If the facility takes the prisoner's clothing and other personal property into custody, all items must be listed with a receipt signed.
All commercial and public organizations face hazards, but jails, perhaps more than any other organization, are virtually synonymous with "risk" - from fights among inmates that can also pose a threat to correctional officers to clandestine cooking techniques, AK jails are filled with hazards.
With such a high risk profile, it is especially important for the bodies that manage jails, generally departments of correction or law enforcement authorities, to carefully consider the insurance needs of these facilities. To find out what types of jail insurance a correctional facility might require, keep reading.
Alaska jail insurance protects your correctional institution from lawsuits with rates as low as $157/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do AK Jails Need Insurance?
Jails need insurance for the same reasons that lead any other commercial or public organization to invest in top-notch coverage; they can, at any time, be confronted with unforeseen circumstances associated with massive costs. Some of the risks that apply to jails are universal, while other perils are unique to correctional facilities.
Like all other buildings, jails can - for example - be exposed to an act of nature. As varied as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, lightning strikes, and severe floods, these natural disasters can cause damage of such a magnitude that the facility becomes inoperable.
Theft and vandalism are universal risks, but inmate-related theft and vandalism of jail property is almost guaranteed within jails.
The many AK jail-specific liability risks would include the occupational injury of correctional officers, inmates being injured on the premises in circumstances for which management could ultimately be held responsible, and arson committed by inmates.
It can be challenging for correctional facilities to find an insurer who both deeply understands their needs and is able to meet them, and for this reason, partnering with an insurance company who caters specifically to Alaska jail insurance is recommended.
What Type Of Insurance Do Alaska Jails Need?
Jails need to carry several different forms of insurance. The precise coverage that will best protect the financial interests of an individual jail depends on factors that include the number of inmates it typically houses, how many correctional officers and other workers it employs, its location, and the materials from which the building was constructed.
An in-depth consultation with a skilled insurance broker who has extensive experience with this field is the most effective path towards obtaining the insurance program that shields a jail from all major perils. Having said that, some types of Alaska jail insurance that are indispensable include:
- Commercial Property - This type of insurance covers financial losses resulting from perils that strike the physical building, but also the assets therein. The types of perils that fall under property insurance typically include acts of nature (often with the exception of floods), theft, and vandalism.
- General Liability - This type of Alaska jail insurance coverage covers third party bodily injury and property damage claims. In the event that a visiting relative is injured due to poor maintenance, for instance, general liability insurance would cover the resulting legal costs.
- Workers' Compensation - Should a jail employee sustain a work-related injury, of which there is a high risk in this field, workers comp pays for the employee's medical costs, whether the injury was acute or long-term. If the employee is rendered unable to return to work due to occupational injuries, their lost income is also compensated.
- Inmate Medical Coverage - This type of coverage can also be called correctional medical insurance. It offers health and medical insurance to inmates. Correctional medical liability insurance is another related policy that jails will need to carry; in the event that an inmate suffers injuries or health conditions for which the facility could be held liable, it covers legal costs and settlement fees associated with resulting lawsuits.
Bear in mind that the insurance needs an individual jail has are unique. For this reason, a jail's managerial board should find a seasoned insurance broker who can assess their risk profile together with them, and help them source the Alaska jail insurance that will optimally protect their financial interests.
AK Jail's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is very high due to the number of prisoners living in the jail and any visitors. Public and life safety code compliance is very important. To prevent trips, slips, and falls, stairways, elevators, and floor coverings should be in good condition. Adequate lighting, marked exits and egresses are mandatory.
Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair, with snow and ice removed, and generally level.
There must be procedures to ensure the safety of each incarcerated individual. Any potentially violent or harmful prisoner must be separated from other prisoners. Additional care is required when there is any indication that a prisoner needs either medical attention or may cause harm or injury to himself or herself.
Security concerns regarding the prisoners, employees, guards, visitors, and guests are high and need careful evaluation. Evacuation plans must be in place with regular disaster training conducted.
If the jail furnishes inmates for roadwork, there must be adequate protection for the inmates while in transit and off premises. If inmates are allowed off premises, as in work release programs, there must be adequate supervision to protect public safety.
Professional liability exposure comes from the exercising of police powers, the potential for allegations of personal injury, and from medical care for the prisoners. Allegations regarding discrimination, false arrest, invasion of privacy, negligent hiring and supervision, sexual abuse or harassment, unlawful detention, and use of excessive force are common.
All individuals who work with the prisoners are subject to thorough background checks, including criminal history. Hiring, training, supervision and policy procedures are all important parts of promoting professional attitudes towards inmates.
Workers compensation exposure is very high to employees, guards, drivers, and officers from an injury inflicted by prisoners, who may be violent or mentally ill. Vehicle accidents, assaults, slips, falls, cuts and bruises, back and knee injuries are common.
There may be exposure to caustic chemicals, bloodborne pathogens, or infectious diseases. Activists, victims, family, friends, or relatives of victims and other injured parties may also act out against jail employees.
The training of the jailers, guards, and employees in the handling of emergencies is a critical item to evaluate. Physical exams and psychiatric evaluations should be conducted at least annually.
Property exposure is very high. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, and cooking equipment. Any storage of firearms or ammunition on premises increases the potential for damage from fire and can be a target for theft. Electrical circuitry must be up to code and evaluated regularly.
All jails must serve food to inmates. The cooking facilities must be well maintained and cooking done under a hood or in the oven. If grease-laden vapors are produced, a fire protection device should be in place. Filters should be cleaned regularly.
Any laundry facilities, vocational training, or services should be evaluated for any additional fire hazards. Arson is a concern as some inmates may start fires for revenge or to gain attention. Smoke detectors are critical for early detection of a fire. Smoking should be prohibited.
Because some prisoners are violent, the cells and areas where they might be must be resistant to their damage. Wiring and security features must be inaccessible to inmates. Since law enforcement agencies must operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there must be advance disaster planning in place.
Crime exposure is due to employee dishonesty and money and securities. All employees must undergo criminal background checks. All ordering, billing, and disbursements must be kept separate. Money collected from such places as the jail store or vending machines must be counted by two individuals and should be deposited on a regular basis.
Inmates' property retained by the facility must be inventoried and a signed receipt maintained on file.
Inland marine exposure is due to bailees customers, computers and valuable papers and records. If the jail is private and bills the state or municipality for services, accounts receivable coverage may be needed. Jails have a bailees exposure as they retain the personal property of prisoners.
Receipts should be provided for any item taken into custody. Computers control many aspects of the jail including clerical functions and security, such as opening and closing doors and other shutdown procedures. There should be adequate backup and duplicates made of all programs.
Valuable papers and records include all information about the prisoners incarcerated in the jail. These should be duplicated with a copy kept at an off-site location.
Commercial auto exposure can be very high as vehicles may be used for the transport of prisoners or inmates, public officials, employees, and guests. Employees can be on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week, often with traffic congestion, poor road conditions, or inclement weather.
Defensive driving training is necessary. Drivers must be trained to verify that intersections are clear before going through red lights. MVRs must be checked regularly. Vehicles must be maintained on a regular basis with records kept in a central location.
Alaska Jail Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about the specific types of Alaska jail insurance policies typically needed, and what limits to consider, speak with a business insurance broker that is experienced in commercial insurance.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Local, State And Federal Government Insurance
Learn about commercial insurance for local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings.
- County Administration Offices
- Fire Departments
- Government Buildings
- Law Enforcement Entities
- Public Buildings
Cooperative efforts between insurance professionals and public officials have led to the satisfactory arrangement of coverages for public properties that may include large building schedules spread over a number of locations and geographic areas.
Liability insurance protection is a matter of much greater concern. As governmental and charitable institutional immunity continues to erode, the onslaught of lawsuits makes adequate liability protection essential.
Public utilities have unique insurance needs usually best handled by specialists in their field.
Because government entities are becoming more inventive in raising money, they are involved in activities that may not appear to be government-related so that they may require coverages that at first glance do not seem appropriate for them.
Minimum recommended small business insurance 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, Cyberliability, Employee Benefits, Public Officials' Liability, Umbrella, Hired and Non-Oowned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Extra Expense, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and; Stop Gap Liability.
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