Massachusetts Public Buildings Insurance Policy Information
Massachusetts Public Buildings Insurance. Any building that is open to members of the public, and which is funded by tax-payer money, may be considered a public building.
Public buildings can provide office, meeting or recreational facilities for just about any public operation. They often have auditoriums that are designed for large public gatherings or for political assemblies.
Public buildings can include community centers, courthouses, garages for equipment or vehicle storage and maintenance, law enforcement agencies, libraries, museums, or house federal, state, city or municipal operations.
Although these buildings are managed with the help of public funds, rather than being commercial ventures, they, too, operate within budgetary ranges that cannot easily be exceeded. This is why buildings in which activities that benefit the public unfold should thoroughly evaluate all the risks they face.
Insurance plays an important role in protecting these public assets from financial losses resulting from hazards - but what types of Massachusetts public buildings insurance might be needed, and why? Keep reading for answers.
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Why Do MA Public Buildings Need Insurance?
Public buildings are vulnerable to a range of perils, regardless of the risk management strategies they will undoubtedly have implemented. The risks that may lead to major financial losses include those that are universal in nature, as well as some uniquely associated with public venues.
All physical buildings may be impacted by acts of nature - devastating events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, storms, or lighting strikes. Accidents and criminal acts like vandalism and theft, too, pose a risk to all public buildings.
In the aftermath, serious property damage may render the building unusable, requiring the entity to temporarily move its operations elsewhere. Liability risks pose a considerable threat as well.
An employee may be injured in the workplace, and the same holds true for a member of the public. In these cases, costly and drawn-out litigation often follows.
Because no proactive step can completely eliminate these and other risks, Massachusetts public buildings insurance plays a vital role in protecting these facilities from the financial losses that are inevitable in the face of major perils - helping them recover much more quickly, and allowing them to continue to serve their communities.
What Type Of Insurance Do Massachusetts Public Buildings Need?
The fact that public buildings have a wide variety of different purposes also means that it is impossible to provide a simple answer to this question.
The location of the MA public building, the scope and size of its activities, the equipment used within it, and its number of employees are just some of the factors that can influence the types of coverage a public building will need.
Consulting a skilled insurance broker who specializes in crafting insurance plans for public entities is essential for any public organization. Among the kinds of Massachusetts public buildings insurance public buildings to consider, however, are:
- Commercial Property - Public buildings themselves, and the physical assets found within them, can severely be damaged by catastrophic events that include acts of nature, burglary, and vandalism. Property insurance helps to cover the resulting expenses.
- Commercial General Liability - In this highly-litigious society, anybody can file a lawsuit alleging property damage or personal injury. A member of the public may, for example, seek compensation after slipping on a wet floor. General liability insurance exists to help commercial ventures and public buildings alike manage the legal expenses, including settlement costs, that follow.
- Workers' Compensation - This type of Massachusetts public buildings insurance protects your workers in the event that they sustain occupational injuries caused by circumstances ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome due to computer work to physical attacks by members of the public. By covering their medical bills and any lost income resulting from related sick days, it also prevents such employees from filing lawsuits against the public entity in question.
- Business Auto - Any public or commercial entity that uses vehicles for professional reasons will require auto insurance to protect them in the event of accidents.
- Cyber Liability - Public entities inevitably use digital records. In the event that this private and sensitive data is breached, stolen, and perhaps disclosed to the public, cyber insurance helps the public organization manage the financial consequences that can follow.
Comprehensive insurance coverage is, in other words, a form of protection that a MA public building relies on after disaster has already struck.
Because the modern insurance market offers a multitude of different policies, each of which protects against different perils, it is essential to consult a competent business insurance broker to guide you through the process of crafting the Massachusetts public buildings insurance plan - that optimally defends you against the risks you may face.
MA Public Building's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is high due to services provided to residents and the public's access to the building. If tours are given, exposures increase significantly as guests may be led through areas generally "off limits" to more casual visitors. Legislation and judicial decisions have eroded governmental immunity protection in most states.
Public and life safety code compliance is very important. To prevent trips, slips, and falls, all premises must be well maintained with flooring in good condition. Adequate lighting, marked exits and egresses are mandatory. Steps must have handrails, be well lit, marked, and in good maintenance and repair.
An outside service contractor should inspect elevators and escalators annually. Parking lots should be free of ice and snow.
Public buildings may be a target for vandals, disgruntled citizens, criminals, or terrorists. Security inside the facility, as well as outside areas including owned parking area, needs to be carefully implemented and monitored.
An evacuation plan must be in place. Personal injury losses may occur due to alleged assault, discrimination, invasion of privacy, or unlawful detention.
Public officials' liability exposure can be severe. Today's political climate has seen an increase in lawsuits against public officials for failure to perform the functions of their office, failure to account for tax funds, failure to enforce regulations, failure to follow mandated procedures, such as open bidding on contracts, bad faith, and other errors or omissions. Defense costs can be prohibitively expensive.
Workers compensation exposures are varied, from office workers to volunteers, janitorial staff, building or yard maintenance workers, repair personnel, and drivers. Workers may incur back injuries, hernias, slips, falls, strains, or sprains.
Skin and lung irritation can result from working with cleaning chemicals and paint. Office workers may develop repetitive motion injuries. Workstations should be ergonomically designed. There may be interactions with angry constituents or protestors. Employees should be trained to deal with difficult situations.
Property exposure is generally low. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, and heating, and air conditioning systems. There may be a restaurant or cafeteria on premises. Most offices and auditoriums have extensive wiring for lighting, computers, and other electronic equipment. It must be in good repair and adequate for its use.
Valuation may be a concern in older buildings with unique architectural features that may be difficult to rebuild with like construction and quality after a loss. Smoke detectors are critical for early detection of a fire. Smoking should be prohibited. If there is a restaurant or cafeteria on premises, all cooking equipment should be properly protected.
Garages for storing, fueling, and maintaining vehicles must be separated from office facilities. Public buildings may be a target for political activists or for terrorists. Adequate security is required. There should be disaster recovery plans in place to continue operations in the event of a large loss.
Crime exposure is from public officials' dishonesty, employee dishonesty, and money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, must be completed on all employees. Receipts must be provided for all payments of taxes, fees, fines, and penalties, with daily reconciliation between receipts and money received. Deposits should be made promptly with appropriate security provided.
Money should not be left on premises overnight. There must be regular audits, preferably by an outside firm. All employees must take at least one complete week of vacation each year. If the facilities have offices to collect fees, penalties, or obtain permits and licenses, there may be an exposure to hold up.
Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable for billings, audio/visual equipment, computers, contractors' equipment, fine arts, and valuable papers and records. Contractors' equipment may be used off-premises to build, maintain, or service municipal streets and roads.
If any owned equipment is used or taken off-premises, the exposure to loss increases. Fine arts such as statuary and paintings, artifacts, historical documents, rare or historical books, or manuscripts may be one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable.
If insured, valuation should be done by a qualified appraiser. Valuable papers and records are often delicate and must be protected from fire, water damage, vandalism, theft, or other losses. Duplicates of all files should be stored at an off-site facility for easy retrieval in the event of a loss.
Commercial auto exposure can be high if vehicles are used to transport public officials, guests, and visitors. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. All vehicles must be maintained on a regular basis with records kept in a central location.
During inclement weather, drivers may be on the road for extended hours in adverse conditions.
Supervision is necessary so drivers can be rotated and not become overly fatigued. There may be a high non-owned auto exposure if employees use their own vehicles to run errands or attend meetings on municipal business. Employees should carry personal automobile insurance with adequate liability limits.
Massachusetts Public Buildings Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about the types of Massachusetts public buildings insurance policies to consider, the costs, and how much coverage you should carry - speak with a commercial insurance broker that is experienced in public sector insurance.
Massachusetts Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you are thinking about starting a business in the Massachusetts, it's important that you have an understanding of the economic trends and commercial insurance requirements in the state before you set up shop.
Economic trends are important, as they indicate whether or not the area offers a strong economy that will be able to support your business. You also need to know what type of commercial insurance you'll need to carry so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that you are complaint with the law.
To help you determine if the Bay State is the right location for the business you are thinking about opening, below, you'll find an overview of MA's current economic trends, as well as the types of insurance policies you'll need to carry.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Massachusetts
Unemployment rate is a good indicator of a state's economy. The lower the rate, the more job opportunities there are, which is direct reflection of the health of businesses.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 2.8% in December, 2019. That's 0.7% lower than the national average, which was 3.5% in December, 2019. This indicates that the state offers a strong workforce and that there are enough jobs to support the residents of the state.
While regions throughout the area are seeing business growth, there are certain areas in particular that are seeing more growth than others. This includes large metropolitan areas and the regions that surround them, including:
- New Bedford
Several industries are doing very well in the state of Massachusetts; however, there are particular sectors that are seeing more growth than others and are truly thriving in this part of the country. These industries include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Commercial fishing
- Financial services
- Hospitality tourism
- Information technology
- Medicine and life sciences
If you are thinking about starting a business in any of these industries, chances are good that you will find the success you are looking for in the state of Massachusetts.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance regulates insurance in MA. Massachusetts mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Massachusetts 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, but employees in domestic service must be covered if they work at least 16 hours a week.
Massachusetts 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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