Public Buildings Insurance Policy Information
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 public buildings insurance might be needed, and why? Keep reading for answers.
Public buildings insurance protects public facilities from lawsuits with rates as low as $67/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Below are some answers to commonly asked public buildings insurance questions:
- What Is Public Buildings Insurance?
- How Much Does Public Buildings Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Public Buildings Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Public Buildings Need?
What Is Public Buildings Insurance?
Public Buildings Insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides coverage for buildings that are owned by the government or other public entities. This insurance policy is designed to protect the physical structure of public buildings, as well as the contents within, against losses due to various perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and other covered events.
The coverage offered by public buildings insurance can vary, but it generally includes protection for the building and its contents, as well as liability coverage for incidents that may occur on the property. Additionally, some policies may also offer coverage for loss of income if the building must be temporarily closed due to damage from a covered event.
It is important for public entities to have adequate public buildings insurance coverage to ensure that they are protected against the financial losses that can result from damages to their buildings and their contents.
How Much Does Public Buildings Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small public buildings ranges from $67 to $89 per month based on location, size, revenue, claims history and more.
Why Do 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 public buildings insurance plan - that optimally defends you against the risks you may face.
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.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 9111 Executive Offices, 9121 Legislative Bodies, 9131 Executive And Legislative Offices Combined, 9199: General Government, Not Elsewhere Classified
- NAICS CODE: 921110 Executive Offices, 921120 Legislative Bodies, 921130 Public Finance Activities, 921140 Executive and Legislature, Combined, 921190 Other General Governmental Support
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 9015 Building or Property Management - All Other Employees, 8810 Clerical Office Employees NOC
Description for 9111: Executive Offices
Division J: Public Administration | Major Group 91: Executive, Legislative, And General Government, Except Finance | Industry Group 911: Executive Offices
9111 Executive Offices: Offices of chief executives and their advisory and interdepartmental committees and commissions.
- Advisory commissions, executive
- City and town managers'offices
- County supervisors'and executives'offices
- President's office
Description for 9121: Legislative Bodies
Division J: Public Administration | Major Group 91: Executive, Legislative, And General Government, Except Finance | Industry Group 912: Legislative Bodies
9121 Legislative Bodies: Legislative bodies and their advisory and interdepartmental committees and commissions.
- Advisory commissions, legislative
- Boards of supervisors
- City and town councils
- County commissioners
- Legislative assemblies
- Study commissions, legislative
Description for 9131: Executive And Legislative Offices Combined
Division J: Public Administration | Major Group 91: Executive, Legislative, And General Government, Except Finance | Industry Group 913: Executive And Legislative Offices Combined
9131 Executive And Legislative Offices Combined: Councils and boards of commissioners or supervisors and such bodies where the chief executive is a member of the legislative body itself.
- Legislative and executive office combinations
Description for 9199: General Government, Not Elsewhere Classified
Division J: Public Administration | Major Group 91: Executive, Legislative, And General Government, Except Finance | Industry Group 919: General Government, Not Elsewhere Classified
9199 General Government, Not Elsewhere Classified: Establishments primarily engaged in providing tax return preparation services without also providing accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services. Government establishments primarily engaged in providing general support for government, which include personnel, auditing, procurement services, and building management services, and other general government establishments which cannot be classified in other industries. Public finance is classified in Industry 9311.
- Civil rights commissions-government
- Civil service commissions-government
- General accounting offices-government
- General services departments-government
- Personnel agencies-government
- Purchasing and supply agencies-government
- Supply agencies-government
Public Buildings Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about the types of 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.
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
- Specialty Government
The local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings industry needs business insurance for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, business insurance helps protect against financial loss. Governments and their agencies often handle large amounts of money, assets and sensitive information, making them a target for theft, fraud and other criminal activities. Insurance can help cover the costs associated with recovering from these types of losses.
In addition, government agencies and buildings are at risk for natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. Commercial insurance can help cover the costs of repairing damage caused by these types of events.
Furthermore, government agencies and services often deal with the public on a daily basis, making them vulnerable to liability claims. For example, if a government building is not properly maintained and a visitor slips and falls, the agency could be held liable for the injuries sustained. Insurance can help cover the costs of legal proceedings and any damages awarded.
Lastly, commercial insurance can help protect against unexpected disruptions in operations. For example, if a government agency's computer systems were to crash, it could disrupt the agency's ability to function effectively. Business insurance can help cover the costs of getting the agency back up and running as quickly as possible.
Overall, the local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings industry needs insurance to protect against financial loss, natural disasters, liability claims and disruptions in operations. Without it, these agencies could face significant financial and operational challenges.
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.