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A Sign of the Times: Philadelphia Insures Against Police Liability Claims Ahead of the Democratic National Convention

Given the current climate of hard-fought elections, law enforcement backlash, and fervent nationwide protests, it is no surprise that the insurance industry is being called upon to mitigate the significant risk surrounding major political events. The 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia from July 25 through July 28, 2016, and the City of Philadelphia is preparing.  Following Benjamin Franklin’s wise words that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the City has purchased a law enforcement liability insurance policy to protect against it or its police officers being sued over the performance of their duties during the Democratic National Convention.  

In the wake of numerous protests against police in cities across America, and the tragic shooting of police officers in Dallas, the City evidently was not going to take chances.  It purchased the law enforcement liability insurance policy, which provides up to $5 million in coverage for any incidents which occur during the policy’s short term of July 15 through July 30, 2016, at a cost of $1.2 million.

 This is not the first time the City of Philadelphia has purchased this type of insurance.  When hosting the Republican National Convention in 2000, it bought a similar insurance product with similar coverage limits, but for a premium amount that was an order of magnitude lower. The dramatic premium increase is certainly a reflection of the times, with the primary and excess insurers providing the coverage clearly believing that the risk of lawsuits arising out of the Democratic National Convention is much greater than it was for the Republican National Convention in 2000.  

This blog post is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.