Year of Publication
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
Master of Public Administration
Elected and appointed public officials at every level of government face a growing number of lawsuits relating to countless activities such as zoning, budgets, administration, distributing permits and more. Public official (PO) liability claims alleging failure to promote employees, discrimination, and sexual harassment continue to skyrocket. It is critical to the vitality of American cities to protect officials who have chosen public service so that they can continue to focus on serving their communities.
The Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services (KLCIS), a member-owned insurance pool of Kentucky municipalities, offers general liability, public official liability, law enforcement liability, automobile coverage including liability and property damage, worker’s compensation, crime, K-9 mortality and unemployment insurance. Insurance claims data of all types are used to analyze why a provider is paying on certain types of claims more than others and how they can predict future trends. An analysis of PO liability claims makes for an interesting case because local public officials who hold positions of power in a municipality often times misuse or abuse their power for dishonest or unlawful gain. KLCIS PO liability coverage is designed to cover claims for errors, omissions, neglect or breach of duty, violation of civil rights, wrongful termination or sexual harassment claims brought against municipalities. On a superficial level, KLCIS has speculated that PO claims filed with their agency increase or decrease depending on Kentucky’s mayoral election cycle due to unfair employment practices. KLCIS has asked that I perform a statistical analysis of this presumption. Therefore, the question this analysis seeks to answer is: “Does the Incidence of Public Official Liability Claims Increase in Years Following a Mayoral Election?”
To answer this question, I analyzed data provided by the Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services to establish whether there was a clear causal relationship between the number of PO liability claims and the years following a mayoral election. I found no significant effect of mayoral election year trends in PO liability claims. I did, however, find that time contributes to the increase of PO liability claims and the dollar amount incurred associated with those claims. Applying claims as the dependent variable, rather than the amount incurred, also produces a stronger regression model. It seems only natural that if the number of cities who purchase a PO liability policy increases over the years, so too will the dollar amount incurred because it takes money to settle those claims.
Despite finding no significant relationship between PO liability claims and mayoral election years in Kentucky, it is important to identify, quantify and deliver insurance claims data analyses because it provides the ability to detect trends over time. Non-profit membership organizations resembling the Kentucky League of Cities which also provide insurance products and services through a self-insured pool may find claims data analysis beneficial. Cities, their agencies, boards, commissions, units of local government, and other non-profit public purpose organizations can learn valuable lessons from factors that may or may not contribute to the increase in the number of claims filed.
Curtis, Laurel A., "Does the Incidence of Public Official Liability Claims Increase in Years Following a Mayoral Election?" (2007). MPA/MPP/MPFM Capstone Projects. 166.