Some States Consider Requiring Police to Carry Liability Insurance
As New York state lawmakers introduce legislation that would require individual police officers to carry liability insurance to cover lawsuits alleging excessive force, abuse, or other misconduct, some U.S. insurers and brokers are already crafting language for such professional liability coverage, sensing a potential market opening up. Some cities and states are hopeful that a financial stick can curb future police misconduct.
Currently, most police officers rely on municipalities to cover legal costs and payouts to victims, either from public funds or blanket insurance. New York is not alone in exploring the idea, with Colorado passing a law last month that holds police officers personally liable for five percent or $25,000 of damages if their employer determines they did not act in good faith. Policymakers in California and Florida have also expressed interest in the idea.
“The real challenge is assessing the exposure and pricing policies accordingly,” said
Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute. “Some insurance companies feel that is too challenging. Others feel like this is absolutely something they will be able to work with.”