Do Pooled Risk Management Programs Provide Insurance to Public Entities?

In New Hampshire there is a law that immunizes public entities, like cities and counties, from many kinds of personal injury claims (NH RSA 507-B:5).  Most of these statutory immunities are waived to the extent the public entity has liability insurance (NH RSA 507-B:7-a).  In the 1980s the New Hampshire Municipal Association spearheaded an effort to allow Pooled Risk Management Programs [PRMP] to provide insurance coverage to public entities as an alternative to traditional insurance companies.  Since then, two PRMPs were created to provide coverage ranging from health insurance to property insurance called Primex and Local Government Center.  Both PRMPs provide contracts for liability insurance coverage that is the same as insurance sold by insurance companies.  While both PRMPs describe thier products as insurance to the public and the public entities that they cover, they deny that they provide insurance when defending personal injury claims in court in an effort to claim statutory immunity for most types of claims.  There are good arguments, that do not appear to have been reviewed by the trial courts that have considered the issue, that the liability coverage provided by PRMPs is RSA 507-B:7-a insurance that waives most statutory immunity provisions.  Some of those arguments were summarized in an article published in the Trial Bar News, Volument 37, Winter 2012.  A copy of that article is attached:  Arguments Why PRMPs Provide Insurance.

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