New bill to require cops to carry personal insurance

New bill to require cops to carry personal insurance | Insurance Business

New bill to require cops to carry personal insurance

The state of New York has proposed a bill that would hold cops accountable for their misconduct – by way of insurance.

Introduced by state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), the bill requires officers to secure their own personal liability insurance, which would cover civil lawsuits filed against them for misconduct. However, local governments would still be required to secure basic insurance policies to cover tort litigation costs.

Although cities still have to purchase basic insurance, the bill would hold officers accountable for their actions by forcing them to pay any increase in premiums on their insurance for any misconduct they have been sued for, Biaggi explained.

“Officers who have misconduct claims brought against them may see their premium go up and will be required to pay those costs. The purpose of this bill is to establish a financial disincentive for police misconduct and create accountability for abhorrent behavior,” the senator said.

Under NY’s current law, cops facing civil lawsuits are represented by the city law department, while taxpayers pay for the verdict or settlement.

New York Post reported that the bill is one of the latest in a series of police accountability measures passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month.

University of California law school professor Joanna Schwartz had a similar idea to use insurance as a means to control police conduct. But instead of requiring police officers to purchase personal liability insurance, Schwartz believes municipality liability insurance can be used in the same way.

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The professor explained that while larger municipalities can easily pay for civil lawsuits against their own police, smaller cities will have to rely on liability insurance. If there are too many civil lawsuits filed against the police of a small city, the municipality’s liability insurance premiums will increase, leaving the city on the hook for the costs. This would force cities to rein in their police force for any misconduct.