In This Issue

Communication in Crisis Conference

4th Annual Risk & Insurance Symposium

Excellence in Risk Management Award Nominations Now Being Accepted

Workers’ Compensation Workshops Recap

Legal Guides for Law Enforcement

Social Engineering Red Flags

Georgia county paid $400K to ransomware hackers

Tennessee Trivia

Q. What is the official state dog of Tennessee?

Click here for the answer

Message from the President

Dawn Crawford

Dear member,

Reputation is of the utmost importance to every organization. I’m sure that is true for your entity, just as it certainly is for Public Entity Partners. One way in which we maintain our reputation is by ensuring that we are fair and consistent in the ways we do business with each of our members.

Over the years, we unfortunately have been asked to provide special treatment to an individual or a member, which we obviously cannot do. Below are a few examples of the types of situations that we have encountered.

  • Someone claims they can offer you a better price than the one provided by your current agent.
    • - Our premium is our premium, and we do not negotiate or play favorites.

  • Someone wants their claim to be treated as an exception to the rule.
    • - There are no exceptions to the policy contract and what it covers.

  • Our appraiser identifies unscheduled property, inquires with the insured and is told it does not need to be covered. That property later incurs a loss and the entity decides it wants it covered after all.
    • - The policy application and related schedules are part of the insurance contract, so please be thorough in filling them out. This is what your premiums and coverages are based upon.

  • Someone asks us to not investigate a claim and “just pay.”
    • - Our claims adjusters are on the front lines taking care of all members and do not compromise the integrity of the claims handling process.

  • Someone asks us to reduce premiums by the amount of agent commission so a prospective agent can win the business.
    • - Our pricing methods are applied consistently for all members and member agents.

    The list of examples could continue, but you get the picture. Fortunately, we are not confronted with a lot of these types of situations (I believe our reputation has gotten around), but when we do, we stand firm on behalf of ALL member organizations.

    The mission of Public Entity Partners
    is to provide the very best
    in risk management products and services,
    expert claims administration and
    comprehensive insurance options
    with absolute integrity.

    All the best,

    Dawn Crawford signature
    Dawn R. Crawford


Communication in Crisis Conference

The manner in which your entity responds during a crisis event can either help the public understand the dangers and respond accordingly, or it can increase confusion ― resulting in the public not knowing what to do.

In a crisis event, it’s imperative to get the right information to the right people at the right time. This can be challenging in today’s digital communication age. The upcoming Communication in Crisis Conference: Public Information during a Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack, to be held May 21 - 22 in Knoxville, will bring together experts from around the U.S. to share best practices. The conference will focus on how to deliver coordinated and reliable information to the whole community through clear and accessible methods.

Speakers will include Sgt. Jeff Clark, PIO for the Las Vegas Metro Police; Greg Miller, former fire chief for the City of Gatlinburg; Division Director Antwane Johnson with the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program office; Michele Jones, deputy chief of the Morristown Police Department; and additional crisis communication experts from across the country. The conference is funded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack and State Homeland Security grant programs.

General sessions will focus on lessons learned from large-scale events. Breakout sessions will offer a variety of training, from the mechanics of information sharing to crafting an emergency message appropriate for social media use. The conference is provided free-of-charge to all attendees and is open to anyone involved with providing information to the public during a disaster.


Communication in Crisis Conference: Public Information during a Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack


May 21-22, 2019


Hilton Knoxville
501 West Church Ave
Knoxville, TN 37902

Who Should Attend:

Anyone involved with providing information to the public during a disaster.




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4th Annual Risk & Insurance Symposium

Registration is now underway for the 4th annual Risk & Insurance Symposium, to be held August 21 - 23 at the Franklin Marriott. Last year’s event brought almost 200 local government officials together to network, gain valuable continuing education credits, and refresh their outlook on safety and risk management.

This year’s event will provide participants with quality risk management educational opportunities in multiple areas of interest to local governments. Participants may register for the entire three-day event or for the days that best fit their areas of interest. In addition to the general risk management courses, we are also offering a specific law enforcement track and cyber security track on Wednesday and Thursday of the symposium for local government employees who have an interest in those particular topics.

This year’s event truly offers something for everyone across all three days and, for the first time, will provide numerous types of continuing education credits. In addition to sessions that earn CMFO credits, we will also offer sessions eligible for utility commissioner continuing education credits and POST credits. The agenda is still being finalized and some continuing education credits are still pending, but sessions that have already been approved include up to 15.5 CMFO credit hours, with 12.5 CMFO credit hours in the financial category! POST credits are expected to be finalized in early May.

Agenda topics include:

  • Drug and Alcohol Testing
  • The Open Records Act and How it Applies to Social Media
  • How I Hacked You (in 10 minutes or less)
  • Protecting Your Entity from ADA lawsuits
  • Internal Investigations
  • Cyber Security
  • Active Shooter Preparedness

Please visit to register, learn more about the agenda and reserve your hotel room.

Public Entity Partners has reserved a room block with a negotiated conference room rate of $153 per night. Once the block is full, the Marriott will charge per-night room rates based on market rates. Please reserve your room early!

During the symposium, participants are invited to attend the Excellence in Risk Management Awards Lunch, where we will honor Public Entity Partners members who exemplify excellence, innovation and commitment to the risk and insurance field. More information about the Excellence in Risk Management Award and the nomination form are available here.

Thursday evening participants are invited to attend dinner and a movie for a showing of “All the Queen’s Horses,” about Rita Crundwell, the perpetrator of the largest case of municipal fraud in American history. This award-winning documentary investigates how the former comptroller for the City of Dixon, Illinois, was able to embezzle $53.7 million of public funds across a span of 22 years, and outlines the failures of the city's internal controls and separation of duties. Participants will be able to earn 2 CMFO credit hours in the financial category and utility commissioner continuing education hours.

For additional information or to answer any questions about this event, please contact Halie Gallik at 800.624.9698 or

“I had a great time and learned lots of valuable information. I enjoyed networking with my peers and made several new contacts. Would definitely attend again!”

Loretta Bell
City of Moscow

“The speakers were great and were by far my favorite part. I learned so much in the short amount of time we were there. Very appropriate topics for the issues currently facing local governments. I walked away with a lot of useful information and several things to review in our own organization. Thank you!”

Jessica Fessell
Town of Arlington

“The sessions really made you think about safety in your everyday activities. [My safety] affects so many others. These sessions were great — and tear-jerkers.”

Sheila Luckett
City of Mt. Juliet


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Excellence in Risk Management Award Nominations Now Being Accepted

The Excellence in Risk Management Award honors members of Public Entity Partners who exemplify excellence, innovation, creativity and commitment to providing quality safety and risk management programs within their entities. This award is designed to recognize entities of all sizes that make use of available resources to creatively implement safety programs. Examples of risk management are found in all operations, from utilizing technology to creating/updating proper documentation and repair orders, or jumpstarting a safety committee. This award recognized individuals, departments or organizations that make an impact in risk management.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The nominee must be a current Public Entity Partners member or full-time employee of a current Public Entity Partners member.
  • The nominee must work to further risk management within their entity. Applications will be reviewed for quality and overall impact to risk management. Nominees can be considered for a specific program or contributions to risk management over time.


Candidates may self-nominate or can be nominated by someone familiar with their contributions.

Nominations must be submitted electronically at or by submitting a nomination form and accompanying information to Halie Gallik at To access a PDF of the nomination form, click here.

Awards will be presented on Thursday, August 22, during the 2019 Risk & Insurance Symposium.

If you have questions about this program or need additional information, please contact Halie Gallik at or 615.371.6005.

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Workers’ Compensation Workshops Recap

Earlier this spring, Public Entity Partners hosted seven workshops across the state ― “Handling Workers’ Compensation Claims from the Employer’s Perspective.” From Atoka to Kingsport, more than 330 employees representing various cities, town and municipal agencies attended the workshops. These events provided an in-depth look at properly reporting and documenting a work injury, medical treatment, medical bills, wage statements and best practices after a work injury.

Jennifer Orr, an attorney with Farrar & Bates who handles all the workers’ compensation cases for the firm, presented material focusing on the essential information an employer needs to be aware of. Topics included an employer’s obligations when a work injury is reported, the most common mistakes made in handling workers’ compensation claims, return-to-work issues, the legal process that concludes a workers’ compensation claim and the general process of a claim.

Doug Edwards, director of administration human resources for the City of Lawrenceburg, shared his thoughts on attending the workshop.


“I very much enjoyed the PE Partners class on ‘Handling Workers’ Compensation from the Employer’s Perspective.’ Jenn is an undisputed expert in the realm of workers’ compensation. This class was especially helpful in making me aware of many important changes that have only recently occurred in the workers’ comp field, and Jenn is one of the rare few who can actually make this topic entertaining.”



Jennifer Orr presenting at the Spring Hill Workshop

PE Partners would like to thank everyone who attended the workshops and those who have helped make it a huge success.

Participants at the Kingsport Workshop

Participants at the Gallatin Workshop


Participants at the Jackson Workshop

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Legal Guides for Law Enforcement

Municipal entities with police departments have a firsthand understanding of some of the liability challenges that law enforcement organizations face. Public Entity Partners works with approximately 250 police agencies across the state, and their officers must continually educate themselves on new case law that impacts law enforcement.

One resource for law enforcement agencies is Legal and Liability Risk Management Institute (LLRMI) — a network of risk management professionals dedicated to enhancing professionalism, effectiveness and risk management in matters of public safety and criminal justice through training, policies, procedures and legal support. LLRMI has developed more than 800 articles about case law and liability pertaining to law enforcement.

Public Entity Partners has purchased a limited number of legal guides from LLRMI and is currently distributing them to members with Law Enforcement Liability Coverage. The legal guides were recently distributed at the March meeting of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP). If your police department did not attend the TACP meeting, please reach out to your casualty loss control consultant to receive a copy.

LLRMI also has an electronic newsletter specific to law enforcement. This newsletter regularly provides case law updates on law enforcement topics, as well as training information. Articles sent via the LLRMI newsletter are also archived and easily searchable on LLRMI’s website. To read the legal articles published by LLRMI or to sign up for their newsletter, visit

Public Entity Partners works to provide more than just law enforcement liability coverage. We partner with our members to advocate for law enforcement best practices and continual education on law enforcement liability topics. For additional information, please contact your casualty loss control consultant.

East Tennessee
Judy Housley

Middle Tennessee
Chester Darden

West Tennessee
Paul Chambliss

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Social Engineering Red Flags

Social Engineering is a technique used by cyber criminals to deceive you into giving access to your computer or network, and can even include tricking you into transferring money directly into the cyber criminal’s bank account. These bad actors will use commonly available information about you and things you care about in order to lead you to reveal information. These attacks can be very sophisticated and difficult to detect!

Do you know the red flags that can alert you to a social engineering attempt?

  • Consider who the email is from and be wary if:
    • - You don’t recognize the sender’s email address as someone you typically communicate with.
    • - An email is out of character from what you typically see.
    • - You do not know the sender personally.
    • - The sender’s email address looks unusual.
  • Consider who the email is directed to and be wary if:
    • - You are copied on an email you would not normally receive.
    • - You receive an email that is sent to an unusual mix of people.
    • - Often, if someone’s email has been compromised, emails coming from their account will pull in large groups of the address book.
  • Always scrutinize any hyperlinks.
    • - As you hover over hyperlinks, carefully review the address to which the hyperlink takes you.
    • - For example, this hyperlink looks like it should take you to, but it actually takes you to Public Entity Partners’ website.
    • - If you receive an email that only contains a hyperlink, it may be a social engineering attempt.
    • - If the hyperlink contains a misspelled word, it could be malicious.
  • Does the subject line of the email seem unusual?
    • - Is it a reply to an email you do not remember sending?
    • - Does the subject line not match the content of the email?
    • - It could be malicious.
  • Always look closely at any attachments PRIOR to opening them.
    • - If you were not expecting an attachment, it may be a malware.
    • - The only file type that is always safe to click on is a .txt file.
    • - Word documents, Adobe PDFs, PowerPoints and all other file types can contain viruses.
    • - If you aren’t sure, do not click on the file.
  • Check the content of each email for warning signs.
    • - Does something seem off?
    • - Is there bad spelling?
    • - Am I being asked to click on something to avoid a bad consequence?

All employees should be trained to identify the red flags of social engineering. Consider sharing this handout of Social Engineering Red Flags with your employees. It is also available in our online portal under Loss Control Resources & Recommendations.

For liability policies renewing after July 1, 2019, Public Entity Partners will be offering a Cyber Extension to our Privacy & Network Liability coverage. The Cyber Extension will cover social engineering, ransomware and data restoration expenses.

In order to be eligible for coverage, members must demonstrate an active risk management approach to cyber security. One component of this approach should be regularly training your employees on how to recognize and avoid malware emails and the dangers of clicking on links or attachments.

If you would like to learn more about the Privacy & Network Liability coverage and the Cyber Extension, please reach out to the Underwriting Department.

East Tennessee
Jim Bell Hatchell

Middle Tennessee
Anthony Roman

West Tennessee
Janine Helton

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Georgia county paid $400K to ransomware hackers

Written by Benjamin Freed


Just days after informing residents that its computer systems were severely crippled by a ransomware attack, the government of Jackson County, Georgia, paid hackers $400,000 to regain access to its files.

The payment, one of the largest recent sums to pay off a ransomware scheme, was first reported by the Athens Banner-Herald.

County officials said last week that a ransomware attack locked agencies out of nearly all their systems, forcing many, including the sheriff’s office, to resort to carrying out operations on paper.

“We are doing our bookings the way we used to do it before computers,” Sheriff Janis Mangum told StateScoop.

The Banner-Herald reported that County Manager Kevin Poe made the decision to pay the ransom after speaking with cybersecurity consultants, who advised him that rebuilding networks from scratch — as other ransomware victims, like Atlanta, have done — could be a long and costly process for the 60,000-person county.

“We had to make a determination on whether to pay,” Poe told the Banner-Herald. “We could have literally been down months and months and spent as much or more money trying to get our system rebuilt.”

After paying, the hackers sent a decryption key that allowed county workers back into their computer systems. The county is also working with the FBI, which tells ransomware victims not to pay up.

Poe also said the ransomware that took down Jackson County’s systems has been identified as the Ryuk virus, which demands far higher payments than other strains. Research published last month by McAfee and Coveware found that the hackers behind Ryuk typically ask for 100 bitcoin — equal to about $384,000 as of this writing. Ryuk is now believed to have originated in Eastern Europe or Russia, contradicting earlier reports of origin in North Korea.

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Tennessee Trivia

Q: What is the official state dog of Tennessee?

A. The blue tick coonhound officially became Tennessee’s state dog in March 2019.
The blue tick coonhound is also the mascot of the University of Tennessee.