In This Issue

Loss Control


Steam Boiler

Ford Interceptor

Liability Balancing Act

Tennessee Trivia

Q. From what Cherokee town does the state of Tennessee get its name?

Click here for the answer

Message from the President

Throughout the past year, we have featured messages in our newsletters that remind us all to "work safely … don't take shortcuts … prevent accidents." To achieve this, we have to keep our minds on our work. At this time of the year, however, our minds may be everywhere else but on our work.

We may be thinking:

  • What will I buy everyone for Christmas? I hate shopping!
  • How will I pay for Christmas? It costs a fortune!
  • Traffic is so bad, I'm a wreck by the time I finally arrive at my destination.
  • My relatives and their kids are going to be here for a whole week — Lord, help me!
  • My kids' energy and voice levels have quadrupled — give me peace!
  • If I hear Alvin & The Chipmunks one more time, I'll smash the radio!

The holidays are a wonderful time for some people and a dreadful time for others. For many, it's a mixture.

Experts say that even happy, exciting events are stressful for our minds and bodies:

  • Normal routines and schedules are disrupted, which can feel uncomfortable.
  • With so much to do, there's a lot of rushing around to get it done.
  • Giving presents can be stressful — "Am I giving enough … am I giving too much?"
  • Stores and malls are crowded and chaotic during the holidays.
  • Holiday gatherings can be fun, but too much food and drink can take its toll.
  • "Ghosts of Christmas Past" can remind us of disappointments and bring on depression.

We may be more likely to have an accident at this time of the year — whether on the job, at home or on the road. We tend to be distracted by personal matters or financial concerns, and can overlook safe work practices. We may find ourselves taking extra physical risks, such as hanging lights on the roof or lugging a Christmas tree around. And when roads and freeways are jammed with frustrated drivers, the number of auto accidents increases. It's certainly a time to drive defensively.

Sometimes, the worst thing about Christmas is getting there! Once it arrives, it's lots of fun — so don't have an accident on the way! If we keep in mind that the holidays put extra pressure on everyone this time of the year, it may help keep us and our loved ones accident-free. Stay alert. Take extra care. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Best Regards,
Dawn R. Crawford


Loss Control: Working Hand-in-Hand to Bolster Your Risk Management Program

Local governments provide a multitude of services to citizens each day. Many of these services come with inherent dangers and risks for the entities, their employees and the public.

Public Entity Partners’s Loss Control Department works to provide risk management recommendations to PE Partner members. These best practices are designed to reduce the risk of employee injuries or damage to public property, and to place the public entity in the best defensible position should it be sued.

The loss control survey provides an opportunity to discuss identified risk exposures and risk management recommendations, and to answer any questions that may arise. During the survey, our regional casualty and property consultants speak with the key contact for each insured public entity, including department heads, city administrators, executive director and mayors. When exposures are found, a follow-up letter with loss control recommendations is sent to each entity’s key contact.

PE Partner members who positively address loss exposures identified during the survey are rewarded through premium credits on their applicable liability, property or workers’ compensation policies. These premium credits are reevaluated by Public Entity Partners’s Underwriting Department after each loss control survey.

Public Entity Partners’s Loss Control Department works to provide risk management recommendations to PE Partner members. These best practices are designed to reduce the risk of employee injuries or damage to public property, and to place the public entity in the best defensible position should it be sued.

We encourage you to meet with your regional casualty or property loss control consultant during the loss control survey to discuss your public entity’s risk management efforts, and to determine if there are areas where you can improve your loss control practices. We also encourage members to share their successes so that other members can learn from them.

Log into our online portal to view some of our Loss Control recommendations and resources, or feel free to reach out to our consultants.

Casualty Consultants (Workers’ Compensation and Liability)

Judy Housley (East)

Chester Darden (Middle)

Paul Chambliss (West)

Property Conservation Consultants

Bill Magoon (East)

Bob Lynch (Middle)

Andy Lacewell (West)

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Privacy & Network Liability Coverage

It seems that rarely a day goes by without hearing about entities — both public and private — that are affected by a hacker, phishing scheme, or other nefarious attack on your server, network, computer or other electronic device.

What will you do if you are hit with one of these attacks? How will you get your data back and restore normal operations? What will happen if you lose access to your records?

The first step in tackling these potential challenges is to put policies and procedures in place now that bolster the security of your network. This can help you to reduce downtime, and get you back up and running faster if a breach occurs. Once you have a basic plan in place, you may also consider Privacy & Network Liability Coverage as an added level of protection for your entity.

Privacy & Network Liability Coverage is designed to cover your liability and expenses relating to a data breach where personal identification information, such as social security numbers, or credit card or banking data, is lost, stolen or exposed by an employee, hacker or other criminal. Public Entity Partners’s Privacy & Network Liability Coverage also extends to electronic data and paper records.

This coverage has two parts: a per-occurrence limit for privacy and network security liability, and the data breach fund. The data breach fund covers expenses relating to the notification of affected parties, credit monitoring, and forensic investigation that may be needed to determine the extent of the breach. If your entity is sued for negligence due to a security breach, then the Privacy & Network Security Liability limit is available.

We don’t just reimburse your expenses, we pay on your behalf. This is an important distinction from other policies that may leave you holding the bag when it comes to covering the costs associated with notifying affected parties.

To learn more about Public Entity Partners’s Privacy & Network Liability Coverage, contact our Underwriting Department at 800.624.9698.

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Steam Boiler Inspections

Under state law, most boilers are required to be thoroughly inspected and certified on an annual basis. Public Entity Partners has an agreement with Hartford Steam Boiler to do those inspections free of charge for members who have property coverage with Public Entity Partners. Members who have an inspection completed will still need to pay the certificate fee charged by the State of Tennessee; however, the inspection fees are waived with your membership and coverage through Public Entity Partners.

Boiler inspectors with Hartford Steam Boiler receive notification directly from the State of Tennessee regarding inspection certificates set to expire, and will automatically come to your facility to inspect your boilers. If you have questions about the free boiler inspections offered through Hartford Steam Boiler, please contact your Member Services Representative or Underwriter.




Wayne Anderson

Callie Westerfield

Celeste Taylor

Jodeen Bauman

Anthony Roman

Pam Lennon

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Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicles

Source: Ford Motor Company

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 8, 2017 – Ford Motor Company engineering teams continue working with law enforcement agencies in their communities to address carbon monoxide concerns in some Ford Police Interceptor Utilities.

Ford has worked side-by-side with more than a dozen police agencies nationwide to inspect and repair more than 50 vehicles in cities and towns, such as Auburn, Massachusetts, and Galveston, Texas.

While there have been reports of exhaust odors in some non-police Explorers, those instances are unrelated to reports of carbon monoxide described by some police departments. If a vehicle has such an odor, customers should bring it to a Ford dealer to address that issue.

Ford’s investigation into this matter continues. However, while inspecting police vehicles throughout the country, company engineers consistently have found similar types of holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford’s factory.

When a police or fire department routinely installs customized emergency lighting, radios and other equipment, they have to drill wiring access holes into the rear of the vehicle. If the holes are not properly sealed, it creates openings where exhaust could enter the cabin.

To address this, Ford will cover the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Utility that may have this concern, regardless of age, mileage or aftermarket modifications made after purchase.

As part of this action, Ford will:

  1. Check and seal off the rear of the vehicle where exhaust can enter;
  2. Provide a new air conditioning calibration that brings in more fresh air during heavy acceleration typical of police driving; and
  3. Check for engine codes that could indicate a damaged exhaust manifold.

Ford will continue investigating all reports from its police customers, including the exhaust manifold issue referenced by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If a customer believes exhaust gases are coming inside his or her vehicle, they should bring it to a Ford dealer, who is equipped to assess the vehicle and address the issue. Customers also can call a dedicated hotline at 888-260-5575.

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The Local Government Liability Balancing Act

Municipalities within the State of Tennessee provide vital services to their citizens. City employees are faced with tough decisions every day about what services to provide, how to provide those services, and how to best manage taxpayer dollars.

Liability exposures arise from these day-to-day operations. It is the balancing act between managing taxpayer dollars and protecting citizens’ rights (to recovery for injuries or damages caused by negligence of a governmental entity) that is embodied by the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act (TGTLA).

Generally speaking, a Tort is a civil wrong causing injury or damage to persons or property. Prior to the passage of TGTLA in 1973, local governments were totally immune from liability for torts done in their governmental capacity, but they could be liable for torts done in a proprietary capacity. The State Supreme Court indicated it would abolish this “sovereign immunity” for governmental acts if the legislature did not act. As a result, the TGTLA was passed.

The concept of sovereign immunity comes from the English Common Law that the “king can do no wrong” and the idea that you cannot bring into court the creator of the court. Prior to TGTLA, police, fire and general administration were the types of governmental functions that enjoyed total immunity from tort liability. However, proprietary functions, such as water and sewer services, electrical services and mass transit, had total liability for their actions.

The Tort Act was passed in an attempt to balance the needs of individuals seeking recovery for injury or damage negligently caused by a governmental entity with the necessity of offering financial protection for governmental entities so they can continue to provide public services for their citizens.

Tort Liabilities are the responsibilities for wrongful actions or inactions, as imposed by law. The Tort Act left the sovereign immunity intact and then created statutory exceptions to this immunity, based on the governmental entity’s negligence.

Negligence is the failure to use the same degree of care that a prudent person would ordinarily use under the same or similar circumstances.

Negligence must be proven based on the following four elements:

  1. You had a duty to act.
  2. You breached that duty.
  3. Your breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injury.
  4. An actual injury or damage did occur, resulting in financial loss.

Governmental entities receive sovereign immunity for tort liabilities, except in a few cases. Sections 202-205 of TCA 29-20 removed immunity for the negligent operation of motor vehicles or other equipment; injury from the defective, unsafe or dangerous condition of any street, alley, sidewalk or highway; injury from dangerous structures; and injury caused by negligent acts or omissions of employees. Unless a tort falls within these categories, there is no financial responsibility for the city or governmental entity. In addition, the governmental entity must have actual or constructive notice for liability to attach itself.

Actual notice is defined as notice expressly and actually given. Constructive notice is information or knowledge of a fact. Simply put — you knew or you should have known.

There are eight exceptions to the removal of immunity for negligent acts or omissions of employees.

Immunity is maintained if the injury:

  • Arises from the exercise of a discretionary function.
  • Arises out of false imprisonment pursuant to a mittimus from a court, false arrest, malicious prosecution, intentional trespass, abuse of process, libel, slander, deceit, interference with contract rights, infliction of mental anguish, invasion of privacy, or civil rights.
  • Arises out of the issuance, denial, suspension or revocation of, or by the failure or refusal to, issue, deny, suspend or revoke, any license, permit, certificate or other authorization.
  • Arises out of failure to make an inspection, or the making of an inadequate or negligent inspection.
  • Arises out of the institution or prosecution of any judicial or administrative proceedings.
  • Arises out of misrepresentation by an employee.
  • Arises out of, or results from, riots, unlawful assemblies, public demonstrations, mob violence and civil disturbances.
  • Arises out of, or in connection with, the assessment, levy or collection of taxes.

A 1987 amendment to the TGTLA provided that a municipal employee acting within the scope of his/her employment has the same immunity from liability as the governmental entity, and that if the employee is found liable, the employee’s liability is limited to the same amounts established for the government itself.

Perhaps the greatest financial protection for both local governments and taxpayers is the monetary limits of liability set by TCA Section 29-20-403(b) (2) A. These limits apply to any claim occurring within the State of Tennessee and other claims to which Tennessee law is applicable.

As of July 1, 2007, these limits are as follows:

  • $300,000 — Bodily Injury or Death of any one person, in any one accident, occurrence or act.
  • $700,000 — Bodily Injury or Death of all persons, in any one accident, occurrence or act.
  • $100,000 — Property Damage, for injury to or destruction of property of others, in any one accident, occurrence or act.

Non-State and Non-Tort Liabilities

Not all the exposures of governmental entities fall under the protection of the TGTLA. Claims arising outside the State of Tennessee are not subject to the Tort Act. This is due to the fact that Tennessee state law does not have jurisdiction across state lines. The key point to remember is claims that arise outside the State of Tennessee and federal actions have NO monetary tort limits. This means your exposure for these out-of-state and/or federal cases is much larger than claims that fall under TGTLA. In addition, many other states have their own version of the Tort Act, with different monetary limits.

Why Does This Matter to You?

The Governmental Tort Liability Act governs the majority of civil suits that affect you. Local governments work every day to serve their citizens and constituents with limited resources. Having a basic understanding of what makes your entity negligent, and what your entity can be sued for, helps policymakers, administrators and staff members as they carry out their duties.

Do you have questions about why the Governmental Tort Liability Act was created or how it impacts you? Our member services team can provide more information or discuss it with you.




Wayne Anderson

Callie Westerfield

Celeste Taylor

This information is a summary of the Governmental Tort Liability Act and is not to be construed as the actual wording of the law nor an interpretation of the law itself.

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Tennessee Trivia

Q: From what Cherokee town does the state of Tennessee get its name?

A. Tanasi