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Assembly apprised of liability coverage, gaps for harbor use


Sue Erickson of Petersburg-Wrangell Insurance gave an overview of the Borough’s liability insurance coverage at Thursday’s regular Assembly meeting.

The Borough’s insurance has been provided by Alaska Public Entities Insurance for over a decade. There’s a $240,000 premium for its liability coverage, 11 percent of which goes to cover workers’ compensation. The premium has only increased $11,000 in the past six years, which Erickson characterized as “fantastic” and attributed to both claims handling and safety efforts by the Borough.

Erickson compared the Borough’s policy to Swiss cheese, saying it covers a lot but leaves some holes or gaps in coverage. Some examples include landslide and earthquake coverage for buildings, coverage for pollution and for the harbor.

This year a Marine Operators Legal Liability policy was purchased at a cost of $6,700, for $1 million worth of coverage, to address some of those holes. While the Borough doesn’t stall, launch or repair vessels in their harbors, some actions at the harbor may create liability.

“From time to time, in an effort to be a Good Samaritan, we do things that we don’t want to be liable for later on,” Erickson explained, giving as an example helping someone tie up their boat.

Giesbrecht asked if the Borough has any liability for independent contractors who do work on vessels moored in the harbor.

“Yes. There’s your bottom line,” Erickson said, “because we own an insurance policy. If nobody else owns insurance and somebody’s injured, trust me they’re going to want somebody to pay.”

Though Petersburg hasn’t yet faced a major issue with paying out for such claims, other municipalities have experienced these issued in their harbors and have since required contractors to list the municipality on their policies and to show proof of insurance before doing work at a municipal facility.

Insurance claims filed in the past couple years have included workers’ compensation claims, auto accidents and the recent boiler repair at the aquatic



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