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Friday, September 20, 2013

Why Do Joint Powers Organizations Need Insurance?

Imagine finding out late on Friday afternoon that your officers working on the multi-agency drug task force do not have liability insurance. That would make for a long weekend, right? Well, that is exactly what happened.

The cities and a county were involved in a multi-agency task force created by a joint powers agreement (JPA). The JPA created a separate “joint powers entity.” While each party had insurance for its normal operations, they presumed that their insurance coverage also applied to officers assigned to the task force.

The city’s League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) workers’ compensation insurance usually covers the officers if they are injured while working for the JPA. However, the cities’ liability insurance specifically excludes damages arising out of a “joint powers entity.” This exclusion is not unique to LMCIT. Almost all commercial insurance policies contain similar exclusions.

There are a variety of reasons for this. One of the most important is that the liability for a joint powers entity is consolidated with the entity pursuant to one insurance policy. Plaintiffs frequently name all member cities of the JPA in their lawsuit. Consolidating coverage under the JPA avoids the expenses and inefficiencies of defending each city individually, and it prevents “finger pointing” when cities are being pitted against each other.

LMCIT has two helpful memos on our website that explain the details, provides a definition of what constitutes a “joint powers entity,” and outlines the differences between a mutual aid agreement, a contract for service, and a JPA. Links to those memos are listed below.

Liability Coverage for Joint Powers Agreements

Ten Things to Watch Out For When Entering Into Joint Powers Agreements

I also encourage you to contact LMCIT Risk Management Attorney Chris Smith with your JPA questions, or for contract review. Chris has both a wealth of information and the ability to explain the legal aspects of these agreements in manner that even I can understand. There is no fee for this service for LMCIT members. Chris can be reached at (651) 281-1269 or

                                              Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…ALIVE Training for Firefighters: It’s Online, It’s Amazing, and It’s Free

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Few Updates

Randy Means
Randy Means

The upcoming workshops with Randy Means are filling quickly. The sessions in Shakopee have filled. The sessions in White Bear Lake and Fergus Falls have a few spaces open. 

This is a chance to hear one of the leading law enforcement national speakers. The course is being underwritten so we can offer the workshop for only $15 per day, which includes a working lunch.
This is the type of training that an officer will remember their entire career.

For more information on the training in Fergus Falls go to:

For more information on the training in White Bear Lake go to:

Great Online Resource

The California POST Board website continues to offer valuable resources on their safe driving webpage. Here is the link to their “Relevant Articles and Studies” page.

Minnesota Chiefs of Police 4th District Meeting

I thank the 4th district police chiefs—and specifically Detroit Lakes Police Chief Tim Eggebraaten—for the opportunity to attend their recent meeting. I presented a snapshot of the current police loss control issues, and we had a good dialogue. As is typical of these types of meetings, the “around-the-table” discussions revealed many common issues and trends. I was also struck by the high level of professionalism and the true concern for improving how the officers can serve their communities. I thank Chief Eggebraaten for the invitation.


Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…Why “Joint Powers” Organizations and Task Forces Need Insurance

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.