Why do Prisons need Insurance & what kind?
The COVID-19 pandemic created a difficult situation for prisons in the United States. With limited resources, jails and prisons all over the country struggled to keep up with outbreaks of cases among inmates. These situations have led to a concern for wardens on what insurance policies prisons need to have in place to avoid future damage.
An example of this scenario took place in Hawaii where a group of prisoners brought up a lawsuit claiming they were denied use of the bathroom during an outbreak and that health conditions were deficient. According to Insurance Journal, the goal of the lawsuit was to ensure that the state-funded prison has followed its own Pandemic Response Plan.
This case uncovers a debate about prisons’ need for insurance and how to handle the facilities in these situations. Like any commercial or public business, jails and prisons face risks and have the need for a specialized insurance package to ensure safety.
Why do Prisons need Insurance?
Dangers range from fights, theft, unconventional cooking methods, diseases, property damage, and employee injuries to mention some of them. To cover the potential of harmful situations occurring, prisons need very specific insurance policies.
There is not a single policy to cover jails for all the risks the institution may face. Instead, they need a combination of them to cover all the potential risk situations. Several factors go into how much and what type of coverage each facility needs. For example, the number of inmates, security level of the prison, location, and how the structure was built all factor into a prison’s insurance coverage.
To summarize, here you have the top four policies that are indispensable for any jail or prison:
- Inmate Medical Coverage: Jails handle the health and well-being of their inmates, so this insurance helps ensure that. For example, if a prisoner suffers an injury or illness that the facility could be liable for, this coverage will support expenses. In other words, if there are legal costs associated with the case, the prison needs to have medical liability insurance in place as well.
- Commercial Property Insurance: In the case of natural disaster or other uncontrollable acts in which a building or the supplies within it are damaged, this coverage will help pay for the cost of repairs. This is especially important for prisons because if a fence or wall is broken, it needs to be fixed at once and this policy will help fund that.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Jails have employees who must be paid. Because of the dangers associated with working with prisoners, injury is not uncommon. In these situations, the institution needs to have this coverage to pay employee medical bills and time missed from work while recovering.
- General Liability Coverage: This insurance is most important when mitigating the cost of visitor claims. Many third parties enter the premises of prisons. Family members visiting inmates and contractors working on the property all risk injury while on-site, so this policy is necessary to cover their risks.
Finally, every campus needs to do a risk assessment and decide what types of special policies it may need to put in place to fill gaps in coverage.
How can Prisons Track Coverage?
In conclusion, prisons need to have a way to track their insurance coverage to assure risks are mitigated.
To avoid the problem of lost certificates and expired documents, it is a recommended best practice to implement a certificate of insurance (COI) tracking software into the risk management program. To learn more about how SmartCompliance can help assure protection for your prison, schedule a free product demo.