UCONN Law School Hosts Workshop on Insurance and Policing

HARTFORD, CT: On April 8th, the Insurance Law Center and the Center on Community Safety, Policing, and Insurance held a closed-door symposium on Insurance and Policing at the University of Connecticut School of Law. The workshop welcomed legal academics, insurance practitioners, representatives of risk pools, and law enforcement officials for an open discussion on the influence of liability insurance on law enforcement policy.

“Most people don’t think about insurance as a way of effecting police reform. But there’s a growing body of research suggesting that insurance companies and risk pools might be one of the few mechanisms to make progress in policing right now,” Travis Pantin, Director of the Insurance Law Center, said.

The workshop was inspired by the work of Professor John Rappaport of the University of Chicago Law School, whose scholarship has suggested that insurance oversight and underwriting practices might be able to regulate police misconduct. Deborah Ramirez of Northeastern University Law School also attended the workshop, and shared her scholarship focusing on the possibility that individual liability for police officers—similar to the malpractice insurance that individual doctors must purchase—could help to regulate policing.

Ann Gergen, associate director of the Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP), attended the workshop and said, “This is an issue that risk pools around the country are very focused on right now. It was very insightful to spend an entire day with a roomful of smart people exploring such a complicated and important topic.”

Kiel Brennan-Marquez, director of CCSPI, noted how “gratifying it was to see our Centers’ overlapping efforts toward reform unfold in real-time. This was the beginning of a big-picture conversation about the role insurance can play in police reform, and we look forward to its continuation over the years.”

Participants spent the day on UCONN’s Hartford campus examining specific insurance mechanisms that influence police behavior, models of assessing liability and coverage for law enforcement, and strategies that would allow for more information-sharing among researchers, police departments, and insurers.

“The public is safest when they trust the police and institutions that support our criminal justice system, and the insurance industry can play an important role in building trust in our institutions,” said Ken Barone, Associate Director of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy. “I am confident that UConn Law School will continue to convene challenging conversations that lead to thoughtful reforms and policy solutions.”

“I congratulate Professors Brennan-Marquez and Pantin for organizing such an important and thought-provoking workshop,” Dean Eboni S. Nelson said. “The success of the workshop highlights the importance of engaging with stakeholders from different fields to identify sustainable solutions to advance police reform.”

“Questions like, ‘What do communities expect from our law enforcement professionals today?’ and ‘What role can and should the insurance/reinsurance community play in addressing such issues?’ come with no easy answers. But taking the opportunity to wrestle with those questions is an important step,” said Kevin Williams, Senior Vice President at Genesis Insurance. “I’m glad I was able to participate.”

This was the first in-person event co-hosted by the CCSPI and the ILC.

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