Coverage Bulletins

The MEL through its affiliated JIFs provides comprehensive coverage, including property, automobile, general liability, workers compensation, public officials liability and employment practices liability. Coverage terms are outlined in the “Coverage Manual” that is distributed to each member annually.

Coverage questions may be addressed to local risk managers or to the Underwriting Manager.

Certificates of Insurance, Automobile Insurance ID cards and Workers Compensation Posting Notices can be requested from MELUnderwritingSvcCntr@connerstrong.com or faxing a request to 732-736-5274.

Coverage bulletins addressing frequently asked questions are periodically issued by the MEL. Click below for downloadable versions of these bulletins.

Dams

The MEL provides certain Property (1st party) and Liability (3rd party) coverages for Dams.

You’ll find the Property coverage for dams named “Bridges and Dams PD & TE Combined,” subject to a $10,000,000 sublimit. Coverage is provided for Dams attached to a scheduled location; however, the perils of Earthquake, Flood (including Storm Surge) and Named Storm are excluded.

As respects Liability coverage, there are varying sublimits depending on hazard classification of the dam, which is defined by NJAC 7:20-1.8:

Class 1 – High Hazard: Dams where the failure of such may cause the probable loss of life or extensive property damage. Usually in more populated suburban and urban areas.
Class 2 – Significant Hazard: Dams where the failure of such may cause significant damage to property and project operation, but loss of human life is not envisioned. Usually in more rural or agricultural areas.
Class 3 – Low Hazard: Dams where the failure of such would cause loss of the dam itself, but little or no additional damage to other property.
Class 4 – Small Dams: Dams which impound less than 15 acres/feet of water to the top of the dam, has less than 15 feet height-of-dam and which has a drainage area above the dam of 150 acres or less.

Liability coverage extends to third party bodily injury or property damage arising out of the failure of a dam for which the Member is responsible, including downstream coverage, up to:

  • Class III or Class IV: $5,000,000;
  • Class I or Class II: $2,000,000; or
  • Class III or Class IV with a Class I or Class II: $2,000,000.

Fire Trucks

Fire Trucks receive Automobile Physical Damage coverage, just like any other public road-type vehicle, subject to a sublimit of $15,000,000, titled “Vehicles”.  The coverage provide physical damage coverage only, no time element.  Further, Fire Trucks receive one of four valuations:

Antique Fire Trucks
a. Scheduled: Lesser of Replacement Cost or Scheduled Value
b. Not Scheduled: Lesser of Actual Cash Value, repair or replace

Fire Trucks 10 Years Old or Less: Replacement Cost

Fire Trucks Over 10 Years Old: Lesser of Replacement Cost or Scheduled Value, but no less than Actual Cash Value.

Notaries

You may know from the standard insurance marketplace, Notaries need Professional Liability or Errors & Omissions insurance for their practice.  The membership typically have notaries on staff performing notary duties for the members.  In the MEL program, the professional liability/E&O coverage for notaries is included in the Public Officials Liability coverage.  Please note, the notary must still meet the definition of “Insured” in order to receive coverage, meaning they are employed by and performing duties at the direction of the member entity.

Liquor Liability

While liquor liability is excluded from most General Liability policies, a carveback of coverage is sometimes provided for the giving, selling and serving of alcohol as long as it is not the Insureds primary business operation.  The MEL provides that broad carveback to its members, extending liquor liability coverage for functions usual or common to the member entity; however, any for-profit catering operations of the member entity are excluded, such as owned by certain police or fire units.

CERT – Community Emergency Response Teams

While CERT teams enjoy many immunities for their emergency response operations, the question of Workers’ Compensation always comes up.  The MEL extends Workers’ Compensation coverage to CERT teams if the following requirements are met:

  • Established by resolution or ordinance of the Governing Body;
  • Members have completed any required certification course;
  • Members are actively rostered;
  • Roster is approved by resolution of the governing body; and
  • Injury occurred while acting in the scope of member’s duties with the team and at the direction of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Shared Services 

Please remember Shared Services are still services being provided from one entity to another, and can create additional liability. As such, appropriate insurance and indemnification should be requested, including
Errors & Omissions Liability/Professional Liability coverage for Financial Injury caused to the receiving party.

Online Vehicle Registration with NJMVC

When asked for the 3-digit insurer code, use “000”, which is the code for self-insureds. This is the appropriate code for JIFs.

NOTE:  If you have any questions, please contact your Risk Management Consultant, JIF Executive Director or the Underwriting Manager.

These descriptions are a general discussion of the coverage and limits provided by the FUND. However, the actual terms and conditions are defined in the policy document and all issues shall be decided based on the policy document.

 

Environmental

The MEL offers a broad range of resources related to environmental issues. The New Jersey Environmental Risk Management Fund, also known as the E-JIF, provides their member public entities and utility authorities with environmental coverages.

Any environmental incident should be immediately reported to the Environmental Engineer at (800) 289-6681 and an environmental engineer will be dispatched 24/7 to assist you. Examples of when to call are as follows:

  • Any incident involving releases, leaks, spills, or other problems involving the storage of hazardous materials in an underground or above ground storage tank.
  • Any spill or release of hazardous materials or petroleum products to the soil that significantly threatens soil contamination.
  • Any discovery or suspicion of a release of hazardous contamination to the groundwater.
  • The discovery of known or unknown hazardous material that requires the classification or identification of suspect chemical.

This coverage is provided the Environmental Joint Insurance Fund (EJIF) not your local JIF. The following JIFs are members of the EJIF: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Monmouth, Morris, NJUA, Professional Municipal Management, Ocean, Central, South Bergen , Suburban Essex , Suburban Municipal and Trico.

  • Wrongful acts of public officials which result from an environmental impairment.
  • Remediation costs to property under your care, custody and control resulting from negligent acts of a third party.
  • DeMinimis abandoned toxic waste site liability.
  • Comprehensive legal defense in covered claims.
  • Third party liability and corrective action plan coverage for scheduled storage tanks.
  • Third party liability losses caused by an environmental impairment from such locations as scheduled recycling centers and foreclosed properties.

In addition, the EJIF contracts with PS&S Engineering and First Environment to provide environmental risk management services to the members.

Richard Erickson
First Environment
91 Fulton Street
Boonton, NJ 07005
(973) 334-0003 Office
(908) 303-3218 Mobile
(908)703-1437 Pager
rerickson@firstenvironment.com

Land Use Liability

There has been a significant increase in suits against Planning and Zoning Boards alleging that their actions violate the civil rights.  Currently, the maximum coverage commonly available from commercial insurers for land use liability is $1 million because insurers are concerned that legitimate applications have been rejected because of vocal resident opposition.

Therefore, it is critical that all planners and zoners receive training to prevent land use liability claims.  The materials needed to conduct the training include a script for a one-hour program that can be presented by your land use or municipal attorney and PowerPoint slides.  There is also an informational Land Use Liability Webinar for local officials.  In addition, the Funds will conduct regional training.  There is no online program available for credit at this time because the MEL wishes to encourage an interactive dialogue.

To encourage board members to take this training, the MEL has just created a special policy to protect them from many personal exposures that are excluded in commercial policies.  There is no additional premium for this special policy.  To qualify for this coverage, your land use or municipal attorney must file the attendance form with the MEL office.  Planners and zoners can also attend the course in other area communities.  After the first of the year, courses will be scheduled in the area for newly appointed members.

Fortunately, personal lawsuits against land use board members are rare.  Under the new policy, when a board member is sued personally for their official actions and is not otherwise indemnified, the MEL will reimburse up to $50,000 (annual aggregate) for defense subject to the terms of the policy.  This coverage will also contribute towards a defense in criminal court, but only if the public official is subsequently acquitted.

There is no deadline to complete this training except that the training must be completed before the date of any acts that give rise to a claim.  In the future, the MEL will provide refresher training that must be completed to retain the coverage.

As you know, for the past 15 years the MEL has conducted a successful risk management training program that is attended by 1,500 local elected local officials each year.  This new program for planners and zoners is an expansion of this concept.

For more information, or if you need a copy of your policy, please contact your local JIF Executive Director or the MEL office.

Liability Including Auto & Police

Certificates of Insurance, Automobile Insurance ID cards and Workers Compensation Posting Notices can be requested from the MEL Underwriting Service Center team.  To view current information see Insurance Coverage Bulletins.

 

Universal Liability Claim Form – Complete this form and email or FAX it to the claims administrator retained by your JIF.

Special Requirements

  • Contact your designated claims administrator and local risk management consultant immediately.
  • Do not admit to being responsible for the loss.
  • Do not agree to pay anything.
  • Any notice of intent to file a claim or summons and complaint must be forwarded within 24 hours to your designated claims administrator and your local risk management consultant. Also, advise the claimant that a tort claim notice must be completed by any individual seeking to assert a claim.

Click here for a sample downloadable resolution, transmittal letters and notice of claim form

Online Exposure Database

Risk ManagementThe MEL contracts with Origami Risk Management to provide our members with 24/7 access to their underwriting schedules.

Click here to access the Online Exposure Database system.

Click here to view the Introductory Video – specific to the MEL.

Click here if you want to view any of Origami’s multiple videos on its program. These videos are not specific to the MEL’s program.

Property

Your Fund may pay property damage liability to your vehicles subject to a deductible. You should report these losses to your Fund’s claims administrator.

Automobile Loss Notice – Complete this form and then email, FAX, or mail.

Helpful Hints

  • Please note on the reporting form what kind of physical damage is involved, i.e. collision, fire, theft, etc.
  • Be sure to identify a contact person with the authority to make decisions and who knows where the vehicle can be seen.
  • Immediately forward a copy of this loss to your claims administrator and risk management consultant.
  • It is inappropriate to admit responsibility for a loss to an outside injured or damaged party. Responsibility will be determined and assigned by Fund Professionals upon completion of investigations and legal analysis.

The purpose of this information is to highlight the major coverages, limits, sub-limits, and extensions as afforded through MEL Affiliated Joint Insurance Funds. Information presented here is not a policy of insurance and in no way modifies, restricts, expands or in any way changes the coverages afforded through your Fund. For actual coverage determination, reference must be made to applicable coverage documents.

Universal Property Loss Claim Form – Complete this form and email or FAX it to the claim administrator retained by your JIF. This form is only to be used for claiming damage to your own property.

Types of property losses to be reported on this form

  • Damage to your building or its contents
  • Damage to equipment you own or lease and are required to cover
  • Damage to any auto you own or lease
  • Damage to valuable papers
  • An interruption of services on revenue producing property
  • Damage to fine arts owned and non-owned
  • Damage to a building owned by you and under construction
  • Damage to watercraft
  • Damage to backhoes and off road equipment
  • Burglary, robbery, theft of funds and fidelity losses

Depending on the circumstances, the JIF also covers damage to objects such as air conditioning systems, boilers, electrical lines and connections, or machinery such as deep well pumps, transformers, and production equipment caused by an accident that results in mechanical breakdown, electrical damage or steam explosion.

Report these losses to your JIF’s claims administrator on the Universal Property Claim Form. Significant claims should be immediately reported by telephone.

The Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund recently issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), on behalf of its member local government agencies (members) seeking to qualify Service Providers that provide emergency cleanup and restoration services for use on an as needed basis. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6, contracting units may, under emergency circumstances, award contracts for services without publicly advertising for bids when there is an emergency affecting the public health, safety or welfare.

It is the intent of Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund, and its local affiliated JIFs, to exceed the minimum statutory procurement requirements for hiring contractors by qualifying emergency restoration service vendors by county within the state so that MEL members may select from this list of vendors in the event emergency restoration services are needed. Vendors will be selected for pre-qualification through a fair and open process pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq. The process is consistent with the relevant best practices recommended by Office of the State Comptroller.

While this procedure allows for simplified contracting in an emergency, MEL members are under no obligation to select a vendor from this list and may determine to use other allowable contracting procedures as they determine as necessary.

Commissioners from the Morris County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund put together a paper that organizes and outlines the various steps and procedures local government entities must follow when responding to emergency insurable property losses.

Click HERE to find the links to Dealing with Emergencies and Insurance. The Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund reserves the right to consider proposals received after the deadline and expects to periodically amend its list of qualified vendors by action of the Board of Fund Commissioners.

For a summary listing of the vendors and their contact information, CLICK HERE.  Responses from vendors are in alphabetical order below:

  •  

 

 

 

 

Public Officials & Employment Practices

This coverage is provided by QBE Specialty Insurance Company, not your local JIF.  Specifically:

  • Public Officials | Claims arising out of an alleged wrongful act of a public official.  Many of these claims arise out of issues involving planning and zoning boards, ordinances, and violation of civil rights.
  • Employment Practices |  Claims arising out of an alleged wrongful act in connection with dismissal, work place harassment, failure to promote, etc.

Special Considerations

  • Immediately phone your JIF’s designated liability claims representative who will pass the claim onto the QBE claims administrator as appropriate.
  • POL/EPL claims are subject to deductible and copayments.  The policy also excludes coverage for such items as punitive damages, intentional violations of law, as well as claims for lost wages and benefits.  Consult your coverage document.
  • QBE will assign only attorneys from its approved list to defend covered claims.  You are free to retain at your own expense another attorney to defend the uncovered portion of a claim.
  • Because these claims are often sensitive, please feel free to contact the JIF Executive Director or the JIF Fund Attorney to discuss special concerns.

Click here to view/download the Community Risk Management booklet which provides a toolbox for public officials to organize a successful safety program.

Contents include:

Employee Risk Management
– Employee Safety
– Employee Harassment

Community Risk Management
– Public Hazards
– Pedestrian Safety
– Playgrounds
– Sports
-Child Molestation

Property Risk Management
– Property Protection
– Cyber

Other Issues
– Coverage
– Crisis Management

Background Checks
The MEL Board authorized the release of a Request for Qualifications to qualify vendors able to provide Background Checks. The MEL’s “Protection & Safe Treatment of Minors and FAQ” model policy calls for increased background checks and members were looking for assistance in identifying vendors. We have received submissions from 5 vendors listed above and the results can be viewed here:

List of Responders:

1. CastleBranch, Wilmington, NC – Response Document

2. Adam Safeguard & Inquiry Systems Inc., Toms River, NJ – Response Document

3. Southern Background Services, LLC – Hazlehurst, GA – Response Document

4. Tabb Inc., Chester, NJ – Response Document 1, Response Document 2

5. TruView BSI, LLC, Hicksville, NY – Response Document

Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund
9 Campus Drive, Suite 216,
Parsippany, NJ 07054

Phone: 201.881.7632
Fax: 201.881.7633
mel@permainc.com

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