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Tort liability costs are a growing issue facing public entities in California which can threaten both the long-term financial stability of an agency as well as the ability to secure essential coverages at a reasonable price. The cost of claims, driven by unexpectedly high jury verdicts, social inflation, settlements and defense costs has created a hard liability insurance market and are placing severe financial pressures on California public entities.

The leadership of the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities (CAJPA) recognized our members concerns about these emerging trends and started looking for a solution. After two years of thoughtful dialogue and research, CAJPA has commissioned a California statewide public sector “Tort Liability Data Analysis Project”. “CAJPA’s leadership voted to move forward with this comprehensive data analysis project as a way to assist our members understand and respond to these challenges,” said CAJPA President Dr. Karla Rhay. The project, funded by the generous financial support of CAJPA members, will entail the mass collection, aggregation and analysis of general liability claims data from all types of claims across all types of public entities.

After an RFP process was conducted, Aon was selected to undertake this important project and has started their initial steps including reaching out to potential participants. Julie Theirl from Aon will serve as the Project Manager and will be supported by others from Aon including Craig Bowlus and Mujtaba Datoo. In addition, Aon is partnering with Mark Priven, Mike Harrington and Nina Gau from Bickmore Actuarial who will assist with the actuarial portion of the project. The goal is to have the results of the project available by the end of 2020. An Advisory Committee has been identified to guide the project through to its conclusion:

  • Andy Sells, Committee Chair – ACWA JPIA
  • Steve Birgel - ASCIP
  • Martin Brady - SIA
  • Tony Giles – CJPRMA
  • Laura Gil – SDRMA
  • Chrissy Mack - CalTIP
  • Mike Pott – CSAC-EIA
  • Craig Schweikhard - SMCSIG
  • Erike Young – PARSAC

Over the coming weeks, Julie Theirl from Aon will be sending out invitations to participate in the project to many of you (not everyone) which will require that you provide claims data as well as other information needed to complete the project. A data call will be provided with the invitation which will outline the types of data required. If you are contacted and seek additional information on the project, please don’t hesitate to contact CAJPA Board Members or Executive Director Catherine Smith at or (916) 231-2139. This project will only be successful with the full commitment of the California public sector community.