Cleveland Insures Against Protesters
The City of Cleveland will pay $9.5 million to purchase $50 million of protest insurance coverage ahead of the four-day Republican National Convention that begins July 18.
The city quintupled its original proposed coverage amount, which would have had the city pay $1.5 million for a $10 million policy.
“The $1.5 million for $10 million coverage was always just a placeholder,” City spokesman Dan Williams told Risk & Insurance®. “We felt it was the best level of coverage for what we needed.”
Protest insurance coverage is required for any event that has been deemed by the U.S. Secret Service as a “National Special Security Event.”
The protest policy is liability insurance that includes incident insurance to cover potential lawsuits, private property insurance to cover any damage to property, and vehicles and equipment insurance to cover others coming to the convention with their own vehicles and equipment, Williams wrote.
The policy is required for any event that has been deemed by the U.S. Secret Service as a “National Special Security Event,” which also includes the Democratic National Convention, visits by the Catholic pope and G8 summits, among other events.
The city’s Board of Control increased the insurance coverage on the recommendation of its broker, Aon Risk Services Northeast, which polled 40 insurance providers, according to Sharon Dumas, the city’s finance director.
“They analyzed the national trend of conflicts and the risks associated with the convention, and we concurred,” Dumas said to Cleveland.com.
The Secret Service, FBI, Cleveland and Ohio State Police, the National Guard, and thousands of police officers from around the country will work together over the course of the week to ensure peaceful demonstrations — both for and against Trump, according to reports.
The groups scheduled to travel to Cleveland for the convention include anti-Trump demonstrators, a white nationalist group and the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.
Preparing for potentially violent demonstrations, the city’s police department has partnered with law enforcement agencies throughout the country “to ensure that we have an adequate number of law enforcement officers to staff the needs of the convention,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams wrote on the department’s website as well as its Facebook page. \
However, after shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge led to the deaths of eight officers, some law enforcement agencies have rescinded offers to send officers to help at the convention.
But Williams remains confident. “Our officers have trained with many partnering agencies at the local, state and federal level to ensure that the highest safety standards are maintained,” he wrote.
“Throughout the course of planning for the RNC, our officers have undergone hours of training relative to many subjects. Although not all training can be discussed or demonstrated as law enforcement tactics are sensitive, the training has been both comprehensive and valuable.”
However, he did say the department purchased 300 bicycles outfitted specifically for “law enforcement purposes,” to be used by police officers who became certified riders after training through the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association.
Williams ended his letter on an optimistic note: “This is an exciting time for our great city. This is an historic event and we are not likely to see anything like this within the footprint of Cleveland again soon. I am looking forward to a safe event and I thank you for your support.”