Police Insurance Mandate Bill Withdrawn

Legislation (HB 856) that would have required law enforcement officers to obtain individual liability insurance that included coverage of tortious and malicious acts was withdrawn on February 23 shortly before the House Judiciary Committee was set to hear the bill. The bill allowed an employer, including a county, to reimburse the officer for the base cost of the insurance, but not for any premium increases caused by the actions of the officer.

MACo had submitted written testimony and was prepared to testify in opposition to the bill. From the MACo testimony,

MACo shares the concerns of the Treasurer’s Office and the Maryland Insurance Administration that there is no commercially available individual policy in the country that meets the bill’s requirements. If such a policy did provide coverage for both tortious and malicious acts, the premiums for such insurance would be extraordinarily high.

The Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) states in the bill’s fiscal note that insurance coverage is generally cheaper where there are multiple individuals under a single policy, due to a larger risk pool. Because HB 856 requires each law enforcement officer to acquire individual insurance, LGIT estimates the bill would result in a net increase in total premiums paid.

The bill would also severely restrict future recruitment of law enforcement officers in the state, as officers will seek employment in other states where individual liability insurance is not required.

For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.