CLARIFICATION: Public Entity Claims Growth Due to Jump in Members

December 5, 2008

The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI), a nonprofit research institute, wishes to correct a conclusion about its public entity claims database, the PERI Data Exchange, published by Insurance Journal recently.

The organization’s news release, headlined “PERI Data Exchange Reports Significant Growth in 2008,” referred to significant growth in the number of claims in the PERI Data Exchange. In 2008, the total claim count in the PERI Data Exchange database reached unprecedented levels with the number of workers compensation claims increasing 342 percent and liability claims 322 percent over the same period in 2007.

Although the number of claims in the PERI Data Exchange grew in 2008, PERI maintains that this “does not necessarily mean that the occurrence of claims against public entities in the nation has increased” as Insurance Journal wrote, “because the number of public entities submitting claims to the Data Exchange also increased significantly in 2008.”

PERI said that the number of public entities submitting claims to the Data Exchange increased more than 50 percent for workers compensation and more than 68 percent for liability.

Insurance Journal reported that the numbers showed that liability and workers compensation claims against the public sector are multiplying at an unprecedented pace. But PERI disagrees that its numbers prove that conclusion.

Instead, PERI believes that the 300 percent and more increase in claims in its database is explained by the 50-68 percent increase in members participating in the database and does not indicate any increase in claims against public entities across the country.

Also, according to Pamela Marino, PERI marketing manager, not all public entities submit the same data or for the same periods.

According to PERI, participants in the Data Exchange include cities and towns, counties, higher education institutions, housing authorities, public school districts, public transit agencies, special districts, and state governments from 29 states. Many of these government entities are represented by public entity risk pools. Currently, 51 risk pools are contributing workers compensation data and 26 pools are providing liability data for the Data Exchange.

For more information on the PERI Data Exchange, visit

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