The 1980’s proved to be a difficult era for municipalities to secure commercial insurance. With no options beyond those found in the traditional insurance market, cities were faced with extremely high prices, inadequate coverage, and minimal access to loss control services. In addition, it became especially difficult to find and retain coverage for large losses.
In 1988, 32 cities responded to these hardships by banding together. In accordance with then newly-established state legislation, the Cities Insurance Association of Washington (CIAW) was formed with the purpose of sharing risk and creating buying power for its members.
CIAW is a public entity risk program that provides comprehensive property and liability coverage in conjunction with the highest quality risk management services. Founded in 1988 with 32 cities, the CIAW has since expanded to include special purpose and fire districts among its membership. Over the course of its 20-year history, the program has steadily grown to over 200 members.
A Board of Directors, which is elected by the membership, governs the CIAW and decides the organization's future direction. The Board, in turn, contracts with a third-party administrator, Clear Risk Solutions, to carry out the day-to-day administrative duties, as well as provide claims and risk control services.
CIAW contracts with Clear Risk Solutions for day-to-day administration of the program. In addition to CIAW, Clear Risk Solutions developed and serves as the pool administrator for the Non Profit Insurance Program (NPIP), Schools Insurance Association of Washington (SIAW), United Schools Insurance Program (USIP), and Washington Rural Counties Insurance Program (WRCIP). Clear Risk Solutions has over 30 years of experience providing pool administration, underwriting, claims adjusting, and risk management services.
- Reinsurance Coverage: CIAW self-insures losses that are manageable and predictable. Reinsurance coverage is purchased to protect the members against catastrophic claims.
- Aggregate Stop Loss Coverage: CIAW purchases aggregate stop loss coverage to protect the program assets against an abnormal frequency of claims in one year. This coverage minimizes the risk of any retroactive assessments if the liability losses exceed the amount budgeted and collected from the membership.
- Risk Management: CIAW offers a comprehensive range of risk management and loss control services. By reducing the number of claims through membership education, overall insurance costs are reduced.
- Claims / Litigation Management: Through CIAW's program administrator, claims are adjusted and handled in-house. Aggressive third-party adjusting is enhanced by their awareness of the individual needs of the membership. Members are included in the planning process and are vital to litigation settlement discussions.
- Broad Coverage / Competitive Cost: CIAW aims to provide the broadest coverage available to public entities. Controlling costs and providing stable rates throughout unpredictable insurance cycles is paramount to CIAW. The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce losses through on-site education and through sound fiscal management, eliminating large insurance cost fluctuations.