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 had 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 by banding together. In accordance with then newly-established state legislation, the Cities Insurance Association of Washington (CIAW) was founded for the purpose of sharing risk and creating buying power. Since its inception, the program has been opened to special purpose districts, which have added to the strength of the pool. Over the past two decades, the CIAW has steadily grown to over 250 members.
Through the course of its 20-year history, the CIAW has effectively kept costs stable and affordable while expanding coverage and increasing limits, despite the volatility of the traditional insurance market. Furthermore, the program remains absolutely devoted to its proactive approach to risk management. The CIAW understands that a sincere commitment by its members to proper training and education coupled with the employment of loss prevention measures will result in fewer losses and lower costs.
The success of the CIAW is most certainly owed, in large part, to its unique approach to loss control, training and education. In much the same manner, however, the program's simplicity has also proven itself a key element in the CIAW's prosperity. The program's design is straightforward and uncomplicated and can be summed up as follows: The CIAW is owned, organized and governed by its members. As such, member interests are always at the core of the pool's operations.