Cleveland to spend $9.5M on insurance for GOP convention

CLEVELAND (AP) — A city of Cleveland panel on Wednesday authorized spending nearly $10 million to purchase $50 million in insurance to protect the city against claims during the Republican National Convention after a consultant concluded the city faces a higher risk than previously thought because of terrorism threats and volatility during the Republican presidential primary campaign.

The same city Board of Control authorized the purchase of a $10 million policy for $1.5 million in March. The consultant and insurance brokerage, AON Risk Services, polled 40 insurance companies before recommending the higher coverage amount, a Cleveland official said.

“Given the climate nationally and internationally, the risk assessment (for Cleveland) was higher than it’s been for other conventions,” Cleveland Finance Director Sharon Dumas said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Republican National Committee required the city to buy liability insurance as part of its agreement to host the four-day convention that begins July 18 at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. The general liability and property damage policies will be provided by multiple insurance companies and will be purchased with money from the $50 million federal security grant Cleveland received for hosting a national special security event, Dumas said.

Cleveland is self-insured and would be responsible for any claims against its police officers or damage to city property during the convention. The insurance would cover claims made against law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions and damage to private property.

Philadelphia, which will host the Democratic National Convention at the end of July, received a similar federal security grant. Neither Philadelphia nor the Democratic National Committee has finalized the purchase of insurance. Philadelphia is responsible for buying insurance to cover convention safety forces while the DNC will buy general liability insurance to cover other types of claims.

Insurance costs for Philadelphia are expected to be much lower than Cleveland’s, Dumas said.

There have been increasing concerns about protests during the Republican convention as groups both in support and opposed to the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, have said they planned to come to Cleveland. There have been instances of clashes attributed to anti-Trump protesters outside the real estate mogul’s campaign rallies in recent months.

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