Protecting Pennsylvania Municipalities and Local Government Officials Against Liability

One of the greatest responsibilities of local government officials is protecting their municipality against liability. This requires an understanding of the vulnerabilities to loss as well as the prevention practices that will help control costs.

Risk Management Publications

The Governor’s Center for Local Government Services has developed two risk management publications that provide guidance in loss control practices for local officials. The first publication is the Risk Manager’s Insurance Guide and the second is the Insurance Primer for Municipal Secretaries. The publications contain information on the extent of municipal liability, types of municipal insurance, public risk management and how to purchase insurance coverage. The Center also provides training and technical assistance on risk management.

Fire Insurance

Fire Insurance Escrow List – Of particular importance to insurance companies, the escrow list shows the registration of municipalities with Act 93 of 1994.

Flood Insurance

Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most flood prone states in the nation.

With approximately 83,000 miles of rivers and streams and nearly 2,400 local governments enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), it’s easy to see why Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most flood-prone states in the nation.

The Center is designated as the lead state agency for NFIP and Pennsylvania’s Floodplain Management (FPM) Act 166 of 1978 and is identified as the lead state coordinator for NFIP. However, in October 2018, PEMA became the lead for all operational fund activities, previously led by DCED.

As the state technical agency for NFIP, PEMA (with assistance from FEMA) provides the technical and financial assistance to Pennsylvania’s municipalities enrolled in the program. PEMA and a contracting service review municipal FPM Ordinances to ensure the municipalities’ compliance with FEMA-NFIP regulations. To assist municipalities in drafting these ordinances, the state has developed “Suggested Provisions” that meet state and federal floodplain regulations.

Additionally, the Center processes a number of requests for floodplain delineation data. This information is critical to locating the areas of a municipality that lie within a floodplain. Floodplain maps and flood insurance studies (FIS) are available for use by public and private engineering firms. We also advise property owners on how they can obtain floodplain maps and FIS documents  online from FEMA at or on our flood maps webpage. This information is needed to refine the potential flood impact on specific land parcels for insurance and mortgage purposes.

As of early 2019, PEMA is the state repository for the FPM Activities Annual Report Forms, which detail development activities within a municipality’s floodplain.

In addition, DCED administers the FPM reimbursements authorized in Act 166 via the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP). (The 2019 grant deadline is February 28, 2019.) Reimbursements are provided for up to 50 percent of the costs associated with preparing, administering and enforcing floodplain zoning ordinances and FPM ordinances necessary to comply with NFIP and Act 166 requirements.

Download the Floodplain Management Activities Reimbursement Application Form.

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