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Campaign groups need firm controls

political spending

Organizations involved in political campaigns should ensure they have sound financial controls in place and take steps to minimize reputational harm to demonstrate they are a better insurance risk, experts say.

Political campaigns are akin to startup companies because they grow quickly over a short period of time, said Caleb P. Burns, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington.

While some of the risks they face — auto liability, for example — are similar to any business, other risks, such as defamation, tend to be much higher because of their association with political candidates, Mr. Burns said. 

“Having proper controls and steps in place to review high-risk activities and to ensure that funds or assets are not misappropriated can help mitigate possible claims,” he said.

Because political candidates tend to make off-the-cuff remarks, it’s important that they work with their public relations staff to plan public comments and speeches ahead of time, said Holden McKinney, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based assistant vice president, professional lines, at Amwins Group Inc.

“People want to appear genuine but trying to read from a prompter may be a better way to go about things,” Mr. McKinney said.

On the directors and officers liability insurance side, it’s important for organizations to have sound accounting principles in place and that they maintain good financial statements, he said.

“These organizations are heavy on donations of funds, so understanding their financial position, that they’ve got checks and balances in place and that they’re following their mission” is important, said Lisa Rodriguez, Seattle-based senior vice president, executive liability broker, at Brown & Riding Insurance Services Inc.