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Public Sector

In the face of ongoing pressure on budgets, public sector organisations need innovative strategies that help lower the total cost of risk and support frontline service improvements.

Often in budget-constrained environments, public sector entities must balance pursuing opportunities with addressing needs, such as ageing infrastructure, ageing workforce, public/private partnerships, disaster preparedness, law enforcement liability and cyber risk preparedness.  

In Australia, all levels of government continue to attract greater public and media scrutiny, encouraging more transparent operating processes.

Meanwhile, the sector recently changed how it provides several services. For example:

  • Government-owned-enterprises, operating in monopoly or near-monopoly environments, now commonly provide non-core government functions.
  • Government-owned energy, utility and health institutions have been and are continuing to be corporatised or privatised.

With public dependence on this infrastructure and increasing regulatory scrutiny, government is more frequently held to account in law. Common themes include complex injunctions, damages claims against local governments for financial loss and challenges and torts arising from compliance and enforcement activities.

Apart from such professional liabilities, the public sector owns and manages large-scale assets. Often the state’s major employer, they also face the same workplace health and safety, property protection, industrial relations and liability issues as private sector organisations.

Public accountability adds another dimension to all of these issues. Sound governance structure encompassing risk management and prudent management plans are therefore increasingly important.

Much can be achieved with focus, determination and original thinking. With risk management, claims, workforce solutions and analytics experts, Marsh can provide the support you need.

Marsh’s public sector expertise can provide comprehensive and innovative solutions around self-management, mutuality, risk management and risk transfer of government assets (both physical and people risk). These solutions can help public sector entities achieve both transparency and efficiency, whilst lowering their total cost of risk.

Related insights


From cities and states to utilities and transit organizations, public entities are exposed to many types of risks, including:

  • Cyberattacks: Ransomware attacks against public systems have become increasingly common in recent years. These incidents not only have the potential to shut down administrative functions, but can also leave residents without access to vital public services. Public entities should prioritize efforts to protect their digital assets and the private information of citizens.
  • Reputation management: How governments respond to and communicate with constituents on a day-to-day basis and in crisis situations is critical. Heightened visibility across all digital channels requires stringent public relations policies and proactive planning in the event of an incident.
  • Fleet management: Distracted and impaired driving, as well as a shortage of experienced drivers, are just some of the factors increasing the risk of accidents, claims, and related costs. Public entities should establish and maintain fleet management strategies that promote safety, minimize exposures, and reduce costs.

Public entities should consider all areas of risk to plan for and minimize the impact of existing and emerging vulnerabilities. A comprehensive approach to these threats helps you not only manage cost, but also enhances the safety of staff and the public.

As a result of increased litigation, aging infrastructure, and elevated public scrutiny, public entities require a unique approach to insurance to protect their people and property, which covers:

  • Management and professional liability: These policies protect public entities and staff against circumstances not covered under a traditional commercial policy. This can include losses caused by a wrongful act resulting in a loss while conducting duties by or on behalf of the group.
  • Auto liability: Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, buses, road and street maintenance vehicles, and other emergency vehicles all require coverage in the event of bodily injury or property damage.
  • Cyber risk: The resulting fallout of a cyberattack can include severe consequences for a public entity, such as data leaks, extortion, and fraud. This form of coverage typically includes expenses related to these consequences, as well as those stemming from related network or information security failures.

For public entities, developing a comprehensive approach to risk management means addressing each of these vulnerabilities and any related to their unique constituents or the day-to-day function of their work.

At Marsh, our analytics, risk management, and local teams can help you develop fit-for-purpose risk financing and management strategies to continue to support the public while mitigating risk.

Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651 512, AFSL 238983) (“Marsh”) arrange this insurance and is not the insurer. The Discretionary Trust Arrangement is issued by the Trustee, JLT Group Services Pty Ltd (ABN 26 004 485 214, AFSL 417964) (“JGS”). JGS is part of the Marsh group of companies. Any advice in relation to the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is provided by JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd (ABN 69 009 098 864, AFSL 226827) which is a related entity of Marsh. The cover provided by the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is subject to the Trustee’s discretion and/or the relevant policy terms, conditions and exclusions. This website contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire a product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from JLT Risk Solutions on request. Full information can be found in the JLT Risk Solutions Financial Services Guide.”