The city of Milwaukee is looking for insurance policies that would cover even the most catastrophic events, like a nuclear attack, as it gets ready for the Republican National Convention in 2024.
According to a proposal made public by the city, Milwaukee authorities intend to buy insurance coverage for a number of contingencies prior to the July 2024 event. These contingencies include policies that cover terrorism, special event law enforcement liability, and attacks involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons.
Seeking coverage for such worst-case scenarios may seem frightening, but such policies are actually quite common practice for major events like the GOP convention, according to a report in Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel.
“It sounds scary, it does, but it’s really just a reflection of what a city typically provides and purchases in these types of situations,” said Andrea Fowler, a city attorney who spoke to the Journal Sentinel.
“It’s just designed to cover all types of risk, no matter how unlikely—completely unlikely—they are to occur,” she added.
The Republican Convention is set to take place between July 15 and 18. Thousands of visitors and attendees are expected to descend on Wisconsin’s largest city for the GOP nomination in the presidential election. In 2020, the Democratic National Convention was also held in Milwaukee, but the event was largely virtual because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Fowler said the city purchased insurance policies that covered drastic scenarios for the Democratic event. At the time, the liability coverage cost the city $7.7 million, according to an audit by the Department of Justice.
According to a framework agreement that was shared Monday with Newsweek by the city of Milwaukee’s director of communications, Jeff Fleming, the Republican National Committee laid out a list of minimum liability coverage the city must obtain within six months of the convention. Such policies include coverage for incidents of bodily injury, property damage or cases of accidental death.
“As you might imagine, there are various preparations underway on the part of the city of Milwaukee,” Fleming told Newsweek. “Much of that relates to security for the event. We are also engaged in connecting local businesses with opportunities that will arise from the convention.”
Cities picked to host major party conventions can get up to $50 million in federal funding to help cover security-related costs, according to a July report from Bloomberg, which cited legislation by the House Appropriations Committee. However, this year, both Wisconsin and Illinois, which will host the Democratic Convention in Chicago in August 2024, have requested up to $75 million for security measures.
A bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers wrote to the House Appropriations Committee in March asking for an increase over the $50 million, which has not been changed since 2004. Illinois congressmen also sent a letter to members of the committee in April, saying that adjustments should be made in response to inflation and “increased security needs.”
Fowler told the Journal Sentinel that while she does not know how much funding will be needed to cover the liability insurance for the GOP Convention, she expects the number to be higher than in 2020.