Fresno had what City Manager Robert Christofferson called a “bad April Fools’ joke"--its liability insurance expired. That situation has become common among California cities as soaring rates or refusal by insurance companies to renew policies force local government agencies to seek new carriers or consider insuring themselves. Fresno is considering self insurance, but also may join other cities in a pool, said Cliff Fisher, manager of the city’s risk management section. Some cities have decided on self insurance to get past the present crisis, and Fisher noted that Los Angeles has been self insured for a decade. “As long as we don’t have a major incident, it could be all gravy,” he said. Fresno’s liability premiums jumped from $113,520 in 1984 to $368,720 last year.