How school administrators can manage five common risks

Public and private schools across the country, from elementary schools to major universities, face many of the same risks, exposing the schools to financial and reputational loss, and leaving school administrators with the daunting task of mitigating those risks. The right insurance protection is essential when it comes to significantly reducing exposures. 

With this in mind, The Hanover offers tips to help administrators manage five common risks that schools face.

Employment practices risks

With educators frequently involved in employment-related decisions, common causes for concern are wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation. To help alleviate possible risks, it is crucial that schools include a human resources professional and legal counsel in their process, in addition to educators. Similarly, ensuring proper documentation of hiring processes, terminations, disputes and performance reviews can help protect schools from possible employment practices issues. Schools may have all the proper protocols in place, but additional training and enforcement of protocols often can provide an added layer of protection.

Sexual assault and abuse risks

Most schools have some form of insurance coverage for assault and abuse, but standard coverages are not always enough. “It’s important to review insurance limits with an independent agent to assess coverage and ensure the limits are adequate,” said Scott Grieco, president of Middle Market at The Hanover. “Often, schools benefit from increased limits and added protection.” Sexual assault and abuse is a significant concern for schools, and particularly for colleges and schools hosting summer camp programs. It’s always a good idea to make sure all school employees are trained on how to recognize the signs of abuse, actions they can take to prevent abuse and the proper procedures for reporting abuse. This is especially true for school employees and volunteers who are mandated reporters, legally responsible for reporting possible abuse. The Hanover offers free online training courses addressing student protection so that employees and volunteers are familiar with the best practices for managing the risks related to assault and abuse. “When it comes to protecting schools from possible risks, specialized independent insurance agents truly understand schools’ exposures and can serve as valuable advisors, offering expert advice and complete insurance protection,” stated Grieco.

Security risks

Whether it’s dorm exposures on a college campus or access in primary schools, security is a major concern. Developing a proper response to an event is an important part of safety, but prevention is also crucial. Things like key card security on doors, video monitoring systems and ensuring exterior doors are not being propped open, can help schools address some top security concerns.

The Hanover shares insight on the top 10 reasons to adopt a threat assessment team, supporting the need for schools to develop a threat assessment process to identify, assess, and manage threatening situations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also provides an informational guide on how to use a threat assessment model to enhance school safety. 

Sports injury risks

The safety of student athletes is a key concern for coaches and administrators. With frequent practices and games, requiring high energy, heat exhaustion and illness can pose a significant threat, especially during the warmer months of the year. Ensure coaches are prepared to recognize signs of heat-related illnesses and have a management plan in place. A concussion prevention and management plan is another necessity to help protect student athletes. Certain insurance policies help schools develop these plans by connecting them to providers that offer concussion management training and educational programs. The Hanover has resources to help evaluate concussions, track recovery, communicate with involved parties and make educated decisions about post-concussion needs.

Slip and fall risks

Claims related to slips and falls remain among the most common for schools. Creating a slip, trip and fall prevention plan and investing a good portion of a yearly budget to update facilities can help prevent injuries and reduce this risk. While slip and fall claims may not be the most costly of these common risks, they are often the most frequent claim scenario that school administrators face.

Read more about The Hanover’s comprehensive insurance program for schools.

Scott Grieco

About the author
Scott Grieco has served as senior vice president of Middle Market at The Hanover since 2012. As an experienced insurance professional, he is responsible for the profit and loss for Middle Market business, which includes accounts with premiums greater than $50,000 in specialized industries relevant to our distributors.