Schools, colleges, and universities are intricate networks of different types of jobs across multiple facilities and locations. From an insurance perspective, they face many kinds of risk exposure. At Henderson Brothers, we have been serving the education industry for decades. We understand the school environment and the nuances of resolving education-related issues. Here are several examples of how our team of experts has helped schools navigate challenging claims:
Due Process in Education
Due process in special education is part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA is a law designed to ensure that children with disabilities may receive a free appropriate public education. A due process complaint is a way for parents to settle a dispute with their child’s school regarding their child’s education requirements from an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan.
When a due process complaint is filed with the state’s Office for Dispute Resolution, the school’s IEP team and the child’s parents may attempt resolution or proceed to a due process hearing. Due process claims are emotionally fraught and require a careful approach to reach a solution. The school’s Special Education Coordinator is often assigned to handle these claims, but they may not be familiar with the intricacies of due process and relevant state law.
The Henderson Brothers team helps schools resolve these types of claims with care. We ensure the administrative tasks are filed appropriately and manage schedules and deadlines. In addition, we understand that communication is essential in due process claims to prevent misunderstandings and reach the best outcome for the student and the school district.
Schools frequently remodel and add new facilities. In most cases, an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) or Contractor Controlled Insurance Program (CCIP) is put in place to protect contractors and construction employees. Additions to an existing building, however, can create tricky situations for insurance.
For example, suppose a contractor forgets to secure a tarp and rainwater leaks into the new addition and also damages the original school building’s gym floor. In that case, the damage is outside of the builder’s risk portion. Henderson Brothers will work to gather the relevant contractors and OCIP or CCIP owners to establish responsibility for the accident. We will also work with the school’s regular property insurance carrier to handle the gym floor claim. School districts with busy staff value our ability to bring parties together and organize the factors of a complex claim, making the process run smoothly for all parties involved.
In situations where the school may be at fault, particularly involving school buses, we can handle the communication of difficult decisions and act as the point of contact for those involved.
A bus driver hits a parked car while driving on their route. Under Pennsylvania’s Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act (PSTCA), public schools and other municipalities have limited responsibility for covering damages. If the car owner is a taxpaying resident of the school district, they may feel frustrated that the school is not liable for the damage one of their drivers caused. In a public relations scenario like this, the Henderson Brothers team will step in and act as the face of the district. We contact the claimant, explain the law, and tell them how to turn it into their insurance carrier. Our team, well-versed in the laws and this type of claim, removes the burden of delivering this news from the school’s business office or superintendent and becomes the point of contact if the claimant has further questions.
We also offer support for general liability claims. These situations often fall under the PSTCA, but there are exceptions to the statute. For example, if a child runs into a bleacher during gym class and sustains an injury from a protruding bolt, the district may be liable to pay for damages due to negligence. Again, our team will support the district through the claims proceedings and help them manage the outcome.
Workers’ compensation insurance is expensive. It constitutes a significant expenditure for school districts that must carry multiple lines of insurance to cover different types of employees, from bus drivers to custodians. The Henderson Brothers team offers risk management programs and workers’ comp claim management. If a district has had multiple similar claims, our team can track and show the insurance adjuster the past claim data as evidence on whether a claim should be accepted or denied. We can also help establish a formal return to work program to help injured employees rejoin the workforce.
We Can Help You
Our experience in the education industry allows us to offer tailored programs and effective management of the various types of claims that schools experience every year. Talk to one of our experts today and find out what we can do for your organization.
Please note that the information contained in this posting is designed to provide general awareness in regard to the subject matter covered. It is not provided as legal, medical, or tax advice, nor is it intended to address all concerns in your workplace or for public health. No representation is made as to the sufficiency for your specific company’s needs. This post should be reviewed by your legal counsel or tax consultant before use.