If you operate a private school, one of your most important responsibilities is protecting all your students and staff. In addition to taking steps to keep the school grounds safe and secure, it is essential that you consider the possibility that abuse or molestation could take place at your school.
This is a matter that private schools need to take very seriously. In a school environment, there are lots of potential perpetrators. According to The Hartford Insurance Company, in 80 to 90 percent of sexual assault cases, the assailant and victim know each other Faculty members, students, volunteers, coaches and anyone else who is invited onto yourcampus could be a potential perpetrator.
There are also cases that involve a “poor judgment” perpetrator, which is someone who does not plan or plot to abuse. This could involve, for example, a young student coach who does not exercise sound judgment in interactions with minors by becoming romantically involved with a student or telling inappropriate jokes of a sexual nature.
Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that not all perpetrators of school abuse are adults. For example, a student who engages in sexually suggestive joking or teasing, may be considered sexual abuse could be a perpetrator.
Every person at a school is potential victim, although women are more likely to be the targets of sexual abuse than men. In addition, students who are looking for approval or attention from their fellow students or adults are at a higher risk, as are those who have disabilities.
How Does Abuse & Molestation Insurance Offer Protection?
One way that school administrators can protect their students, staff, faculty and the school itself from the consequences of sexual abuse and molestation is by having the right insurance coverage in place.
Abuse and molestation insurance can be useful should a child who is under your care become a victim of abuse, whether it is physical, verbal or sexual in nature. Most of these policies cover a variety of scenarios, whether it involves a child and an adult or two children.
Regardless of whether a claim ends in a judgment or settlement, it can still incur high expenses, particularly when you factor in defense costs. There are two main types of insurance that can be useful for such incidents. Here is a closer look at each one.
Limited Liability Coverage For Negligence Related to Sexual Abuse or Molestation
This type of policy provides coverage for any allegations of negligence or wrongful acts if an injury occurs due to sexual abuse. Some of the types of wrongful acts it can protect against include those related to:
- Negligent employment
- Failing to protect an individual from sexual abuse
This type of policy can supplement coverage in a general liability policy. For example, some policies may provide defense beyond the liability limits of a set amount per sexual abuse injury.
Umbrella limits may be available for schools and other insured parties like employed faculty members and volunteers who are accused of negligence or wrongful acts that lead to a sexual abuse injury related to:
- Officers or directors
- Volunteers or representatives
- Business invitees
- Agents for whose conduct your school is responsible
- Sexual abuse that is perpetrated by a student
Wrongfully Accused Coverage
It is also possible to acquire wrongfully accused defense reimbursement coverage endorsement to cover any reasonable and necessary defense expenses for people who are wrongfully accused after a civil trial reaches a final legal finding of “not liable”, a criminal trial reaches a “not guilty”verdict, or there is a “dismissal of prejudice” for all charges or allegations of molestation or sexual abuse in a criminal charge.
It can cover both criminal and civil defense expenses, along with binding arbitration expenses. The limits of these types of claims can vary by insurer, but they can sometimes reach as much as $1 million per claim. An umbrella policy, meanwhile, may offer higher limits.
Keeping Risks Low
It is essential that your school uses sound hiring practices and screenings to ensure that individuals with a history of any type of abuse do not end up being part of your school. This can go a long way toward reducing the chances of an incident, but it is important to keep in mind that there will always be a risk.
Any incident of physical, sexual or verbal abuse should be reported immediately to the head of the school and your local law enforcement as appropriate. Some private schools might also offer training to staff on appropriate behavior and identifying signs of abuse.
Get In Touch With Experienced Commercial Insurance Brokers
In addition to its devastating impact on victims and their loved ones that can last a lifetime, abuse and molestation incidents can seriously damage your private school’s reputation. Obtaining adequate protection to efficiently resolve these types of claims is essential. Reach out to the commercial insurance brokers at CI Solutions to learn more about their abuse and molestation insurance policies.