The most common cause of childhood lead poisoning is the dust that comes from lead based paint. While lead paint was banned for NYC residential use in 1960, and nationwide in 1978, Read More »
If you read our first article in the series “Managing Insurance Claims First Reports Can Have Big Impact for Schools & Non Profits” then you know that it’s a two part process, Read More »
Category Archives: Private & Charter Schools
When deciding where to start your new school, child care facility, or any business relating to children, step number one should be looking at all the demographic data you can get your hands on. Would you rather place a new facility in an area with increasing demand, or decreasing demand? We have included a map below from the New York Times which outlines the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city for children 9 & younger. if you notice, outside of Manhattan the majority of neighborhoods have seen either no change or a decrease in children 9 & younger over the past decade.
Some of the fastest growing neighborhoods include:
- Battery Park City has grown 129% in the past decade.
- Lincoln Square Grew 51%.
- Cobble Hill Grew 31%.
One issue that no one wants to face is identity theft. This year there will be about 10 million victims of identity theft and one third of them will be children & teens. That’s 3.33 million victims! They are considered an easy target because it may take years or even a decade before the theft is noticed. Child identity theft is one of the fastest growing ID crimes, having increased 300% in the past 5 years.
The average child victim is between the ages of 6 & 8. Typically families won’t discover their child was a victim until they apply for a drivers license, or for college loans & credit cards. Think about how often you give out your child’s social security number, or yours for that matter. Doctor’s offices, daycares, schools, & sports teams are just a few examples. If this information falls into the wrong hands damage can be done. The average identity theft results in $12,779 of debt and 44 hours trying to clear up credit.
While you expect hackers to be namesless & faceless, this is not always the case. Many hit close to home. Around 25% of victims claim that friendly fraud was responsible for the theft, meaning a close family member may have used a child’s name & social security number when applying for credit, buying a car, obtaining a loan, etc.
What can be done?
1. Ensure your child is not sharing their information online. Especially their social security number. Do they even need access to it? Young kids are more receptive to phishing scams.
2. Take precautionary measures by only giving out your child’s social security number when absolutely necessary.
3. Enroll in an identity theft prevention program like Identity Guard.
4. Look for the warning signs below.
Unsolicited Credit Card Offers – These typically come frequently after a credit inquiry/application has been filed.
Contacted by a collection agency – Must I explain?
First visit to DMV – Unpaid parking tickets?
Credit Applications Denied – Background checks, applying to a job, etc.
If you are a victim
1. Report it to the local police.
2. Call each of your credit card insurers. Get replacement cards.
3. Call the fraud units of the credit bureaus.
4. Keep a log of all conversations with authorities and financial entities. Follow up.
5. File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
I don’t have to tell you the flu is a major concern this time of year. If you’ve watched any tv, or known enough people, you’d also know it is particularly bad this year. Let this article serve as a quick reminder of how to prevent it the best you can for your kids. We’ve done our best to include statistics to keep you motivated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention twenty children have died from the flu this season nationwide.
As you can see below, unless you’re currently in Guam, you’re still at risk for the flu.
1. The single most important thing you can do is hand washing.
How important is it? A study of 305 Detroit students who washed their hands 4 times per day showed 24 percent had fewer colds and 51 percent had less stomach upset. When daycare teachers helped kids wash their hands every morning when they arrived, there were 50 percent fewer illnesses. Surveys say that greater than 50% of both males and females don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. It’s recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Ok you’ve already lessened illnesses by 50% great job! Let’s keep going.
2. Clean toys, public areas, multiple times per day
Can you clean every inch of your daycare? No its probably not an efficient use of time. Clean the most likely area’s where germs can be transferred. Shared toys, railings, doorknobs, table tops, & bathrooms are prime to hold germs.
3. Enforce policy!
If a child is sick they must go home with their parents. It’s important to isolate sick children from the rest to prevent spreading of germs. Consider the 24 hour rule where even if the child is feeling better they are required to stay home for 24 hours from when they were sent home. This can be difficult for working parents but is important.
4. Educate the parents & children
Only so much can be done on the premises. Children can still get sick at home and bring it with them to your facility. Do your best to educate the parents on what they can do to prevent the flu. The includes at least considering a flu shot.
This is part 2 of our series on managing abuse and molestation risks. Read part one here on awareness.
Prevention is always the number-one goal with any risk exposure. So please consider the following steps to prevent or at least reduce the likelihood of these events occurring on your premises:
- Make sure you have a Title IX Coordinator (if applicable). *Ask us
- You must adopt a “Zero Tolerance” approach regarding any act of sexual misconduct. No wiggle room!
- Go through all your organization’s existing training programs, policies and procedures regarding acts of harassment and sexual misconduct. Make necessary improvements while seeking not only to increase management and accountability but rather to set a standard for industry excellence.
- Develop and document clear reporting and investigative procedures for allegations.
- Develop a comprehensive prevention program with training, education, and awareness for all employees, especially those who provide supervision of children.
- Perform background checks on every person who would serve in a role involving children.
- Consider a policy of ongoing post-hire employee background checks as well.
- Evaluate any past incidents or allegations of sexual misconduct, and identify areas for response or risk management improvement going forward. *Ask us!
- Ensure you have multiple ways for the campus community to report possible acts of sexual misconduct or other wrongdoing.
Awareness +Training = Risk Reduction
Part 3 will feature the unfortunate yet necessary guide for how to respond to allegations.
Above all else a school’s primary responsibility is to keep their children and teens safe at all times.
Unfortunately this is not always the case as during the past few years several high-profile incidents have rocked the industry. Behind these high profile cases are many other incidents just as terrible that haven’t caught the attention of the national press. Behind those are even more incidents that never even get reported.
No matter the details, any act of this kind, in any sector, will have devastating consequences for both the victims and the organizations involved.
This will be a 3 part series including:
Part 1 – The Wake Up Call
Part 2 – Prevention
Part 3 – Responding
On Tuesday August 28th, 2012 U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block ruled the statute of limitations didn’t automatically disqualify a sexual abuse case against Poly Prep Country Day School even as some allegations date back to 1966. It’s well documented that NY State has one of the countries strictest statute of limitations for sexual abuse and molestation claims.
If the 40 page ruling stands it opens the doors for other potential victims to come forward and press legal action. According to the recent Wall Street Journal article by Sophia Hollander, the case against Poly Prep has been carefully followed as the impact could be wide spread.
Why then do I assert that insurance costs will be impacted? Simple; if insurance carriers begin to see an uptick in sexual abuse & molestation claims, forget merits for a second, just pure cases reported, premiums are going to rise. If the underwriters sense the NY Legislators in Albany will mollify plaintiffs and weaken the statute of limitations, more cases will be open, which will translate into more sexual abuse and molestation claims, which translates into higher losses for insurance carriers. Finally, as insurance carrier’s losses increase they need to raise insurance premiums to off set these losses.
For insurers, and ultimately buyers of liability insurance such as nursery schools, private schools, charter schools, and religious organizations, it’s very difficult to assess the final cost of an abuse and molestation claim. Sexual abuse and molestation insurance claims tend to get their initial reserves set low, and then watch the cost of the claims rise as time goes on. This is called loss development; as time grows so does the cost to administer, defend, and ultimately settle the loss.
Insurance carriers can predict through actuaries the number of sexual abuse and molestation insurance claims they can expect in a given year as the historical data tends to be accurate. If the laws change in favor of the plaintiffs allowing more cases and thus more liability claims to move forward the losses on this class of business will increase, perhaps dramatically. This will move their actuarial tables resulting in higher loss trending and thus the need for more premiums. The carriers won’t wait for the claims to start rolling in to raise rates, it will happen much sooner, perhaps as early as 1st quarter 2013.
There are macro events that happen in the insurance industry that affect both carriers and customers alike in one fell swoop. The key for any nursery school, private school, charter school, religious organization, or non profit is to find line items on their own P&L that they can impact. Our favorite is workers compensation insurance as that is rich in opportunity to lower costs though protocol. For purposes of this article our intent is to simply make you aware of this potential macro trend that may ultimately drive your costs for sexual abuse and molestation liability insurance.
If you read our first article in the series “Managing Insurance Claims First Reports Can Have Big Impact for Schools & Non Profits” then you know that it’s a two part process, “be prepared” and “follow up.” This article shares the concept of how important proper claims follow up is for all workers compensation insurance claims, and all general liability insurance claims.
WHY WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS & GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMS ARE DIFFERENT:
Unlike many other types of insurance claims, many liability and workers compensation claims can get larger with time. In industry parlance this is called Loss Development as the claim develops over time it tends to get larger as law suits, negotiations, cost of continual medical e.t.c. increase the ultimate insurance carrier payout over time. A property claim for a burned structure does not deviate as much outside perhaps loss to the business income.
Thus we typically refer to both Workers Compensation Insurance & General Liability Insurance as very expensive credit lines that carry a high interest rate, comp especially. Although the carrier pays the loss upfront, the insurance marketplace is very efficient in re-couping the money from the policy holders in the form of premium increases for 4 to 5 years upon each renewal which is essentially a charge back.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING A CLAIMS FOLLOW UP PROCEDURE FOR YOUR SCHOOL OR NON PROFIT:
You wouldn’t hand a stranger your school’s checkbook, sign the blank checks and forget about it! That’s absurd, yet that is exactly what most Non Profit Organizations, Private Schools, and Charter Schools do. That stranger is the claims adjuster.
If you have a set procedure in place of when to follow up , with whom to follow up, and questions to ask you can and will have an outsized impact on the ultimate payout of a claim. In one example our claims staff followed up with a client and asked if there were any alternative duties at their facility their injured worker could perform instead of sitting at home and collecting workers compensation benefits. They assigned this injured workers a file scanning project that enabled the worker to come back, and be productive saving the School close to $67,000 in additional workers compensation costs. This only happened because someone was involved, asked the right questions, and had taken corrective action.
The bottom line is it’s critical that someone in organization have a set follow up procedure in place so they can monitor and effect not just the claim value, but the ultimate cost to your organization.
Download our Free Claims Report Tool for both Workers Compensation & General Liability Insurance. Take back your check book, control and manage your costs as it’s ultimately your hard earned dollars at stake NOT the insurance companies.
A staff member arrives at your door, panicked; someone has been injured in your facility, now what? If you’re an average non profit or school you simply pick up the phone and call EMS and wait.
Once the dust settles you sit back in your chair and call your insurance broker who transfers you to a claims admin person in their office to take down basic information. A week later you get a call from a company adjuster who asks the same information. You hang up and try and forget the whole experience only to be reminded upon your liability insurance renewal, or your workers compensation renewal, that your insurance premiums have doubled as a result of that claim. Sound familiar?
We believe the best approach to claims is the dual philosophy of being prepared AND following up. These two approaches are not mutually exclusive but work in tandem to deliver substantive results to any for profit or not for profit organization. This article deals with the first principle “Be Prepared”. Understand that improvement to your insurance claims practices drives both cost efficiency and cost consistency. Our clients understand the price they pay on insurance is a direct function of how well they manage their claims, period. This is why we coach our clients to our specific claims protocol.
The Scouts of America had it right, be prepared. Any top flight organization has an emergency procedure action plan if certain events present themselves. They know that when they are “IN” a situation, panic, uncertainty, and hasty decisions result in a suspect outcome. That is why we advocate during a claim event that a very specific claims form tailored to your business model and your organization be drafted, thoughtfully and un-emotionally which will help organize your approach to this event. Capturing little details such as what the weather conditions were like, potential witness statements, photographs, contributing physical evidence like a broken chair, or floor obstacle, can immediately make a HUGE difference in helping craft a defense for your Non Profit Insurance Company and your organization that will ultimately save you much in the way of blood and treasure.
If you’re a Nursery School, Private School, Charter School, Non Profit Organization, Adult Day Care or Home Health Care Business that operates a facility, we suggest you download our Free Claims Report Tool that was developed specifically for school based organizations that cater to children, students, and teachers. Being prepared, building your defense file IMMEDIATELY with all the little details will pay huge long term dividends. Do what you have always done and get what you have always gotten.
In our next article we will discuss the second principle, “Follow Up Procedures.”