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By Lori Pack • October 2, 2017

Attention Educator Associations! Are your members protected? They want career security.

If your educator association wants to attract new members, it’s imperative to offer Educators Professional Liability insurance as a member benefit.  This coverage is designed to protect a teacher’s career in the event of allegations of damage or injury to a student, or for an error or omission related to the scope of his or her duties as an educator. 

In today’s changing professional environment, of particular concern to teachers is being dismissed. Termination issues, as well as reassignments, salary disagreements, certification issues, and differences in interpretation of practices occur daily between educators and their superiors and employers (the school or school district). Employment related problems often cause more issues for educators than conflicts with students and parents. 

As a professional educator association, your mission is to advocate on behalf of students as well as your members. You can help teachers and school administrators rest easier by having your association offer a professional liability policy as a benefit alongside other association benefits. Policies may be tailored to include Liability coverage, as well as coverage for Reimbursement of Attorney Fees for claims involving employment rights, certification issues, or criminal and/or sexual misconduct allegations. 

A frequent question posed by teachers is “won’t the school’s insurance cover me”? In the event of a liability claim (perhaps a student injury or death) educators working in the course and scope of their duties would be primarily be defended by the school district. However, if the limits of its policy are exhausted, or if there is a conflict of interest between the educator and school district, the educator would then need to have his or her own personal insurance in place – intended to be excess above the school’s coverage. An Educators Professional Liability policy serves as an additional layer of defense for educators, providing needed protection in the event of a serious claim against them.

Examples of Liability Claims

  • A student fell climbing on a wire fence on school property, suffering severe cuts. The teachers in charge of the students, as well as the principal of the school, were sued for negligence. The teachers and principal were covered and defended under their Educators Professional Liability policy.
  • A student was being disruptive and using profane language in the classroom. The parents allege the student was subjected to excessive corporal punishment and inappropriate discipline (even though the discipline was handled according to the guidelines of the school district). A lawsuit was filed alleging $2,000,000 in damages. The case was settled for $400,000.
  • A student was killed in the school parking lot before school hours by a handgun shot. The school administrators were sued for negligence. The administrators’ educator policy responded to the suit and defended the members when the limits of the school district’s policy were exhausted.

Examples of Reimbursement of Attorney Fees Claims

  • A teacher was terminated from his coaching position due to an alleged violation of school regulations. He was successfully represented and retained employment. Attorney fees were reimbursed up to the defined limit of the policy and the coach returned to his position at the school.
  • A teacher was alleged to have had inappropriate sexual conduct with a female student. The teacher was acquitted after investigation. Attorney fees were reimbursed to the limit of coverage.
  • A parent filed a complaint against a principal. She was then placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the facts. The principal was cleared of wrongdoing and returned to work. Her attorney fees were $1,000 below the policy limit for that coverage and were reimbursed in full.
Not all Educator Association insurance programs can provide both Professional Liability and Reimbursement of Attorney fees. Learn more about what coverages Myron Steves has to offer to Educator Associations.