Learn about educators legal liability insurance (ELL). ELL protects school boards against claims of failure to grant tenure, negligent counseling, wrongful termination and wrongful dismissal.
Educators Legal Liability Insurance
Colleges, universities, boards of education and all other institutions of education are big organizations that are held responsible for the care of a large number of students. These institutions also employ a large staff. Since there are so any individuals involved in the process of education, institutions of learning face a variety of risks on a constant basis that other types of organizations aren't faced with as frequently.
These institutions can be held liable for various legal claims that general liability insurance won't cover. As such, educational institutions need a specific type of insurance policy that is customized to meet their unique needs. Educators legal liability insurance (ELL) provides institutions of learning with coverage against a wide range of possible legal claims.
What Is Educators Legal Liability Insurance?
Educators' Legal Liability Coverage was developed to respond to loss from wrongful acts related to educational (rather than general) activities of a school, school board, school district, college, or university. It is a necessary part of any insurance or risk management protection for any school or educational institution. Protection is required for the actions of officers, directors, staff, faculty, employees, volunteers, and student or substitute teachers.
Educators legal liability insurance is a specialty form of insurance coverage that protects educational institutions against the damages that they could incur as a result of real or alleged wrongful acts. The types of claims that this form of insurance covers is broad and includes:
- Denial of tenure
- Acts of discrimination
- Practices related to employment
- Acts of retaliation
- Professional errors and omissions made by educators
- Failure to educate as promised
- Libel and slander
- Wrongful termination
- Breach of contract
Who Does Educators Legal Liability Insurance Protect?
Those who are covered under educators legal liability insurance will differ from provider to provider. Therefore, it is important to check your policy to ensure who is covered. The following are individuals who you would want your ELL policy to protect:
- Members of boards, committees, councils, and commissions.
- All educators, including teachers, teacher assistants, substitute teachers, and even student teachers.
- Volunteers who are working on behalf of the institution.
- Any officials, directors, trustees and superintendents that have been elected or appointed to work on behalf of the institution.
- Students who are complying with the codes of conduct that have been set forth by the organization.
What Type Of Benefits Does ELL Insurance Offer?
Again, benefits offered by educators legal liability insurance will differ from provider to provider. However, most policies will provide the following benefits:
- The day-to-day operations of the educational institution.
- Punitive and exemplary damages.
- Front and back pay.
- Claims that are associated with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for special needs students.
- Claims related to breach of fiduciary duty.
- Claims related to breach of contract.
Since the benefits offered by this type of insurance do vary from one provider to another, it is important to make sure that the policy you choose provides the specific coverage necessary to insure your institution. Should you need additional coverage, you do have the option to purchase more benefits.
Are there Any Exclusions?
All insurance policies have some exclusions and an educators legal liability insurance policy is no different. The types of losses that this policy will not cover will typically include:
- Any acts that are deliberate.
- Acts that were committed fraudulently.
- Acts that are a violation of certain types of Federal Acts.
Of course, check with your insurance provider to find out exactly what your policy won't cover to ensure have a full understanding of how you are protected.
How Much does Educators Legal Liability Insurance Cost?
The costs associated with an ELL policy will vary from insurance provider to insurance provider. They will also vary depending on the specifics of your institution and whether or not you need additional benefits that are not offered under a basic ELL policy.
Generally, the premiums that an insurance company will charge for a policy are based on the amount of students (both full and part-time) that attend the school, in addition to the number of people who are on staff.
Understanding The Educators Legal Liability Policy
Educators' Legal Liability (ELL) Coverage was developed to handle loss resulting from "wrongful acts" arising from the operation of a school, school board, school district, college, or university. It is a necessary part of any insurance or risk management protection for any school or educational institution. Protection is required for the actions of officers, directors, staff, faculty, employees, volunteers, and student or substitute teachers.
ELL Insurance is not standard among insurers. Each carrier develops features according to its preferred market. Wide variations can be found in the Insuring Agreements, Exclusions, Conditions, and Defense provided among different policies so it is very difficult to make coverage comparisons in this market.
What Is Covered
An ELL Policy typically protects against damages from actual or alleged "wrongful acts" such as: negligence, errors or omissions, misstatements, or breach of duty involving an educational facility's directors, officers, trustees, faculty, employees, student teachers, and committees while acting in the scope of their duties. Unless otherwise excluded or limited, this includes, but is not limited to such acts as discrimination, failure to educate, libel, slander, wrongful termination, denial of tenure, and breach of contract.
Coverage is on a claims-made basis, requiring that a claim be first made against the insured and reported to the insurer during the policy period. All claims are subject to a specified Self-Insured Retention or deductible, with a stated limit per claim and an annual aggregate limit.
Watch carefully for the difference in contracts relating to defense. Some of the key items to consider are:
- Unlimited Defense Expenses
- Separate Defense Expense Limit
- Basis of Payment
- Defense Handling Option
- Settlement Consent
Defense Options may have a substantial financial impact.
What Is Usually Excluded
ELL coverages are nonstandard. There are key differences between forms which must be carefully evaluated. Exclusions must be very carefully examined to determine what types of the occurrences will and will not be covered by the insurance program under review. Here are some typical exclusions that should be examined and compared among programs:
- Claims that occurred prior to the Retroactive Date or the "Date of First Coverage"
- Claims not made during the "policy period"
- Claims outside the policy territory
- Claims for "bodily injury," "property damage," or employee benefits injury"
- Claims for "personal injury" or "advertising injury"
- Claims arising out of any intentional, dishonest, malicious, fraudulent or criminal act, error or omission, including any assault, battery, homicide, or rape
- Negligent employment, investigation, supervision, reporting to proper authorities, or retention of a person for whom the insured is or ever was legally responsible whose conduct was otherwise excluded from the policy
- Lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Any wrongful act with respect to the administration of an employee benefit plan
- Professional Liability for any professional service other than education, teaching and the counseling needed for and related to these services
- Contractual Liability
- Those coverages required by Workers Compensation and similar laws
- Disputes between insureds, entities, or any covered individuals
- Collective bargaining processes, issues, or strikes
- Pollution of any type and in any form
- Civil or criminal fines or penalties levied by any federal, state or local governmental regulatory agency or court
- Insolvency or bankruptcy of a covered insured or covered entity
- Any type of nuclear exposure
- Any broadcasting or publishing exposure, such as libel or slander
- "Wrongful acts," injury, or damage resulting from or arising from campus police or security
Optional Coverages - Endorsements
Some of the Exclusions mentioned may be bought back by endorsement and payment of additional premiums:
- Abuse or Molestation Coverage-For claims related to the alleged, actual or threatened sexual abuse or molestation of any person in the care, custody or control of an insured.
- Active Shooter Liability Coverage- For claims related to injury and added expenses arising from claims involving the insured premises or grounds having been breached by a person using firearms with the intent to kill and injure persons on or at the educational facility.
- Broadcasters' Liability Coverage-For educational facilities that have radio and/or television stations.
- Campus Security or Police Liability - For institutions that have armed security and police forces
- Corporal Punishment - This option may be available where not restricted by law. It responds to claims related to physical assault or battery because of administering corporal punishment.
- Deductible-Liability Insurance and Claim Expenses - On a "per claimant" and/or "per wrongful act" basis.
- Emotional Distress Coverage
- Employee Benefits Liability Coverage-For injury that arises out of any act, error or omission in the administration of the insured's employee benefits programs.
- Employment Practices Liability Coverage-For protection against claims involving hiring, firing, discipline and similar activities
- Excess or Umbrella Liability
- Extended Reporting Period - Protects the insured from losses for an extended period after the policy is canceled or nonrenewed by the insured or the company.
- Extension to Volunteers-Broadens coverage to include eligible acts involving certain classes of volunteers used by the applicable institution.
- Foreign, International, or Worldwide Coverage
- Medical Malpractice or Professional Liability-For operations of campus health centers, campus medical facilities, health programs, and athletic trainers, excluding any coverage for teaching hospitals or clinics, and employed physicians, nurses, teachers, and students.
- Miscellaneous Professional Liability Coverage
- Outside Directors' Coverage
- Publishers' Liability Coverage - For educational facilities that have student and/or faculty publications.
Educators Legal Liability Insurance - The Bottom Line
We hope this article on educators legal liability insurance was informative. Legal claims made against institutions of learning seem to be increasing. Therefore, it is important for any organization that provides students with an education to be protected against such claims in order to minimize its losses. If you operate a school of any type - public or private - speak to a reputable insurance agency to learn more about a policy.