Home > Property & Casualty > Youth at risk and managing the exposure to your institution

Youth at risk and managing the exposure to your institution

A recent rush of errors and bad judgment brought to light in public schools, universities, town services and youth organizations, have shown that even with proper protocols in place, bad hires can be made and can result in allegations of sexual assault.  First and most importantly, what can we do to protect our youth?  And secondly, what can we do to protect our valued institutions?

Following proper protocol for hiring is the best prevention mechanism to implement and can assist in managing the potential risks.  This process needs to be followed precisely for both prospective hires and any volunteers.  As part of the screening process, criminal (CORI) and motor vehicle (MVR) checks as well as references should be obtained and reviewed without exception.  CORI and MVR checks can be outsourced to a third-party for a nominal fee. Subsequent monitoring at predetermined intervals should also be performed. Overlooking one step in this process can lead to claims by staff, parents, victims, volunteers and multiple other third parties against your institution.

Employees at all levels also need to know that they are required to report any criminal activity.  If the response from the employer is dismissive, they should go directly to the local police because the victim is always more important than the institution.

Since no action can be full proof, managing the risk through insurance products is also a viable means to protect your institution from the devastating financial damages that can occur. A priority should be to review the scope of coverage and adequacy of limits included in your current insurance program. Specifically, the Directors’ & Officers’ Liability policy should be checked for coverage related to claims of mismanagement as respects employment and hiring practices.  The Employment Practices Liability policy should be examined for the scope of coverage related to sexual harassment claims.  Lastly, the Sexual Abuse Liability grant in the General Liability program should be examined for the extent of coverage provided. If you have an exposure, you likely have a limitation built into your policy and this would likely be the target for a student-related claim.  These are all areas of very significant risk for organizations serving youth and therefore warrant attention.

Unfortunately with signs of the insurance market hardening and the numerous sexual abuse stories related to youth in the news, underwriters will likely be limiting their capacity and offering less coverage at a higher premium.  It helps to have a skilled broker who is well-versed in these coverages to negotiate on your behalf. For more information, please contact us.

About the Author

Ronni Rausch is a Vice President at WGA, and works with a variety of clients, from public entity/not for profit institutions to professional consulting and financial firms. Her goal is to always negotiate the broadest possible programs at the most competitive premiums available for her clients.

617.646.0322 RRausch@wgains.com Connect with Ronni on LinkedIn


  1. Stephan
    March 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    It is a very big problem having a troublesome teen within an institution and worse if there are more of them. If an institution can’t control those teens then their reputation will become bad in the eyes of the parents. But if an institution develops a method to control those kinds of teens then it would be very impressive.

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