A critical analysis of liability insurance and its effect on Indiana public school corporations and school board members
The purpose of the study was to determine the effects tort and actual litigation and the possible increase in the cost of errors and omissions insurance have had as reported by public school officials. The populations consisted of 138 public school corporations and 136 public school board members.The data collection instruments used in the study consisted of a 16 item instrument for the public school corporations which included a demographic section and questions regarding the availability of insurance and incidence of litigation and for the public school board members at 15 item Likert style questionnaire regarding the threat of being sued. Six null hypotheses were tested for statistical significance using an analysis of variance, Spearman Rho Correlations coefficient, and chi-square. The .05 level of significance was established as the critical probability level for the non-acceptance of hypotheses.FindingsPublic School Corporations1. There was no significant difference among the four enrollment groups when a Spearman Rho Correlation was applied as a statistical test. There was statistically significant difference; however, when the Analysis of Variance and Chi-Square statistical tests were applied.2. School corporations of 8,001 or more students paid significantly more for errors and omissions insurance school corporations of less than 1500 students paid significantly less for insurance.3. A statistically significant difference could not be established based upon the school corporation's assessed valuation for either an analysis of variance or Spearman Rho Correlation statistical test.4. In the period 1982-1987, the cost for errors and omissions insurance was significantly higher in 1987 than any of the other years. Also in 1986 the premiums were significantly higher than in 1984.5. School corporations with enrollments up to 1500 students experienced significantly fewer cases of litigation, while school corporations with 8,001 or more students experienced a significantly higher number of cases of litigation.6. Urban school corporations had significantly more cases of litigation than did rural/small town school corporations. Rural/small town school corporations had and significantly fewer cases of litigation.7. Seventy four and a half percent of the public school superintendents felt that the new state pool for liability insurance did not prevent the insurance companies form charging unusually higher premiums.8. Forty eight and two tenths percent of the superintendents felt that the new state pool for liability insurance did not encourage insurance companies to reinsure public school corporations. Thirty three and six tenths percent of the superintendents were undecided, while eighteen and one tenths percent felt the pool had a effect.9. Eighty and three tenths percent of the superintendents surveyed felt that there had been a significant increase in the cost of errors and omissions insurance.Public School Board Members1. Board members in the age category of 40-49 were significantly different from board members in the age categories of 0-39 and 50+ in that they did not feel it necessary to obtain or retain personal errors and omissions insurance because of the threat of being sued.2. The 50+ age category was significantly different than the other age categories in that they were significantly less threatened and had stronger conviction positive regarding decisions even though the threat of being sued was present.3. Age categories 40-49 and 50+ were significantly different than category 0-39 in that they were not effected by the threat of being sued for allowing corporal punishment in their school corporations.4. Male school board members agreed more than female board members that the corporation policy handbook had been updated as a result of the threat of being sued.5. College educated public school board members had stronger conviction in making difficult decisions and were less threatened by the threat of being sued than high school educated public school board members.6. The high school educated public school board members felt a significantly greater need to be familiar knowledgeable regarding the corporation policy than did college educated public school board members.7. The more formal education a public school board had the less he agreed corporal punishment should be disallowed because of the threat of being sued.8. Urban public school board members were significantly less knowledgeable regarding the newly created Indiana risk management commission than rural/small town and suburban public school board members.