Current liability insurance practices for professional personnel in Indiana public school corporations
The purpose of the study was to investigate current liability insurance practices for professional school corporation personnel in Indiana. Fifty rural and fifty urban school corporations were surveyed with regard to: (1) number and character of suits against school corporations or professional. school corporation personnel, (2) amount of current liability insurance protection carried by school corporations, (3) degree of legal representation of school corporations and school corporation personnel, and (4) opinions of respondents about educational malpractice. An instrument developed to gather data elicited responses from 52 percent of urban and 6-8 percent of rural school corporations in the sample.An analysis of data was completed to test two null hypotheses with regard to: (1) need for liability insurance and (2) employment of legal counsel. Additional data were compiled arid reported descriptively in order to draw conclusions regarding the current status of personal liability insurance protection within Indiana school corporations. Findings of the study included:Urban school corporations had a significantly greater need for liability insurance as measured by number of suits involving school corporations or professional school corporation personnel. Respondents from 57.7 percent of urban school corporations reported involvement in at least thirty liability actions between 1972 and 1977. Respondents from 26.5 percent of rural school corporations reported involvement in ten liability actions between 1972 and 1977.Negligence and personal injury were grounds most often reported for school related liability actions, especially in actions involving urban school corporations.Judgments rendered against rural school corporations were settled for an average of $9,975. Judgments against urban school corporations were settled for an average of $14,506.Written teacher dismissal policies had been established by 58.8 percent of rural and 88.5 percent of urban school corporations.Results of a Chi-Square test indicated that no significant difference existed between rural and urban school corporations in the employment of legal counsel. Urban school corporations pay more than twice the yearly fee for legal services dealing with personal liability than rural school corporations. Legal counsel provided by school corporations would not represent employees from almost 40 percent of Indiana school corporations in liability litigation.Urban school corporations provide for more types of liability, greater amounts of coverage, and larger deductibles for liability insurance than rural counterparts. Deductibles in excess of $1,000 were obtained on 16.9 percent of all coverages with deductibles purchased by rural school corporations and on 52.6 percent of all coverages with deductibles purchased by urban school corporations. Four rural and nine urban school corporations reported deductibles of $10,000.Amount of annual premium paid varies with type and amount of coverage, amount of deductible, school corporation enrollment, number of school officials and number of school employees covered. Rural school corporations were providing liability insurance protection at an average premium rate of $1.20 per student enrolled. Urban school corporations were providing liability insurance protection at an average premium rate of $1.17 per student enrolled.School officials and employees from rural school corporations which have not been involved in liability actions tend to be less wary of implications of educational malpractice than school officials and employees from urban school corporations or from rural school corporations which have been involved in liability actions.