Yankow, Henry G.||Oosting, Bernard R.||Novak, Ralph S.
M.S. (Master of Science)
College of Business
INTRODUCTION. This study is to determine what protection, in the form of liability insurance, school districts have to identify themselves against judgments and investigations due to the tort liability of the school district, its officers or employees. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM. 1. To determine the current liability insurance practices of school districts In Illinois. 2. To determine general considerations for selecting insurance coverages for tort liability. PROCEDURE. The data for this study came from two major sources (1) reference materials including a survey of insurance policies, and (2) a questionnaire survey. The questionnaire, sent to 113 school districts in Illinois, included questions relating to the opinion of the school district about need for insurance, liability of the school district, its officers and employees, legal and insurance advice received by the district, plus specific questions regarding types of insurance. THE EFFECT OF THE MOLITOR VERSUS KANELAND COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT CASE Of PUBLIC SCHOOL LIABILITY The law regarding school district liability has changed, particularly sines 1953 when the courts in Illinois found school districts liable to the extent of the insurance they carried. If no insurance was carried, there was still no liability. This was the opinion in Thomas versus Broadlands Community Consolidated School District. In 1955, in Tracy versus Davis the court established that immunity was to public funds, but liability could be established in the courts. The Molitor versus Kaneland Community School District decision overruled the immunity doctrine completely and held that school districts may be held liable for torts regardless of whether the school district has insurance protection or not. This 1959 decision has made tort liability insurance a necessity for schools. TORT LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGES FOR ILLINOIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS Tort liability insurance can be purchased to cover almost any potential hazard a school may be faced with. There are also some comprehensive type policies which cover more than one hazard. The insurance provides for defense, investigation, settlement, certain irradiate medical expenses, judgments and related expenses incurred from the insured occurrence. Workmen's Compensation coverage provides protection against claims, but there is no need for a judgment. Some forms of insurance also provide inspection and engineering services, especially Boiler and Machinery Insurance and Elevator Insurance. SURVEY OF THE CURRENT STATUS OF ILLINOIS PUBLIC SCHOOL LIABILITY INSURANCE PRACTICES Seventy-eight of the 113 school districts returned questionnaires, of which 75 were used in this research. Ninety-three per cent of the districts answering thought schools should be Insured, although 100 per cent did carry insurance. There were only 9 per cent of the schools that did not have help in purchasing their insurance, either through use of committee or some type of advisor. Thirty-seven per cent, or 28 schools have had out-of-court settlements, while 19 per cent, or 14 schools, have been or are being sued. The number of cases of suits and out-of-court settlements has risen dramatically since 1955, with almost as many cases since 1960 as there had been from 1930 until 1960. All schools carried Workmen's Compensation Insurance, as required by law. Seventy-four of the 75 schools carried Boiler and Machinery or Boiler Liability Insurance, while 75 carried some type of automobile insurance. Seventy-one schools carried Comprehensive General Liability Insurance. There were three or less schools carrying any of the other named peril insurance policies. Teachers are covered for unintentional liability under a policy included in their Illinois Education Association membership. There was no definite manner for the naming of the insured in the declarations section of the policies* The school district was named alone or with others in 176 of 293 policies. SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS School districts are liable for their acts of tort and should provide insurance protection for their funds as recommended by the state legislature. School trips and activities that increase the possibility of tort liability should be well planned and supervised. Almost all school districts surveyed had coverage with Workmen*s Compensation Insurance, Boiler and Machinery or Boiler Liability Insurance, Automobile and Vehicle Insurance, and Comprehensive General Liability or Comprehensive General—Automobile Insurance. School districts should review their declarations to determine exactly who is covered. This should be done with the school lawyer and insurance agent. Liability suits against school districts are increasing, and administrators should become familiar with the necessary information needed to insure protection for the district should an accident or similar occurrence happen.
Baer, Richard M., "Survey of the current status of public school liability insurance programs in Illinois" (1962). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 5156.
xiv, 108 pages
Northern Illinois University
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