Lebo schools facing significant insurance price hike

Published Jun 11, 2013 at 9:19 am (Updated Jun 11, 2013 at 9:19 am)

Mt. Lebanon school district faces a more than 20 percent increase in insurance costs for 2013-2014, from $485,000 to an estimated $585,407. The school board discussed the increase at its June 10 discussion meeting.

According to Jeff Kelly, the district’s insurance agent, the price hike is the result of two “extraordinarily bad” years of worker’s compensation claims, as well as market conditions and claims related to a deductible buy down.

A deductible buy down is essentially an insurance policy on the deductible of another insurance policy. It pays some or all of the original policy’s deductible whenever a claim is filed.

“In terms of worker’s comp claims, a custodian probably has the biggest chance for a large loss,” Kelly explained. “We see a lot of slips and falls. People in the kitchen cut themselves. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of special needs teachers who are injured working with their students.”

He said the district’s high school renovation project did not contribute to the premium increase.

Director of fiscal services Jan Klein said the district had budgeted for some increase in the cost of insurance, though not to this extent. She hopes to offset the difference by under spending in other budget categories.

Meanwhile, school board members questioned whether the district should implement additional workplace safety training.

“Is there something more we can do to reduce the number of claims?” board member Jo Posti asked. “Do we need to have a program that teaches safe lifting or knife safety, whatever the case may be?”

Superintendent Dr. Tim Steinhauer assured the board that safety training programs were already in place. He said the administration would review those programs to determine whether improvements could be made.

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