NYSIR Programs and Services
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Who We Are: The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) is New York’s premier provider of property and casualty insurance for school districts and BOCES. Our insurance programs are custom-built and designed specifically for K-12 schools and BOCES across New York State.

NYSIR is a fully licensed not for profit insurance company that treats its members like family. These members get five key benefits:

  • Stable coverage and pricing
  • Long-term cost containment
  • Services and claims coverage that is proactive and partnership-based
  • An unwavering focus on managing and reducing risks
  • An excellent financial record documented by consistently strong ratings and results

How We Work: NYSIR is not-for-profit, memberowned, and member-focused.

As a not-for-profit company, NYSIR does not build profit into insurance costs.

  • Member-owners do not buy insurance as a commodity; instead, they agree to share risks, accountability, and claims costs. NYSIR functions like a risk pool—and like an extended family.
  • Without pressure to earn profits, NYSIR focuses on long-term risk management solutions.
  • In this way, NYSIR helps members contain costs by keeping school districts safe—because less risk means less likelihood of costly claims.
  • NYSIR maintains strong financials and sound reserving practices for future claims and surplus ratios that are far above industry standard – all to protect members.

Why it Works: NYSIR stabilizes coverage and rates—and cuts long-term costs.

  • Because NYSIR is a not-for-profit embracing the cost-containment value of pooling, members’ long-term costs of risk and insurance are lower than those of school districts that are subject to volatility in the commercial insurance market.
  • NYSIR keeps coverage stable by accurately pricing policies to reflect risk. In contrast, commercial insurers will often compete by underpricing coverage—that is, by not fully considering all risks in setting their prices. They then remove or weaken coverage or increase renewal pricing to improve their bottom line.
  • NYSIR avoids this volatility. For example, it has never reduced or eliminated any coverage, even after paying large claims.
  • To keep stability and protect reputations of member districts, officials, and board members, NYSIR does not settle meritless claims merely to make them go away. u Every year since 1995, NYSIR has earned an A (Excellent) rating from the respected insurance industry ratings agency A.M. Best.

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR), New York’s premier provider of property and casualty insurance for school districts and BOCES, offers public schools and BOCES a comprehensive school-based risk management program. Through collaborative service, NYSIR helps its extended family of subscribing members control the risks and exposures that can harm public school districts. NYSIR offers the prospect of safer schools and longterm cost containment through proactive risk management—as opposed to treating insurance as a mere price-sensitive commodity.

Sharing Responsibility: NYSIR is a fully licensed insurance company that offers insurance programs that are customized for public schools and BOCES across the state. NYSIR differentiates itself with focused expertise in school district risk management that tailors unique safety and risk-reduction programs for each participating member. These programs improve participants’ operations and preparedness, and help members increase safety and, thus, reduce losses and expenses.

NYSIR’s Approach to Risk Management: The NYSIR risk-management program is school specific—that is, designed to address the loss exposures unique to school districts and BOCES. NYSIR members receive the following added-value services at no cost:

  • Regular facility and operations evaluations: To identify and reduce risks, NYSIR offers members evaluations of risk at school district operations, activities, and facilities. NYSIR also performs policy and procedure reviews on such issues as district employment practices and social media and anti-bullying practices.
  • Special inspection services: Additional visits to evaluate specific areas (such as playground equipment and gymnasiums) are scheduled if requested by members. NYSIR will also assess the security of facilities and safety protocols.
  • Risk transfer: To protect members from liability, NYSIR performs risk transfer services such as reviews of service contracts and certificates of insurance compliance. NYSIR helps members reduce potential losses and claims costs by helping them appropriately transfer risk through the effective use of insurance certificates and indemnification language. These transfers typically involve users of facilities, contractors, and transportation providers. At members’ request, NYSIR will also take over the risk transfer process for facility users and transportation contractors.
  • In-district training opportunities: NYSIR offers custom, on-demand training programs for individual members. Popular sessions include training sessions for playground monitors, security staff, custodial safety, and employment liability.
  • Support material: NYSIR maintains a library of safety and risk management materials and publications for members.
  • Risk management consulting services: NYSIR members have unlimited access to NYSIR risk management staff to get answers to questions or conduct research concerning physical hazards, district activities, procedures, school security, employment practices, transportation, and waiver and release forms.
  • NYSIR regional seminars: With its strategic partners, NYSIR sponsors regional seminars throughout New York to address current trends and legal issues that create potential loss exposures for public school districts and BOCES. Topics include: playground safety, school violence, employment practices liability, antibullying, sports and athletic safety, risk transfer, and boiler and electrical safety.
  • Training opportunities: NYSIR offers both web-based and customized training programs for school district employees.

In an education environment that can change from week to week, school administrators, educators and staff need to take advantage of every available resource to train, update their knowledge base and stay on top of the latest in risk management techniques. NYSIR’s Online University (NYOU) helps them do just that.

Hosted by First Net Learning, NYOU courses are self-paced. Users can start when they want, pause if they need to, and then jump right back in where they left off. Even better, many of the programs are eligible for credit in the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) program.

The Curriculum:

Like any good university, NYOU offers a variety of courses. A new course provides the training for all school district employees in discrimination and harassment prevention which is mandated by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR). 

Another new course offering provides an interactive experience on preventing phishing and malware attacks. This 20-minute course is an excellent way to educate your staff on how to prevent cyber-attacks. Coming soon will be three additional Cyber Security-related training modules on protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Malware.

A separate online course is designed to support district and BOCES employees in need of annual education related to New York’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). It covers all required aspects of training and includes numerous informative resources. It is not, however, meant to be a replacement for state-mandated DASA Coordinator training, nor does it meet requirements for state licensing and certification.

NYOU’s Head Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) includes 11 different training modules. One provides an overview of the program and the role of Concussion Team members; another engages users in a discussion about concussion awareness, recognition and responses to potential head injuries; other modules include various proactive athletic risk management programs including Bullying and Hazing in Athletics to a new three-part program on Returning to Learn and Play. Each contains a short quiz that must be completed to receive credit for
the course.

In addition, NYOU offers NYSIR member school district and BOCES employees a Hazard Communication (‘Right-To-Know’) training program. The course updates the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and provides a common sense and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.

Playground Safety is comprised of two separate courses: one for playground monitors and supervisors that emphasizes techniques for managing students on playgrounds, and another for custodial and facilities personnel that covers playground inspections. Both courses were recently updated.

A Special Education course is designed to help district administrators and educators better understand the referral and evaluation process for students who may need special education services. Users also can help themselves to Resource Folders in each module which contain pertinent support materials related to the training topics.


As mentioned earlier, NYSIR is a provider of CTLE-approved education programs, a designation that allows teachers and school district and BOCES leaders to take advantage of select NYOU training programs to maintain certification. 

Under NYSED regulations, superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, district business officials, teachers and level- three teaching assistants are required to accumulate 100 hours of education-related training every five years to maintain their certifications. 24 of the 30 courses in NYOU are eligible for CTLE Credit.

NYSIR is the only public education insurer in New York State certified to offer high-quality education courses for CTLE credit to educators and school leaders.

NYSIR Online University offers educators resources to help them train, update their knowledge base and stay on top of the latest education related risk management techniques.

ADVANTAGE NYSIR: NYSIR Online University Course List

Continuing education and training for school administrators, teachers, staff and volunteers has never been easier. NYSIR’s Online University (NYOU) offers modules and courses—many eligible for New York State Education Department-approved (NYSED) CTLE credits— that can be taken in school settings or at home, 24/7. Whether it’s in the classroom or the family room, NYOU offers the school community resources to update their knowledge base, meet compliance requirements and stay on top of the latest education-related risk management techniques.

NYSIR Symposium College

  • NYSIR Symposium Module 1: Childhood Sexual Abuse: Building Resilience Through Mental Health Literacy
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 2: From Hysteria to Hope: Bringing Reason to the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 3: Monsters Lurking in Plain Sight: Protecting Children from Predators
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 4: A Superintendent’s Perspective on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 5: Gangs and Child Sex Trafficking
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 6: Board Policies, Legal Implications and Defenses for Schools

Emergency Management College

  • Signs Matter: Early Detection. An Online Suicide Prevention Training Program for Education Professionals
  • Building-Level Emergency Response Team Training

Head Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) College

  • HIPP Module 1: Overview of NYSIR HIPP and Concussion Teams
  • HIPP Module 2: Awareness, Recognition and Response to Suspected Concussions
  • HIPP Module 3: Return to Learn and Play Case Study
  • HIPP Module 4: Legal Liability and Defenses for Athletic Claims
  • HIPP Module 5: Athletic Risk Management Challenges
  • HIPP Module 6: Benefits of Athletic Trainers
  • HIPP Module 7: Bullying and Hazing in Athletics – Part 1
  • HIPP Module 8: Bullying and Hazing in Athletics – Part 2
  • HIPP Module 9: Return to Learn and Play – Part 1
  • HIPP Module 10: Return to Learn and Play – Part 2
  • HIPP Module 11: Return to Learn and Play – Part 3

Playground Safety College

  • Playground Supervision *Newly Revised
  • Playground Inspection *Newly Revised

School Administration College

  • Discrimination and Harassment for Employees and Supervisors (New)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Hazard Communication (Right-To-Know)
  • Nurse Liability Part 1
  • Nurse Liability Part 2
  • Preventing Phishing
  • Referral and Evaluation for Special Education
  • Responsible Use of Social Media
  • Signs Matter: Early Detection. An Online Suicide Prevention Training Program for Education Professionals
  • The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) *Newly Revised

CTLE College (Continuing Teacher and Leader Education Program)

These CTLE-approved courses have been arranged in one list for educators seeking CTLE hours.

  • NYSIR Symposium Module 1: Childhood Sexual Abuse: Building Resilience Through Mental Health Literacy – 1.5 Hours
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 2: From Hysteria to Hope: Bringing Reason to the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse – 1.5 Hours
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 3: Monsters Lurking in Plain Sight: Protecting Children from Predators – 1.5 Hours
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 4: A Superintendent’s Perspective on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse – 1 Hour
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 5: Gangs and Child Sex Trafficking – 1 Hour
  • NYSIR Symposium Module 6: Board Policies, Legal Implications and Defenses for Schools – 1 Hour
  • Signs Matter: Early Detection. An Online Suicide Prevention Training Program for Education Professionals – 1.5 Hours
  • Building-Level Emergency Response Team Training – 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 2 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 4 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 5 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 6 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 7 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 8 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 9 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 10 - 1 Hour
  • Head Injury Prevention Program Module 11 - 1 Hour
  • Discrimination and Harassment for Employees and Supervisors – 1 Hour * New
  • Bloodborne Pathogens – 1 Hour
  • Hazard Communication (Right-To-Know) – 1 Hour
  • Nurse Liability Part 1 – 1 Hour
  • Nurse Liability Part 2 – 1 Hour
  • Referral and Evaluation for Special Education – 1 Hour
  • The Dignity for All Students Act (Newly Revised) – 1 Hour

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) offers participating school districts and BOCES exemplary coverage, stable pricing, and long-term cost containment. It also offers distinctive coverage innovations:

  • No general aggregate limits on liability coverage: Many insurance policies cap general liability payments with “annual aggregate limits.” If such a policy provides $8 million in coverage to a school district that has three $8 million claims in the same year, the insurer pays no more than $8 million total, requiring the district or BOCES to pay the rest. If NYSIR provides $8 million in insurance, it pays the first $8 million on each claim.
  • Flood insurance: Some insurers offer little or no flood coverage in flood-prone areas. NYSIR offers members $1 million in excess flood coverage, and members that purchase excess flood insurance get earthquake coverage at no added charge.
  • Windstorm coverage: Unlike many policies, NYSIR coverage requires no separate deductible or coinsurance requirement for losses sustained from windstorms.
  • Excess catastrophe liability: NYSIR offers the most comprehensive umbrella coverage (that is, excess catastrophe liability insurance) with per-occurrence limits of up to $25 million—and no general aggregate limitations on claim payments.
  • Sexual misconduct coverage: NYSIR was the first New York insurer of public schools to affirmatively endorse sexual misconduct coverage, and its policies’ terms remain far better than other insurers’. For example, NYSIR policies impose no separate deductibles, sub-limits, self-insured retention limits, and other restrictive terms and conditions on such claims.
  • Enhanced “errors and omissions” coverage: When NYSIR defends a school district or BOCES in litigation involving employment practices liability or school board legal liability, NYSIR pays all legal expenses for covered claims. This can save members thousands of dollars.
  • School bus replacement: Since NYSIR’s earliest days, its leaders have made it a priority to replace at full value any totaled school bus that is 10 years old or newer. Most commercial policies weigh depreciation and cover less than full replacement cost.
  • Opposition to meritless claims: NYSIR aggressively fights meritless claims. This practice has saved members millions of dollars while shielding reputations of member school districts, BOCES and school administrators and discouraging meritless claims.

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) offers participating school districts and BOCES stable coverage and pricing as well as long-term cost containment. NYSIR’s superior, individualized risk management programs and services enhance the long term value to NYSIR’s extended family of subscribing members.

Risk management and safety programs: NYSIR offers risk management and safety programs that are unsurpassed in breadth and quality. Examples include:

  • Multiple training programs for district representatives at local sites, and at regional and statewide events.
  • NYSIR’s Enhanced Risk Transfer program: As part of its commitment to transfer risk to responsible parties, NYSIR personally reviews safety- and risk-related documents and counsels school districts on them, including certificates of insurance, hold-harmless agreements, insurance requirements, and contracts.
  • Support of and participation in school districts’ safety committees.
  • Free inspections of district/BOCES facilities annually, providing practical recommendations to help reduce risk.

Claims administration: NYSIR’s sophisticated, member-oriented, and personalized claims management seeks quick, fair settlements in most cases but vigorously defends members facing meritless claims. The claims management team includes experienced insurance executives, claims examiners, and veteran investigators and attorneys. About 60 percent of liability claims against NYSIR members end with no indemnity payments to others for damage, injury, or loss. NYSIR also brings about 30 cases a year to trial. Over the last five years, 80 percent of verdicts have favored the school district NYSIR is defending. This protects school officials’ reputations—and helps contain long-term insurance costs.

Fixed asset appraisals: NYSIR contracts with an approved service provider to offer a free, independent appraisal of all members’ fixed assets every five years. The appraisal meets standards imposed by the New York State Office of the Comptroller and the GASB-34 standards. This appraisal also ensures that NYSIR members have accurately valued property for insurance protection.

Verify Driver License Credentials: The NYSIR program includes proactive, continuous license monitoring and driver data management services of district-employed drivers along with pre-employment checks and “school bus qualified” verification for charter or coach bus field trips to ensure drivers are licensed and in compliance with state and federal driving regulations.

Professional group support: NYSIR joins associations that support school district officials, participates actively in them, and sponsors their conference programs. These groups include the New York School State Boards Association, the Council of School Superintendents, the Association of School Business Officials, the New York State School Facilities Association, the New York State Association of Pupil Transport, and the Rural Schools Association, among others.

Scholarships: NYSIR awards college scholarships to support students at member school districts in honor of different individuals who have served NYSIR in the past. These scholarships are awarded in all regions of the state to individuals with special physical or learning challenges and/or unique creative gifts as well as two for a students with a record of involvement in humanitarian activities. NYSIR also awards scholarships to school officials to support continuing education or professional development activities through its connections with the associations

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) records some 3,400 new claims a year, including liability and physical damage claims, for school districts and BOCES that are NYSIR members, or “subscribers.” NYSIR settles claims quickly and fairly but vigorously defends members when meritless claims are brought against them. This reflects NYSIR’s standing as a member-owned, member driven organization that provides the best, most personal support to members in need of help after any unfortunate event.

Property claims: NYSIR strives to resolve property claims as quickly as possible so affected school entities can resume full operations. NYSIR works closely with the insured to learn what is needed to restore full operations. For example, unlike most commercial insurance, NYSIR coverage will replace a “totaled” school bus that is 10 years old or younger with a comparable new bus. This has been a priority for NYSIR and the school business officials who rely on it since NYSIR’s earliest days.

Liability claims: NYSIR settles meritorious general liability claims promptly but vigorously opposes claims deemed to be without merit. Other insurers often settle such claims for reduced amounts, sacrificing money and the reputations of school districts and school officials solely to avoid litigation.

Team-based management: NYSIR’s strong claims team includes experienced insurance executives, claims examiners, and veteran investigators and attorneys who are long-time NYSIR partners. Both claims examiners and external partners are also assigned responsibility for NYSIR member school entities on a regional basis, so they develop relationships with those they regularly serve.

Outcomes: More than 50 percent of liability claims against members of NYSIR’s family of subscribers typically end with no compensation awarded to others for damage, injury, or loss. In many cases, no liability is found; sometimes NYSIR is able to transfer liability—for example, to an outside entity that was using school property and/ or was responsible for the event that triggered the claim. NYSIR also typically brings to trial about 30 claims per year. Over the last five years, 80 percent of verdicts have been in favor of the BOCES or school district that NYSIR is defending and have protected school officials’ reputations.

Effects on costs: Defending meritless claims can increase short-term expenses, but in the long term, this aggressive approach to claims management controls costs. NYSIR’s approach is well established and predictable, and the plaintiffs’ bar has come to recognize the hazards of pursuing dubious claims against NYSIR subscribers.

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) Property Valuation Program is provided to assist members with establishing supportable property values to address both insurance and GASB-34 property cost accounting requirements. The program is managed by CBIZ Valuation Group, LLC (CBIZ), which has been providing property insurance and capital asset data collection and valuation services for more than 30 years. The program offers districts skilled professional consultants, technology, innovative service offerings and unparalleled customer service. As your property valuation consultants, our primary focus is to make your business easier.

Services: NYSIR members are eligible to receive a paid valuation every five years, a service that includes:

  • A physical valuation of your district’s buildings and contents
  • NYSIR-compliant insurance valuation reports
  • GASB-34 property cost accounting reports

Expertise: A subsidiary of CBIZ, Inc. (NYSE: CBZ), we are one of the largest full-service valuation firms in the United States offering the resources of a national company with the personal service you expect from a local partner. Our consulting solutions are designed to meet financial reporting, external audit and property control requirements.

The Benefit: We know that an educated and experienced staff is only part of developing a successful project team that results in a top-notch analysis. Additionally, it requires a commitment to quality and the ability to communicate effectively with all our clients. Every client has specific needs. At CBIZ, we dedicate the time to understand your needs and expectations and take pride in surpassing them.

BOCES Inventory and Valuation Services: The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal Property Valuation Program is provided to assist members with establishing supportable property values to address both insurance and GASB-34 property cost-accounting requirements. NYSIR recognizes the unique inventory and appraisal requirements of BOCES and has tailored services to meet those specific needs.

Program Highlights Include:

  • Working with BOCES to identify requirements, inventory threshold and existing fixed-asset processes and policies
  • Conducting a full walk-through of campus-based educational programs and administrative sites
  • All asset descriptive information and locations are verified. Assets are either reconciled to existing information or assigned a value by CBIZ.
  • An inventory of offsite programs in supported districts or unique locations (hospitals, correctional facilities)
  • Centralized inventory of equipment assigned to itinerate employees
  • Identification and recording of any construction projects or leasehold improvements made by BOCES

Regional Information Center (RIC) Inventory and Valuation Services: In addition to BOCES-based services referenced above, NYSIR also funds the inventory and valuation of equipment supplied to member districts through the RIC. The commitment includes all member districts (NYSIR and non-NYSIR) on a five-year cycle.

Program Highlights Include:

  • Working with the RIC to ascertain current inventory, status and barcode tagging procedures
  • Using existing inventory and specialized inventory software, CBIZ distinguishes RIC equipment from district-owned assets and records the location of assets by individual classroom.
  • The RIC inventory can either be done in conjunction with a district appraisal or by itself. Joint district and RIC inventories decrease the resources required by a district’s technology and facilities staff.
  • Full insurance valuation of all RIC equipment for insurance and accounting purposes.

CBIZ Valuation Group (CBIZ) offers a variety of capital asset updating service options that are designed to provide NYSIR members with flexible and costeffective solutions for keeping their databases updated during the five years between NYSIR paid valuations. We recommend annual updates to keep records current for fixed- asset reporting in relation to GASB-34 and GAAP reporting requirements, as well as maintaining accurate insurable values for insurance placement and proof-of-loss documentation.

Electronic Spreadsheet Update: This service offers districts an electronic method of updating their valuation and property inventory records. Using our pre-formatted electronic data sheet, a district can enter or upload changes to their property inventory records (additions, deletions, donations and capital projects) and submit those changes annually to CBIZ via email. Changes are then reviewed and appended to the district’s most recent valuation data file.

Limited On-Site Update Service: Under this option, CBIZ visits member districts annually and will work with their representatives to identify additions, disposals and transfers based on current-year purchase orders and other records made available. CBIZ will provide an Excel template that districts can use for tracking activity. This service is customized to address a district’s individual requirements and can be scheduled annually, quarterly or biannually.

Comprehensive On-Site Re-Inventory: This option offers districts on-site assistance with updates to their valuation and property inventory records by completing a comprehensive scanned reinventory consistent with the scope of the initial physical inventory project. This service includes use of CBIZ data collection tools and proprietary data collection software application. CBIZ’s re-inventory service can be customized to address a district’s specific requirements and can be completed annually or scheduled every two, three or four years.

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR), New York’s premier provider of property and casualty insurance for school districts and BOCES, offers all members access to free crisis communication services from an experienced strategic communications firm in approved instances. When a school district or BOCES faces the perception or reality that it has done something wrong, timely counsel from communications experts on what to say, when, and how can minimize damage to reputations of school districts and school district officials. It can also limit impact on the district and its taxpayers of future liability claims.

How it Works: When a member school district or BOCES faces any crisis that requires sensitive stakeholder communications, it can ask NYSIR to approve strategic communications services from either of two New York State-based PR firms with extensive experience in school-based crisis communications. NYSIR’s counselors have broad national experience conducting training and providing urgent counsel on a range of school-based crises, including cases of murder, bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct, accidental death on school sites, and so on. Strategic communications services provided can include: message development; messenger training and coaching; media relations; writing/editing of releases, letters, speeches, op-eds, social media posts, and other common PR materials; and other tasks as circumstances dictate. Services will typically be provided by phone, email, and/or Skype. NYSIR will pay approved professional fees for up to eight hours of services within the first 48 hours of the crisis. In certain circumstances, NYSIR may approve additional spending. The member district or BOCES will cover expenses for any assignment that requires travel to a school or BOCES site. The district or BOCES may negotiate a separate contract with the PR firm for additional services if it wishes.

Why it Matters: These available services help member school districts or BOCES focus appropriate attention and energy on the need to speak promptly and forthrightly about the challenge or crisis and how they are responding to it. Like any organization, school entities may risk compounding the damage or creating a whole new crisis if they are seen as speaking slowly, clumsily, incompletely, or disingenuously to parents, students, employees, journalists, elected officials, and other stakeholders. 

Dealing with bad news? Whatever you do, don’t go it alone. Before you talk to the media, talk with a crisis communication specialist. EMA has been providing formal media and crisis training for over 20 years. We’ve helped countless organizational leaders learn how to successfully manage interviews while facing tough questions.

Do nothing when a crisis occurs and your reputation will surely suffer. But properly managed, a crisis can actually become an opportunity. The best way to manage a crisis is to avoid it in the first place. Draw on our extensive “battlefield experience” to get your organization crisisready with critical risk assessments and crisis planning. Our Customized Crisis Training program teaches executives and company spokespeople the skills necessary to the make the right decisions under fire. Your good reputation is too valuable to risk.

Components of Crisis Training Program by Eric Mower + Associates: Our workshop teaches senior management how to manage perceptions of the situation by communicating properly during the initial hours of a crisis. Specifically, we teach:

  • How to recognize and properly identify a crisis n What an effective crisis communications plan contains
  • What to do, step by step, during the critical initial stages of a crisis
  • How to respond to the media, officials and the public in today’s Internet-driven world
  • Relevant media training fundamentals for your spokespersons and crisis team members

During our half-day training, we focus exclusively on sessions that incorporate active levels of participant interaction. These sessions provide deep insight into trainees’ performance and their ultimate capabilities. Organizations benefit from learning the differing strengths and weaknesses of their potential spokespersons.

Because it is important for individuals to clearly understand the behavior of the media, we spend time revealing reporters’ motivations and the techniques they typically utilize during interviews. With this understanding, interviewees gain the confidence and knowledge they need to manage the interview, rather than being managed by it.

Our training sessions can also provide a critical “test run” for an organization’s key messages and its ability to effectively address a specific issue. The “message development” component of our training often results in more focused and persuasive communications.

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) will provide a safety grant annually for our member BOCES to purchase an Emergency Management Program. NYSIR has identified two programs from two companies that each BOCES can choose from. Learn more about Venuetize and its product Rapid Responder on this page and from the attachment. We encourage the BOCES to review and make a choice to access this safety plan upgrade supported by NYSIR.

Services: The program takes the required safety plans and digitizes them for protected easy access, updating and sharing. Rapid Responder provides full implementation and software support. NYSIR will provide the safety grant for up to four sites/campuses as defined by Venuetize.

Expertise: Rapid Responder is an All-Hazards Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management System, SAFETY Act Certified by the Department of Homeland Security, that securely stores critical information for use by campus personnel and first responders. Rapid Responder is the most widely deployed school crisis management system in the United States protecting thousands of campuses across the country. The system replaces your three-ring binder, providing the most updated emergency response information quickly to all crisis response team members and first responders. The system can also be used for day-to-day campus security management, tracking of drills, incidents, training and certification.

Benefits: Regardless of the emergency situation (e.g. active shooter, property damage, vandalism, or natural disaster) Rapid Responder gives school administration the ability to display and access everything from floor plans, emergency response plans, digital images, escape routes and communicate action plans for faster response times. Collaboration with first responders allows schools to prepare and manage every incident with enhanced relationships with local authorities. Access reports with specific details and imagery for both record requirements and insurance claims.

Crime threatens significant losses for all employers, including schools. A 2014 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examinersi estimates occupational fraud alone costs a typical organization 5 percent of revenues each year; fewer than half of victim organizations recover any fraud-related losses. To address the risk of loss from employee theft and other specified fraud activity, NYSIR offers its members commercial coverage provided by Travelersii for dishonest acts by employees, volunteers, and individuals who steal district property. Other perils covered by the policy include forgery (including credit card forgery), thefts of money and securities, computer fraud crimes, and funds transfer fraud.

Coverage: Typical Travelers crime policies written for NYSIR members provide coverage for dishonest acts starting at $1 million per occurrence; members may choose different limits on coverage, and some opt to increase coverage to $5 million per loss. The policy limit is applicable to each single loss event occurring during the policy period. These crime policies cover losses caused by employees and volunteers, including board members and officers of parent-teacher organizations and booster clubs.

  • Employee Dishonesty: This coverage part responds to claims arising from dishonest acts of employees. This includes theft of the insured’s money, securities, or property other than money and securities. For example, an employee theft of school district funds, such as cases in which an employee establishes a fraudulent vendor and authorizes payments to such vendor, but in reality, the funds are directed to an account controlled by the employee.
  • Computer Fraud/Funds Transfer Fraud: This coverage part responds to fraud perpetrated by a third party such as computer crime, in which fraudulent changes are made to data contained within a computer system, resulting in payments made to an alternate location, or when an unknown hacker obtains passcode information and uses it to transfer funds out of the insured’s transfer account.
  • Faithful Performance of Duty: This insurance covers claims resulting not from crimes but from an employee’s failure to competently satisfy professional duties. The program provides coverage for all employees whose duties are prescribed by law. New York’s Public Officers Law requires all school districts to carry such coverage, and all school entities that purchase the coverage through the NYSIR program have it on their policies. Some other carriers do not provide this coverage.
  • Incurred Claim Expenses: This coverage part provides up to $20,000 to cover expenses incurred to document loss or its magnitude, such as the cost of hiring a forensic auditor.
  • Computer Virus: The policy provides up to $100,000 to restore and/or recover electronic data that was lost as a result of a virus or another covered incident, such as hacking.
  • Social Engineering Fraud: This coverage, up to $100,000, pertains to schemes designed to intentionally mislead employees into sending money or diverting a payment based on fraudulent information provided to the employee in a written or verbal communication such as email, fax, letter or phone call.
  • Discovery Form: This means the policy responds for losses that occurred before the current coverage period but that are discovered by the school or BOCES during the current policy period.

This crime insurance can cover losses due to acts committed by individuals employed by non-covered government entities who serve as “designated agents” for the insured school entity—such as a town tax collector who also collects school taxes. NYSIR members can also choose to buy up to $100,000 of coverage for other “designated agents” at other government entities, such as employees shared by more than one school district. 

School entities’ exposure to cyber-risk is a growing and rapidly evolving concern. In 2016, NYSIR moved to address this trend by incorporating cyber-risk insurance by endorsement into its general liability policy. NYSIR provides two-part data breach insurance known as CyberOne and Data Compromise to a $250,000 limit each, at no additional premium charge for all NYSIR member districts and BOCES. The insurance will cover “first-party” direct costs of dealing with breaches of privacy or failures of security as well as “thirdparty” claims by affected individuals or government entities acting on their behalf. Additional coverage is available, up to $1 million for subscribers who apply and qualify, at a modest premium cost.

CyberOne insurance helps school districts pay for the costs associated with restoring computer systems and recovering data as well as protecting against “third-party” liabilities a district might have as a result of a failure of system security.

  • Computer attack coverage provides up to a $250,000 aggregate limit as a result of a computer attack by an unauthorized person who gains access to your computer system and causes damage to your computers or data. Covered expenses include:
    • Data restoration costs: Coverage for the cost of a professional firm hired by the insured to replace lost or corrupted data from electronic sources.
    • Data recreation costs: Coverage for the cost of a professional firm hired by the insured to research, recreate, and replace lost or corrupted data from non-electronic sources.
    • System restoration costs: Coverage for the cost of a professional firm hired by the insured to restore its computer system to its preattack level of functionality by replacing or reinstalling software, removing malicious code, and correcting the configuration of the insured’s computer system.
    • Loss of business: Coverage for business income lost by the insured and extra expenses incurred by the insured during the period of time when system and data recovery activities are taking place.
    • Public relations services: Coverage for assistance from a professional PR firm in communicating with outside parties on the computer attack and the insured’s response.
  • Network security liability coverage provides for defense costs (within the coverage limit) and associated settlement and judgment costs arising from an action brought by third parties that allege certain injuries caused by a failure in the insured’s systems security. The $250,000 annual aggregate limit for network security liability is advantageously separate from the limit that applies to computer attack coverage.

Data Compromise coverage is designed to help public school entities cover expenses in financial, legal, and service obligations associated with an unauthorized disclosure of personal information. Also included are defense and liability costs related to that personal data breach.

  • Response expense coverage pays for postbreach notification requirements and other coverage first-party expenses up to a $250,000 aggregate, include:
    • Notification of affected individuals: Provides for notification of “affected individuals.” This coverage includes reimbursement of associated expenses.
    • Services to affected individuals: Coverage for the following services to “affected individuals:” a packet of informational materials; access to a toll-free help line; one year of credit monitoring; and identity restoration case management. These services are provided free to the affected individuals for 12 months from the date of the notice.
    • Forensic information technology: Expense for experts to determine the nature and extent of the breach.
    • Legal review: Expense to consult with legal counsel to ensure that subscribers have the access and means to obtain professional legal advice and to understand notification responsibilities.
    • Public relations services: Coverage for professional PR firm to review and respond to the potential impact of the data compromise on the insured’s business relationships.
  • Defense and liability coverage up to an aggregate limit of $250,000 provides for defense costs (covered within limits) and associated liability costs that arise from an action brought by “affected individuals” or government entities on behalf of third parties. Data Compromise Insurance coverages both settlements with “affected individuals” as well as judgements rendered. 

School entities remain liable for their districtemployed drivers, and those who are not properly vetted are a greater risk to districts. Pupil transportation in New York State is regulated by several agencies, including NYS Education Department and the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles.

NYSIR partnered with License Monitor Inc. (LMI) in the Fall of 2007 to offer member school districts and BOCES a risk management tool to monitor driver license activity and to manage driver data of district-employed school bus drivers. NYSIR recognizes school entities’ liability extends to those beyond bus drivers and has expanded on the coverage that LMI has previously provided NYSIR members. Effective July 1, 2017 the risk management tool is being expanded to include preemptive monitoring for all district-employed drivers.

How it Works: License Monitor, Inc. provides proactive license monitoring and driver data management services through its secure online program. Driver license activity is continuously reported, allowing users to ensure that unlicensed or unqualified drivers are not operating district vehicles. Authorized users receive daily email alerts reporting driver license activity and 19A status reports. 

The program also offers a fully integrated 19A compliance monitor to track NYS Education Department and NYS DMV Article 19A requirements, allowing users to ensure that unlicensed or unqualified drivers are known prior to operating district vehicles.

Furthermore, the program allows NYSIR members to access a feature that can run instant motor vehicle records for preemployment purposes, which allows NYSIR members to quickly and efficiently verify driver license status of employment candidates.

Why it Matters: This service allows NYSIR members an effective way to organize and manage driver license activity, saving time and resources. This tool further ensures that the district is properly protected, and no unauthorized operator is driving for the district. This enhanced coverage reflects NYSIR’s tradition of providing the best, most comprehensive tools to members to ensure safety and the best coverage available.

NYSIR offers a free program to help members manage risks from scholastic sports, including the risk of head injuries. This comprehensive program provides improved protection to NYSIR members’ student athletes and increases the knowledge of key district professionals. The program includes:

  • Cognitive baseline and post-concussion testing of student athletes.
  • Ongoing educational seminars related to controlling athletic risk management exposures and the prevention and management of head injuries.
  • Data analysis and eventual correlation studies of athletic playing surfaces.

Cost: The program is free to all NYSIR members. Other school districts and BOCES must pay for these services. NYSIR knows of no other insurer that provides this service at no cost.

Proactive cognitive testing: NYSIR works with ImPACT Applications to conduct baseline cognitive testing every two years to evaluate student athletes who compete in 15 varsity, JV and modified contact sports. The program will also pay for post-concussion testing of any students whose injuries subject them to school district concussion protocols. Tests done after suspected concussions help clinical professionals compare students’ cognitive abilities to results from baseline tests and then make decisions on whether students may return to competition. The results also aid in developing plans for return to learning. Testing is web-based and is administered in computer labs or other designated areas. The program provides testing for athletes in: alpine skiing; baseball; cheerleading; field hockey; football; gymnastics; softball; wrestling; men’s and women’s basketball, diving, hockey, lacrosse, pole vault/high jump, soccer and volleyball.

Educational seminars: NYSIR-sponsored seminars in controlling athletic risk management exposures and managing and preventing head injuries are delivered regionally and are available in NYSIR’s Online University (NYOU).

Head injury identification: This education program focuses on concussion awareness, recognition, and response.

Controlling athletic risk exposures: This education program focuses on broader athletic topics and means to control these exposures.
Returning to learn and play: This three-part education program focuses on factors to consider as student athletes recover post-concussion for success in the classroom and returning to practice and play. It is now available in NYOU.

USA Football “Head’s Up” Coaches Training: In partnership with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc. (NYSPHSAA), NYSIR sponsors this training for football coaches to become certified in this training initiative. Contact Todd Nelson at NYSPHSAA for further details and registration information.

Athletic surfaces: Fifty-six percent of NYSIR member student athletes play on synthetic surfaces while 44 percent play on natural surfaces. The synthetic surfaces these student athletes play on are 4.4 years old and have a GMax Force rating on 126.7 on average.


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800-IS-NYSIR (800-476-9747)

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