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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:
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.
Why it Works: NYSIR stabilizes coverage and rates—and cuts long-term costs.
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:
In an education environment that can change from week to week, school administrators, staff and employees 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 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education(CTLE) program.
The Curriculum: Like any good university, NYOU offers a variety of courses. Training for Building-level Emergency Response Teams, for instance, is designed to help meet requirements for annual training, providing strategic and precise responses for different emergencies. It also includes a review of Section 155.17 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Concerning School Safety Plans; emergency response team plans; training for handling emergencies, and a list of resources.
NYSIR is the only public education insurer of its kind in New York State to offer certification-quality instruction for teachers and school leaders.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 members a free program to help them 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:
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 and JV 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 after injuries 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; and 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) – www.nysir.org.
Head injury identification: This education program focuses on concussion awareness, recognition, and response and is now available in NYOU.
Controlling athletic risk exposures: This education program focuses on broader athletic topics and means to control these exposures and is now available in NYOU.
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 an average of 4.4 years old and have a GMax Force rating on 126.7.
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