Be Early to the Risk Management Dance in 2021

By Carey Schuett posted 11-23-2020 04:45 PM


Co-authored by Adam Balls.

The year 2020 has been a most trying year for all aspects of our society. Education has been affected as severely as any area of the community. Unfortunately, the insurance industry has seen change as well and is causing additional financial pressure to our schools. Throughout Q3, the public entity marketplace has expressed concerns and imposed material term changes at expirations, including:

  • Aggregation of limits across historically dedicated lines of coverage for both individual risk and pooling structures
  • Distinct communicable disease/organic pathogen exclusions
  • Pressure for affirmative sexual abuse language to be written into memorandums of coverage and/or policy forms
  • Fewer markets having appetites for Law Enforcement Liability

Judy Greenwald, writing for Business Insurance, references a recent press release from Willis Towers Watson PLC. Hardening market conditions will continue throughout 2021, although property increases will begin to moderate by midyear, and umbrella and D&O liability rates will become more predictable, although rates will continue to climb.

Buyers should conservatively anticipate rates to increase as follows:

  • Property rates could increase 10 to 25 percent next year up from 10 to 20 percent in the spring.
  • General liability rates could increase 7.5 to 15 percent up from 5 percent.
  • Umbrella and excess rates to could see up to 40 percent increases.
  • Auto rates will increase 8 to 15 percent up from 6-12 percent.
  • D&O (School Leaders Legal Liability) rates could increase up to 30 percent
  • Cyber coverage rates to rise 10-30 percent


School Districts in Ohio can best address the hardening insurance market by implementing the following steps.

  1. Ask for renewal terms and conditions as early as possible. Getting renewal terms 90-120 days prior to renewal allows for flexibility to seek other quotes.
  2. Make sure all underwriting information is updated and clean. Carriers and reinsurers are all about data. The cleanest and most detailed data will get the best interest from underwriting.
  3. Evaluate all deductibles and retentions.
  4. Request an in-person meeting with your insurance company or pool’s underwriter or underwriting team. If a strategic negotiation strategy is calculated in advance, an in-person meeting is usually the best way to effectively get the best renewal terms/conditions for your district.

As we all know, we are operating in a new normal and there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in our everyday lives. Making sure your district's risk management program is rock solid will be critical to your operational success and financial forecasts. Moving into 2021, it will be most imperative that your district gets to work early on their insurance and risk management renewal programs. 

Carey Schuett is a consultant at World Risk Management. 614.579.4011 |

Adam Balls is Vice President at World Risk Management. 513.939.9142 |