Fall 2022

Aggressive Student Behaviors and Staff Member Injuries
By Shawn Bubb, Director of Insurance Services

The levels and kinds of stress in Montana Public schools since the inception of the pandemic can be measured in a number of ways – student and parental engagement, staff retention percentages, the length of school board meetings, and, unfortunately, the number of aggressive student behaviors and staff member injured to name but a few.  To be sure, the palpably higher anxiety levels for students, staff, parents, and community members have not necessarily brought out the best behaviors for all involved.  Since 1989, the MSGIA has served its members in a risk-management and advisory capacity for loss trends it has observed and future-loss trends it anticipates.  Against this backdrop, this article focuses on a concerning potential-loss trend as well as on potential strategies to help chart a much-improved, data-informed, and proactive course forward for our public school employees. Read more

Avoiding Distracted Driving
By Harry Cheff, Risk Management Associate, and Annette Satterly, Risk Management Associate

Despite the fact that a car traveling 55 mph will cover the equivalent length of a football field in 5 seconds, many drivers mistakenly believe that they can safely take their eyes off the road for seconds at a time. Not surprisingly, given this shared misperception among so many, every seven minutes in the U.S. a pedestrian is injured by a distracted driver, and every two hours distracted driving leads to a pedestrian fatality. Read more

Cyber Insurance Changing Underwriting Requirements
By Matt Komac, MSGIA Assistant Director for Property & Liability Pool Operations, and Dave Ulrich, Rocky Mountain Computer Supply

Because schools have been targets of ransomware attacks throughout Montana and the United States, we have focused our risk-management efforts intensely on cyber the last couple of years.  Cyber insurers have taken notice, as they have seen claim numbers and costs drastically climb.  This has resulted in an extremely challenging cyber market, especially for the public entity sector, which has been hit hard by ransomware attacks.  This means that, when renewing policies, insurers are cutting back on their exposure and increasing their underwriting requirements in order to help control losses. Read more

Successful Safety Committees
By Kevin Bartsch, Assistant Director Workers Compensation Pool Operations, and Harry Cheff, Risk Management Associate

Whenever an organization wishes to generate support for its safety initiatives, it is very important to establish a culture of safety within the organization.  One key element in establishing that culture is to create an effective safety committee.  The Montana Safety Act requires that organizations with more than five employees have an established safety committee.  The number of safety committees varies from district to district. Some have a safety committee for each building and one district safety committee that oversees all the sites. Others have just one. Read more

School District Safety Assessment Processes
By Shawn Bubb, Director of Insurance Services

The MSGIA has extended its contractual relationship with Secure Educational Consultants (SEC) for another two years, which builds on previous years’ work with the company’s founder, Jason Russell.  SEC has partnered with thousands of leaders across the country to share comprehensive and executable safety and security strategies developed by their team of highly trained and experienced security experts.  Jason has spoken at jointly-sponsored MSGIA and MTSBA events both in person and virtual via zoom over the past several years for our Montana members.  This year MSGIA is sponsoring two in-person events for Montana with SEC.  The first event will bring Jason Russell to Missoula on October 20 as the keynote speaker for the Montana Conference on Educational Leadership (MCEL).  Jason was one of the first individuals to reach out and support the school district in Michigan when the tragic Oxford High School shooting occurred. Read more