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Insurance Services

In Hertfordshire we delegate to all schools the responsibility for property, liability, and other standard policies. Schools are also responsible for some other insurance policies referred to as ‘optional extensions’


The choices for schools

  • Buy back the standard insurance cover obtainable from the County Council’s corporate insurance scheme plus any optional extensions required (Section 2
  • Buy back the standard insurance cover obtainable from the County Council’s corporate insurance scheme and arrange optional extensions elsewhere.
  • Arrange entire insurance package elsewhere. Optional extensions would not be available from the County Council in these circumstances.

Further Information

  • The County Council or the diocesan authority remain the property owners in schools. So in the event of legal action for negligence it is not necessarily the school that is sued but the County Council or possibly the diocesan authority, as the corporate body.

    In the light of these circumstances the provisions relating to fair funding stipulate that any insurance purchased by schools as individual arrangements must be adequate to meet potential liabilities. This is particularly relevant in respect of liability insurance, where the limits of cover provided under the corporate insurance arrangements are very substantial, i.e. £50 million for each of employer’s liability and public/products liability. It is important to have large limits of cover for establishments such as schools, where significant claims could arise from an incident such as a fire. If a large number of people in a School building were killed or injured as a result of an inflagration, due to an act of negligence, claims of this magnitude are not only possible but also highly likely. If schools cannot obtain full cover, to the same standard as currently in place, a top-up policy will be required and the cost met by the School.
  • Responsibility for insurance arrangements is a long-term commitment for schools. Courts allow minors until their 21st birthday to pursue liability claims, or even three years from the diagnosis of an illness, injury or learning disability. This means that notification of claims can be received many years after completion of a pupil’s schooling. Record keeping and retention of documents is therefore not something to be taken lightly.

    The delegated amount will be identified separately in your budget share documentation.

Buying back into the County Council Scheme

We are confident that the vast majority of schools will find that the County Council’s insurance scheme will compete with alternative quotations. It should also be borne in mind that cover offered elsewhere may be inadequate, excesses may be higher, and in the event of a claim, the support of the insurance section would be lost.

  • In the County Council scheme the Insurance Section is responsible for the management of the insurance portfolio. This includes – checking policy wordings, review of risks, maintaining correct level of cover, as well as ensuring value for money.
  • In the County Council scheme there are no excesses to pay for fire, liability, business interruption, fidelity guarantee, motor, personal accident policies, unlike external arrangements.
  • In the event of a claim, experienced staff will provide a claims handling service internally or organise external expertise if required, at no extra charge.
  • Property Claims – HCC will meet all necessary repair costs to various parties involved, then reclaim one payment from Insurers.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject and the benefits of purchasing cover for a large number of schools present opportunities for economies of scale that would not be obtainable by schools as separate units. Our claims experience is spread across the authority so that one claim does not have an impact on future premium levels.
  • HCC recharge includes Insurance Premium Tax. IPT due on balance of risks policy is NOT passed on.
  • HCC staff recover any impact damage loss for schools where third parties are known.
  • HCC staff are always available for help and support when pursuing claims or seeking advice.
  • A range of optional extensions is available
  • It is the view of the County Council that the best interests of schools lie in the maintenance of the status quo and the continuing provision of corporate cover.
How to buy back into the County Council Scheme

If you wish to buy back into the County Council's standard insurance scheme the cost will be the same as the amount delegated.The delegated amount will be identified separately in your budget share documentation.

The County Council's corporate insurance arrangements are based on a three to five year contract so it is proposed to run the buy back for the same period.

The current scheme started on the 1 April 2008 and expires on the 31 March 2011.

New funding packs will be forwarded to all schools prior to the next renewal date.

If you require any further information please contact e mail or telephone 01992 555480.

Arranging your own insurance

You are advised to read the following notes before obtaining quotations.

You can only use insurance companies which have a Standard and Poors rating of at least ‘A’.

Any external arrangements entered into must provide cover for all the types of insurance outlined in Section 1 of Appendix A with at least the minimum specified limits. In particular the need for full reinstatement cover on all property insurance, and a limit of £25 million for employer’s liability and public/products liability insurance is drawn to your attention.

Any external policy must name Hertfordshire County Council as a joint insured.

Liability policies are either written on a ‘claim made’ or ‘claim occurring’ basis.

‘Claim occurring’ basically means that the date of a claim reflects the date on which an incident occurred. Public and employers liability policies are written on this basis.

‘Claim made’ basically means that the date of claim reflects the date of a Claimant’s first letter, and the Authority’s official indemnity (OI), libel and slander (LS) and professional negligence (PN) policies are written on this basis. You must ensure that your OI, LS and PN policies are written on the same basis.

A ‘retroactive date’ will however be imposed on a policy written on a claim made basis. Any financial loss where the act giving rise to the claim occurred prior to the retroactive date will be excluded. This can cause a particular problem with the trend toward pursuing failure to educate claims as previously explained. A substantial retroactive date must be obtained.

Certificates for Employer’s Liability insurance now have to be retained for 40 years and schools will have to demonstrate that suitable arrangements were put in place and kept in place to comply with legislative requirements if external cover is arranged.

Adequate cover for governors’ personal liability must be arranged. It should be recognised that failure to notify the Insurance Manager of separate insurances that subsequently prove to be inadequate could involve governors in substantial personal liability.

If a school does not buy back into the corporate scheme it will be responsible for making all its insurance arrangements to levels approved by the LA (to protect our position).