Awareness key to increased insurance uptake for schools

Schools and educational institutions as a whole, have for a long time faced myriads of unique risks that would normally require some kind of specialized insurance protection. From students participating in extra-curricular activities to the ever-present dangers in chemistry and biology labs, there is a lot that educational institutions need to protect. And that is excluding damages caused by student unrest where parents are always forced to bear the costs of destroyed property.

Basic risk assessment during the building of classrooms, dormitories, labs and even libraries in schools often leads to the inclusion of valuable risk reduction measures that the Ministry of Education and various stakeholders can then go ahead and implement as part of education sector plans.

The government gave public schools the mandate to insure school buildings and buses, however, there is need to protect the lives of students and school workers alike as parents are forced to incur treatment costs as a result of personal accidents that occur to learners.  

Even though our education sector does not have a well-modeled risk financing mechanism, it is time we lessened the burden from the parents and thought about insuring our schools. Due to the public nature of most learning institutions, learners and staff are always exposed to a myriad of risks, from personal injury to damage of property.  Thus, there is a need for mitigating such risks so as to ensure a secure and hospitable learning environment.

According to Joyce Mathenge, Deputy General Manager at Kenindia Assurance, a lot of investment goes into the building of schools to the right standards required and thus measures to mitigate potential risks should be highly thought through. “School insurance covers should be an indispensable avenue for mitigating potential hazards to learning institutions in the country. Such covers go a long way in saving parents, and government alike the financial headache of having to part with huge amounts of money that arise as a result of misfortunes that might affect the schools,” she said.

Premium rate charged for comprehensive cover can be as low as 3.5% depending with the year of manufacture, value of the bus, past claims experience and number of vehicles for fleet. For third party cover premium charged ranges from Kshs 7,500/= for a van to Kshs 15,000/= for a bus. In addition the passengers are charged Kshs 500/= per passenger.

The policy may be extended to cover political violence, terrorism, excess protector, personal accident cover for the driver, loss of use and cost of alternative transport after an accident.

All stakeholders involved should come together and help in mapping out risks/damages that might occur and draw up the cost of maintaining smooth learning in the wake of such damages. For instance, the number of school days the learners will miss and its associated costs, or maybe the number of learners impacted and an estimated cost per child for the entire period that the learners will be out of school.

The sector is at the initial stages of trying to implement this new concept and it is safe to say that this will not only serve as a key revenue segment for insurance companies but also go a long way in mitigating various risks that face learners in their day to day life. Education plays a fundamental role in the growth of a country and when the gains made in the education of a student are lost, it cripples the level of professionalism of a country as well as its competence to steer ahead in terms of development.

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