Insurer cans Huron Schools

District is too risky to manage.
Alissa Widman Neese
May 7, 2013

So says Ohio School Plan, a group providing coverage to nearly 300 schools, which announced this past week it is dropping the district from its insurance plan July 1.

Representatives from Hylant Group, a third-party insurer representing the Ohio School Plan, met with district treasurer Mike Weis this past week to discuss the group's concerns, according to an email Weis sent to school board members the Register obtained through a public records request.

Open the PDF below to read the email and other emails related to the district's insurance.

The organization's reasons for dropping Huron Schools include:

•Threats of continued litigation and an inability to determine potential possible costs.

•Lack of board focus and direction.

•Inability to price due to the "turmoil."

Huron Schools is facing the aftermath of a 3-2 vote in April to fire superintendent Fred Fox, a climax after a year of investigation, termination and court proceedings costing the district more than $140,000. 

Fox's termination came on the heels of allegations he improperly submitted reimbursement requests for expenses after a trip to Arizona; maintained an inappropriate business relationship with a district vendor; and carried on an extramarital affair during school hours using school computers and his school email address.

Fox appealed the termination and is suing the three board members who voted to fire him for more than $175,000, in addition to his back pay. Board member Donna Green alleged defamation and filed a counterclaim shortly after, suing Fox for more than $25,000.

"As they continue to deal with all the matters at hand, additional litigation may arise," said Joe Seay, president of Hylant Administrative Services. "It gets to the point where we have a very difficult time, maybe an impossible time, setting prices, terms and conditions of an insurance policy. You can't predict how this is going to go."

Ohio School Plan has only dropped a district one other time in its 11 years of operation, Seay said.

"This is a big deal from our standpoint," he said.

Huron Schools is now hunting for a new insurer. School officials have arranged meetings with three companies and hope to select a new coverage plan by the June school board meeting.

Finding a new plan poses several problems, including possible high costs and a limited number of school insurers to pick from, Weis explained in his email. 

The Ohio School Plan cost the district about $38,000 per year, Weis said.

"Not sure what our course or action will be if we cannot get insurance," Weis said in the email the Register obtained.

It's still undetermined what coverage the Ohio School Plan will provide for current issues, according to the email. The district will receive a written notice with more details "after the various lawsuits are reviewed," the email said.

Board president Scott Slocum said he wasn't "totally surprised" the Ohio School Plan dropped Huron Schools, but he is confident the district will have another policy in place soon.

"Since the first litigation action taken by (board member Kevin Asher) last year, I knew the carrier might possibly take a good, hard look at our relationship," Slocum said. "That's what insurance carriers do."

 

Comments

nobodyfromnowhere

Not surprised at all. In fact myself and several others called this one months ago if the board followed the path they have. Be interesting to see how much this costs the district now. The bill for the board majority's foolish folly just keeps going up!

local man

"Since the first litigation action taken by (board member Kevin Asher) last year, I knew the carrier might possibly take a good, hard look at our relationship," Slocum said. "That's what insurance carriers do." Mr Slocum - its not Mr Asher's action that created this insurance action - its more like the three board members who went with their actions prior to letting an ethics committee provide you guidance or by your actions after the recommendation to reinstate occurred and you ousted him anyway. The dollars spent will continue to climb, but congratulations on having the distinction of being only 1 of 2 schools being dropped from the insurance plan.

DGMutley

Good post!

Tsu Dho Nimh

The fact that one board member attempted to take action against the other board members and the district is an issue. If you recall, Judge Binette said Asher's claim was unfounded and dismissed it. Asher also made ugly allegations against several district employees, including the board president in his second suit filed back in October. His allegations against the board president were again proven to be unfounded (evidence in the Fox hearing actually support this!). What insurance company would want to take the risk of this type of behavior? Mrs. Green's lawsuit against Fred Fox is against him as an individual, not Mr. Fox the employee.

Julie R.

What kind of insurance carrier is this, anyway? They were right there to take $38,000.00 a year and now they want to drop them because they might have to pay out on the insurance for the first time?

All the other schools around better take notice of this and drop these clowns!

Justme...

Happens all the time. You pay forever on home owners insurance. You file a claim. They pay the claim. They drop you. Frustrating.

abigbear

RIGHT THERE go figure want to collect dont want to pay out

Nemesis

Julie, you DO understand how insurance works, don't you?

You get a DUI, and your auto insurance carrier is likely to drop you, too.

Julie R.

Of course I understand how insurance works. Maybe not for a DUI (I'll never have to worry about that --- I can't stand liquor) but I know how all other insurance works. I've paid house insurance for years but never had a claim until last year. (hail damage on the roof) My insurance company (State Farm) sure didn't drop me. Neither did the premiums go up.

Nemesis

That's one claim in many years; it doesn't indicate a huge increment in risk in short time. Apparently you DON'T understand how insurance works. Having had insurance for a while doesn't mean you understand the underlying principles, which your comments demonstrate you don't.

Kelly

The school board is clearly a liability. I don't blame the insurance company at all for dropping them.

ByeByeHuron

Insurance companies are in business to make money,as a result of the actions of everyone involved, the Huron school district has become a liability to them. There have been no winners here, it is truly unfortunate that poor decision making followed by more poor decision making has resulted in this but these are the implications.There is no magic bullet,no miracle cure to undo the damage that the city of Huron has undertaken.It is time for every citizen to take a good look at themselves and at those they have selected as leaders on every level and really consider why they have chosen them and who will truly do what's best for everyone,not simply what's best for their own interests or for what their last name is.

Julie R.

One would think if any insurance company would have been justified in dropping an insurance plan, it would have been the one for the city of Sandusky, especially after that four year Nuesse fiasco and all those rent-a-judges.

whocares

I believe the blame can be placed on both sides. An abitrator should have been brought in.

phroggy

Maybe they should just push the students harder so they can get more grant money to cover the cost of the high risk insurance they will need to pay.

ByeByeHuron

Exactly, they should place even more emphasis on athletics so that they can get perhaps another large donation for an even bigger stadium.SBC trophies don't grow on tress you know.

Darwin's choice

" I did not vote for ANY of the current members of the Huron School Board!"
So, now without the insurance coverage, are the board members themselves going to be liable for the expenses accumulating?

Justme...

Who says they are without coverage? They aren't being told these lawsuits aren't covered. They are being told they have to find new coverage by July 1 for future coverage. Read the article.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Justme..you are correct. That is exactly what the article says. If the policy was in force during the time period of the "actions" in the lawsuit took place, and the "actions" are covered by the policy, the insurer has to take care of it. The insurance company will no longer insure the district beginning July 1.

Darwin's choice

7/1/2013 coverage ends. Then what? Good luck getting anyone to cover them!

eriemom

If you were an insurance underwriter would you recommend offering coverage? And if so, at what cost to the taxpayer?

JACKEL

I think a lot of people respond to the comments without reading the article !

Justme...

Or worse...they respond to the HEADLINE without reading the article!!

KURTje

See younger people? See what "authority' & stinky attitudes do?

local man

Justme - If you were dropped after one claim you were with an inadequate insurance company, most companies will tolerate a claim or two. JulieR - the problem lies that the board caused the problem when they didnt reinstate per the arbitrator suggestion - lawsuits are rolling in because of the board still firing. Where the school district will find as their problem for obtaining insurance from another company is this claim remains as an open claim, no carrier will assume the risk until it is settled which will be not be anytime soon.

tell it how it is

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!
That's all I have to say.

abigbear

the

Huron_1969

Dear Fred Fox
We are pleased to announce you passed all chapters in the "Good Ol Boys Playbook" with flying colors. You are on your way to completely eluding all accountability for the mess you created. By manipulating people and searching out escape-goats, you have distracted many peoples attention from the root cause of the "Fox Fiasco".
You are an excellent poster boy for our clubs motto, "when you're caught with your pants down, blame the other guy"
Yours Truely
OJ and Slick Willy Clinton

Darkhorse

It is easy to file lawsuits but the question remains, how easy will it be to win? The attorney needs to recoup his time he put into it. No one has considered the ethics ruling yet and it could be the ace in the hole for the school.

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