Recognition for Keenan and NCR’s Abuse Prevention Program Results

 Keenan Blog

Recognition for Keenan and NCR’s Abuse Prevention Program Results

September 12, 2019

Beginning in 2011, when the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sexual abuse scandal became national news, sexual abuse & molestation (SAM) claims skyrocketed across the country, impacting every range of the organizational spectrum involving minors including the Boy Scouts of America, religious organizations, youth organizations and schools. Northern California Regional Liability Excess Fund (NCR), a joint powers authority (JPA) in California managed by Keenan, was not immune to these rising abuse allegations. Comprised of 366 public K-12 schools with average daily attendance of one million, NCR incurred $59.34 million in SAM claims from 2009 to 2014.

Ron Martin, Manager of NCR, and his fellow Keenan team members knew that something needed to be done quickly and efficiently, or the students of the NCR member schools would remain vulnerable, not to mention that the fiscal impact could financially wreck the JPA. The Keenan team got right to work. They reminded teachers and administrators that their goal, plain and simple, was to make schools safer. State regulations passed in 2015 called for all school employees to be trained in mandatory reporting of suspected sexual crimes. However, whenever new regulations are put in place by government agencies, the burden of enacting those regulations and the financial costs to implement them can be overwhelming.

Keenan, in partnership with NCR, worked to bring all members in compliance with the regulations through resources provided by the pool, as well as supplemented by additional measures for each member district.

Just a few of the additional measures taken included:

  • Grooming behavior and boundary identification training modules for all elementary schools and high schools.
  • Mandated reporter posters placed in all buildings, listing contact information for the appropriate reporting agencies.
  • Participation by NCR members in anonymous reporting applications.
  • Amending the NCR Memorandum of Coverage (MOC) to require notice of incident, not notice of claim, to accelerate involvement by claims administrators.
  • NCR incorporated a facility assessment program specifically for abuse claims into its mandatory safety inspection process. (Each site being inspected every two years with a follow up audit within 120 days to address high priority items, including blind areas, couches, etc. that would require removal.)

Now, eight years after the Sandusky scandal broke, NCR schools are safer, and its claims liability has plummeted. From $59.34 million in losses over a six-year period from 2009 through 2014, NCR reduced its losses to $12.95 million between 2015 and 2019. This allowed NCR to not only retain its membership and remain fiscally solvent, but to also add four new member districts with 40,000 additional average daily attendance. More importantly, all of these efforts have led to improving the safety of our kids in the public school system.

This month Risk & Insurance magazine recognized Ron Martin, Manager of NCR, as one of their 2019 Risk All Star Winners. Ron’s selection was based on the compelling nature of the story and how the programs we have implemented at NCR are keeping kids safe. As Risk & Insurance states it, Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

Here at Keenan we believe that “What We Do Makes A Difference.” That is a regular message that is delivered to our associates daily; repeated regularly in staff meetings; and, reflected in our firm’s Mission, Vision, and Values. Our employees live within the communities we serve; we benefit from the services provided by our clients; our kids attend our clients’ schools; and, we are part of a greater community, trying to provide better opportunities and safer environments for our neighbors, friends, and children.

About John Stephens
John Stephens has been in the insurance and risk management industry for more than 20 years and currently runs Keenan's Public Agency Property & Casualty Practice.