The DfE makes it clear that academies are responsible for making their own insurance arrangements and for ensuring they have carried out a competitive procurement process.
Further, they must follow normal public procurement rules and EU procurement directives where applicable, and ensure that the policy purchased offers value for money.
One route, recommended by DfE is the Crescent Purchasing Consortium, providing a compliant route to the insurance market. There are four suppliers, encouraged to compete in terms of price and service and using a simplified questionnaire to ensure like for like quotations. More information about this route can be found at http://www.academies.thecpc.ac.uk/
There is however, no obligation to use the CPC route and academies are free to procure an alternative insurance provider, where they offer better value for money.
Finally an academy may ask their Local Authority to include them in the LA’s group policy for schools. The LA is not compelled to accept the academy.
Choosing the right route to insure your academy and manage associated risks can be an onerous responsibility for an academy business manager.
We asked Franklands http://www.franklands.co.uk/index.php, one of Derby’s leading insurance brokers, with a specialism in the education sector, what kind of insurance issues academies may face? Paul Brown, Franklands MD, commented;
“The risk of underinsurance, or non-insurance, is a constant threat and assessing risk and devising an appropriate and robust Insurance programme for the Academy sits with the Academy Business Manager. In such a highly segregated market that includes at least two “direct insurers” (where the insurer is directly responsible to the insured, without the involvement of a broker), the academy business manager is faced with an array of options, and the involvement of a specialist broker is usually the best way to ensure that the breadth and depth of cover is appropriate. Specialist brokers have made a commitment to the educational sector, investing time and resources into being able to provide the level of support that an academy needs.
Specialist brokers can be difficult to locate. The DfE backed CPC offers a compliant service but a choice of only 4 national brokers. Local specialist brokers must have the required specialist expertise and experience or access to a wide range of markets including direct insurers to tailor the insurance products you require specifically to your own academy’s needs.
It is important when weighing up insurance proposals that pure price comparisons are avoided, the breadth of cover supplied for the cost is paramount. If key elements of cover are omitted to produce an attractive price, the academy may be exposed to risk for example, an abuse extension.
It is unfortunate that it is often only when the worst happens, that business managers value the hands-on, practical assistance provided by a locally based insurance professional in negotiating an appropriate settlement.”
If you would like more information on any aspect of academies insurance, please do contact Wayne Thomas our academies partner on 01332 365855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org