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Is it Time to Self-Insure?
With most one-to-one programs charging a small insurance premium for loaners that go home with students, districts are considering the pros and cons of handling insurance in-house.
"What is the cost to us?" is one of the questions most often asked by families who will be participating in a one-to-one program. For those initiatives involving district-owned computers, the usual answer is that the family will be asked to pay a small, annual insurance fee — typically $50 to $70 per student.
Do those fees actually cover the costs of repairs and replacement? That depends.
In Maine, a huge annual laptop repair bill for Camden Hills Regional High School made big news last year, with the local newspaper declaring, "The $50 fee isn't insurance; it's more like a one-time damage pass." On the other hand, one-to-one districts in many other parts of the country are finding that their repair costs are low enough to make self-insuring a financially feasible option.
In El Dorado, Kansas, for example, the local district will begin self-insuring laptops in the high school's one-to-one program. Until recently, USD 490 paid $41,000 a year to an outside insurance company but typically had only $4,000 to $5,000 in claims. The district's director of fiscal services is hopeful that the savings resulting from self-insuring might actually enable USD 490 to purchase additional laptops.
The Upper Marion Area High School in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, made a similar decision after finding that insurance-related incidents with a pilot 1:1 program were quite small (2 to 3 percent). According to the district's web site, "We are recommending that the District self-insure for the first year of implementation and track closely whether or not to purchase insurance from an outside vendor in future years."