Questions and Answers
About Professional Liability Insurance for the 2014-2015 Program Year
Q: What is the EEL Program?
A: The NEA Educators Employment Liability (EEL) Program is a professional liability insurance program that is provided by NEA as a benefit of membership and is administered and underwritten by Lexington Insurance Company.
Q: What does the EEL Program cover?
A: Educators’ Liability Benefit – Payment of the legal costs of defending civil proceedings (other than proceedings concerning Civil Rights) brought against you in the course of work as an educator, and up to $1,000,000 national limit in damages assessed against you as a result of such proceedings. The policy provides up to $300,000 national limit worth of defense, settlements or judgments and other supplementary payments for proceedings concerning Civil Rights as well as a $5,000 sub-limit for defense on Mold related claims. Coverage of legal defense costs are limited to $3,000,000 per member per occurrence not to include any civil right issues or civil rights claims and there is a $9,000,000 per occurrence aggregate for all claims, not to include any civil right issues or civil rights claims. o° Attorney Fees for the Defense of Criminal Proceedings – reimbursements for attorney fees and other legal costs up to $35,000 if you are charged with violating a criminal statute in the course of your employment as an educator, and you are exonerated from these charges. ° Bail Bond – Reimbursement up to $1,000 of bail bond premium if you must post a bond as a result of an occurrence arising out of your employment as an educator. (The insurance company is not obligated to furnish the bond.) ° Assault-Related Personal Property Benefit – Payment of up to $500 for damage to your personal property when caused by an assault upon you in the course of your employment. (Vehicles and school property are excluded.)
Q: Why do I need liability coverage?
A: In your work as an educator you are frequently exposed to situations that may give rise to legal actions and which can involve your personal liability. If a student or a student’s parents file suit against you, the EEL program will provide you with insurance protection for the vast majority of cases. The program also reimburses you for damage to your personal property in assault-related incidents.
Q: What is an “occurrence” policy?
A: The EEL policy covers claims arising out of your covered acts which occur during the contract period, no matter when the claim is later made.
Q: How do I obtain coverage?
A: If you are a NEA active, educational support, life, student, substitute or retired member who is employed by an educational unit, you are automatically covered by the EEL program.
Q: Who pays the cost of the EEL program?
A: The entire premium for the program is paid by the NEA.
Q: Are some activities excluded from coverage?
A: Yes. Certain activities which NEA members perform are excluded. The following is a summary of some of the major activities that are excluded from coverage under the EEL program. For further detail, please consult your Certificate of Insurance brochure. These brochures are available from any WVEA office.
Excluded Activities Include:
1. Rendering, teaching or supervising medical services, except the following are covered:
- (a) first-aid and regular nursing services rendered by a school nurse, or rendered by a certified health aide under the supervision of a school nurse,
- (b) physical, occupational or psychological therapy or treatment rendered by an appropriately licensed or certified practitioner,
- (c) the administration of oral prescription medicine to a student at the express request of his or her supervisor or at the written request of a student’s parents,
- (d) emergency first-aid services when a school nurse or other medically trainer person is not readily available, and
- (e) health care services provided to a student who is designated disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act when expressly required by the employer and approved in writing by a student’s parents.
2. Operating vehicles. (Note: Driver training instructors are covered while riding as passengers, and vocational education instructors are covered for their activities during school shop classes. In addition, coverage is provided for the loading and unloading of school buses.)
3. Selling or distributing products, including food and beverages. (Note: Home economics teachers are covered for their classroom and laboratory teaching activities and for the sale of products prepared in the classroom. Cafeteria workers are covered for their food preparation and distribution activities.)
4. Law enforcement activities, except for those of a security guard.
5. Using or supervising the use of firearms, except where this activity involves the use of physical restraint in defending yourself or school property.
Q: Is the EEL Program limited to incidents that occur in buildings or on school grounds?
A: No. The program provides coverage for educational employment activities on and off school grounds including, for example, school sponsored athletic events, laboratory experiments, shop training, field trips in the U.S. and abroad, and after school clubs. Educational employment activities are those duties that you perform pursuant to the express or implied terms of your employment for an educational unit.
Q: Does the EEL Program cover criminal cases?
A: Yes. Attorney fees and court costs up to the maximum of $35,000 will be reimbursed when the costs are incurred in the defense of a criminal proceeding arising out of your educational activities. In most cases, you will be reimbursed only if the proceeding is dismissed or you are exonerated. If, however, the proceeding arises out of an incident involving the administration of corporal punishment, the program will provide reimbursement, regardless of the outcome.
Q: Does the EEL Program cover civil rights cases?
A: Yes. Defense, settlements or judgments and court costs up to a maximum of $300,000 will be provided when incurred in the defense of an action arising out of your educational employment activities and alleging a violation of another person’s civil rights.
Q: Does the EEL Program cover cases arising out of the discharge or layoff of a member or involving other “jobs rights” issues?
A: No. Another NEA sponsored program, the Kate Frank DuShane Unified Legal Services Program, provides coverage for these types of cases.
Q: Is the EEL Program “excess” to other insurance coverage which might be available to me?
A: Yes. “Excess” is a general insurance term that means insurance benefits become available to you only when other sources of insurance are exhausted. For example, if your school district provides professional liability coverage for you in some areas, as does the EEL program, the EEL program would not provide benefits until the school district’s coverage ran out.
Q: How do I make a claim for benefits?
A: If you are involved in any situation which you believe is covered by the EEL program, notify your Organizational Development Specialist (ODS) who will confirm your eligibility. If your ODS is not immediately available send a copy of any legal documents and a brief description of the occurrence to: Andy Katz, General Counsel West Virginia Education Association, 1558 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV 25311.