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Taking a hit: Colorado school districts grapple with insuring against hail

It’s one example of the often-forgotten expenses school districts incur outside of the classroom.

By Yesenia Robles, Chalkbeat Colorado

The 2017 hailstorm that hit the western suburbs of Denver, breaking records as the state’s most costly storm for insurers, is still wreaking havoc — now with school districts trying to secure insurance coverage.

Premiums are rising, deductibles are skyrocketing, and districts are having a harder time finding anyone willing to take on the risk of providing coverage.

One month into the new fiscal year, Aurora Public Schools is still looking for additional coverage for its bus fleet, and is also looking at alternative ways to protect its buses.

In Jeffco, which was ground zero for the hailstorm two years ago, district officials have had to compromise. Even with a patchwork of 14 policies, the district has managed to keep only $150 million in limits of its previous $200 million in property coverage.

And under the new policy and deductibles, a $12 million loss like the one that the Jeffco school district suffered in 2017 would likely not be covered at all.

Before the megastorm, the district had a set $10,000 deductible; now in the case of a wind or hail storm, it would have to pay for repairs worth up to 2 percent of the value of each building before any insurance would help out.

“This was the very best we could do,” said Joel Hirschboeck, director of risk management for the Jeffco school district. “And it’s costing us pretty much more than twice as much.”

Read more at chalkbeat.org.


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