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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Insurance for Schools

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure all government schools have:

  • sufficient insurance for:
    • buildings
    • motor vehicles
    • public liability
    • construction
  • access to sufficient and affordable travel insurance for students.

Summary

  • The Department has insurance cover for the following areas:
    • school buildings and property
    • public and property liability
    • school Council contract works (construction)
    • business travel.
  • Schools and school councils must be aware of the Department’s insurance processes and requirements (as set out in the Guidance tab) and manage their insurance requirements accordingly.
  • Department insurance policies do not cover:
    • personal accident insurance or ambulance cover for students
    • private property brought to school by students, staff or visitors
    • third parties
    • motor vehicle insurance – schools and school councils must arrange their own motor vehicle insurance in accordance with Vehicles (including buses) – owned or hired by a school.
  • School councils requiring insurance that is additional to the coverage provided by the Department are required to contact the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) to arrange cover. This does not apply to WorkCover – refer to Workers Compensation.
  • Schools can access ‘Certificates of Currency’ from the Resources tab to demonstrate adequate insurance cover from the Department.
  • Insurance claims will be handled through one of the following parties depending on the nature of the claim:
    • Legal Division
    • Victorian School Building Authority
    • VMIA
    • WorkCover.
  • The Department may decide to indemnify school councils (as a body corporate separate to the school council members) for claims of common law negligence and employment disputes (including for claims of discrimination).
  • A school council (as a corporate entity) will not usually be indemnified for other types of school council liability, such as GST and taxation, or functions that are not directly related to the administration of a school.

Details

What you need to know

It is important that Principals and Business Managers are able to identify which risks to school finances or operations are covered by the Department's insurance and which are not. The guidance sets out the insurance policies managed by the Department and how they are applied to schools.

Schools and school councils may decide to independently insure against risks not otherwise covered by the Department’s insurance policies. For assistance with these decisions schools can contact insurance support at michael.roleff@education.vic.gov.au

The Department arranges all insurance policies through the VMIA. All policies expire on 30 June each year.

The Department elects to self-insure $5 million of the Public Liability Policy and $3 million of the Property Policy. Claims falling within these limits are handled by the Department and are subject to internal policy and/or processes.

Types of insurance held by the Department

The Department has different types of cover for different situations.

Schools and school councils do not need to arrange their own insurance for these situations as the Department has insurance for:

  • Public and Products Liability for School Councils, employees and volunteers
  • property and building (damage to entitled school buildings, facilities and equipment covered under the School Equipment Coverage Scheme (SECS))
  • damage caused by construction works at schools, where the construction project has a value above $50,000 and the project is approved by the VSBA. Where projects have a value of less than $50,000, schools must ensure the appointed builder provides evidence of construction insurance including coverage for existing buildings on the school’s premises
  • business travel insurance for people travelling on Department business.

Note: personal injury claims for employees fall under Workers' Compensation.

For more information about what is covered and how to claim against these policies refer to the Guidance tab.

Allied health employees

The Department has insurance arrangements in place for allied health employees, including Student Support Services employees such as psychologists and speech pathologists. These insurance arrangements do not cover work undertaken in a private capacity.

School Equipment Coverage Scheme

The School Equipment Coverage Scheme (SECS) is a self-insured scheme managed by the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA). It covers damage or loss of school-owned equipment due to natural events and criminal acts.

SECS covers some school-owned equipment such as computers, photocopiers, mobile phones, video cameras, musical equipment and books valued at more than $10.

Damage to entitled school infrastructure is managed by the VSBA under the Make-Safe and Reinstatement Programs and enquiries under this program should be directed to your regional facility managers or the VSBA.

For more information refer to: School Equipment Coverage Scheme (SECS) Guidelines for Schools.

Certificates of Currency

Occasionally schools will be asked to supply proof that the school is adequately covered by the Department through insurance. This is provided by way of a Certificate of Currency (also known as a Confirmation of Cover). It is a summary of the cover provided.

Please refer to the 2021-22 DET Public Liability Certificate of Currency available in the Resources tab which covers Public and Products Liability for:

  • State of Victoria and its government departments, corporations, public bodies under statute, authorities, boards, councils, committees, trustees, cemetery trusts, ministerial advisors and any other party the state government minister elects to insure
  • the Department of Education and Training
  • school councils
  • work experience participants
  • structured workplace learning
  • cleaning, waste disposal and basic maintenance for sole traders
  • Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority
  • Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority
  • Merit Protections Board
  • Disciplinary Appeals Board
  • Independent Panel for School Dispute Resolution
  • Assistants to Teachers of Japanese Program
  • Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language Program
  • Assistants to Teachers of Chinese Program
  • Adult Community and Further Education
  • Centrelink volunteers (excluding Work for the Dole and/or Community Work participants).

Certificates of Currency for all relevant policies are also available in the Resources tab.

What is not covered by Department insurance?

Department insurance policies do not cover:

  • personal accident insurance or ambulance cover for students
  • private property brought to school by students, staff or visitors
  • third parties
  • motor vehicle insurance – schools and school councils must arrange their own motor vehicle insurance in accordance with the school policy on Vehicles (including buses) — owned or hired by a school.

For more information about personal accident and ambulance coverage refer to Accident Insurance, Ambulance Cover and Private Property (also available in the Resources tab).

School Councils requiring insurance that is additional to the coverage provided by the Department are required to contact the VMIA to arrange cover. This does not apply to WorkCover.

School council liability

School councils face potential liability claims and, in some circumstances, will be indemnified by the Department – refer to: School Council — Liability and Legal Proceedings.

If a school council is unable to meet its liability, the Department will consider whether to take over the claim and cover the legal costs and associated damages on a case-by-case basis. If the school council intends to approach the Department to request that it assumes liability, the request should be forwarded to Legal Division with a full briefing.

What happens if a claim is made against the Department or a school council?

Depending on the nature of the claim, it can be processed through:

  • Legal Division
  • Victorian School Building Authority
  • VMIA
  • WorkCover.

For more information, refer to the Guidance tab.

Schools and school councils wanting to claim against any insurance policy must follow the claims procedures set out in the Guidance tab.

Resources and further information

The Department provides extensive information to schools regarding insurance matters. For further guidance and resources related to insurance please refer to the Guidance tab and Resources tab.

Relevant legislation

Other relevant contacts

Victorian School Building Authority

For matters relating to school buildings, fixtures and fittings:

  • Make-Safe Program
  • Reinstatement and Preventative Maintenance Procedures
  • School Equipment Coverage Scheme

Email: vsba@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 1800 896 950

Department Incident and Security Operations Centre

Phone: 1800 126 126

Legal Division

For matters including negligence claims, personal injuries and property damage 

Phone: 03 9637 3146
Email: legal.services@education.vic.gov.au

Risk management

Phone: 03 7022 0380
Email: kral.michael.m@education.vic.gov.au

Department policy on insurance arrangements for schools and the processes schools must follow with respect to insurance

Reviewed 27 October 2021

Policy last updated

2 July 2021

Scope

  • Schools

Insurance policy information

Mike Roleff

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