Professional Liability Insurance
Professional and Student Membership in Northwest Professional Educators
Not all policies are alike and the NWPE policy has some extra protection that other organizations don't offer. The NWPE policy offers $2,000,000 of protection per occurrence, per member. Defense costs are paid in addition to this amount. View a side-by-side comparison of NWPE insurance policy and the union's policy.
Every active NWPE professional or student member is insured individually—they receive a personal liability insurance policy written in their name.
CLICK HERE to read or download a copy of the policy
Access to NWPE's legal service benefits is never dependent on the discretion and pre-approval of an NWPE executive. Access to your legal protection is not dependent upon whether your case is determined to be in the best interest of NWPE, as it is with some other organizations.
YOU are the insured.
On liability insurance-related matters, NWPE members are free to use NWPE's attorney referral network or they may prefer to seek out legal representation of their own choosing instead of having to accept a predetermined legal advisor as with some other organizations.
NWPE's network of attorneys bill our insurance provider—not you, the individual teacher—for services covered under NWPE's plan; except in instances when you choose to use your own attorney. In those cases, your attorney will be reimbursed for services rendered up to the limits specified in the policy.
Please call the NWPE office if you have any questions about the liability insurance policy or whether or not you qualify for coverage: 1-800-380-NWPE (6973).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is eligible?
A. Any professional member of Northwest Professional Educators who is a W-2 employee of an educational entity (i.e., public or private school, university, or college) located in Idaho, Oregon, or Washington is eligible for $2,000,000 professional liability insurance coverage.
Owners and board members are not eligible for coverage.
Student members of NWPE are eligible for special student-teaching liability insurance at a discounted rate.
Professional members can add part-time insurance for their tutoring or consulting responsibilities, learn more here.
For independent contractors who need private practice insurance, read more here.
Q. What's covered under this policy?
A. You will be protected against a broad range of exposures, including the following allegations (whether those allegations are true or false):
Q. Won't my school have liability insurance? Why should I have my own coverage?
A. Your school district liability insurance policy is written in the name of the school district, which means it covers the district, not you. In certain situations your district plan will not cover you, your attorney’s fees, or the act that triggers a lawsuit. The district’s policy must protect the district first and foremost. It is very prudent to have your own insurance policy naming you as the insured party.
Q. Why is professional liability coverage so important to me as an educator?
A. You insure your car, your health, your house and other personal assets acquired through years of investments and hard work. A professional insurance policy acts as a safeguard to protect your assets if you are sued as a result of an event arising out of your educational duties. The NWPE policy can even provide a measure of protection for your career through its unique employment right coverage.
NWPE’s Professional Liability Insurance Program has protected many of our members in liability suits and/or job actions over the years. In each of these instances, the member needed to access the NWPE policy protections because the school district policy did not cover them.
Other professionals, such as medical doctors, would not dream of practicing without liability (or malpractice) insurance. In today’s litigious society, a teacher should not step into a classroom without a liability policy covering them, personally.
Q. What are some examples of recent claims or judgments holding the teacher liable?
A. Here are a few examples:
All of these judgments and attorney fees are covered under the NWPE’s Professional Liability Insurance Policy.
Q. What kinds of things are not covered by this policy?
A. Criminal acts for which you are found guilty. Activities not arising out of your educational activities. Intentionally inflicting bodily injury (except corporal punishment).
Q. Am I covered for lawsuits based on sexual harassment or abuse?
A. Yes. After a $100 deductible, the plan pays 90% of your attorney's fees up to $50,000, provided you are found to be not guilty or the charges are dropped.
Q. Are lawsuits against educators increasing?
A. Yes. As part of a general trend in increased litigation, the number of lawsuits against schools and teachers has been rising over the last decade. According to an American Tort Reform Association survey, almost 1/3 of all high school principals have been involved in a lawsuit in the last two years, compared to only 9 percent ten years ago.
Q. Does this coverage protect me only if I'm found not guilty?
A. You'll be protected against exposures in civil suits such as failure to educate or violation of student civil rights—whether you're at fault or completely innocent. However, in the event of criminal charges—such as sexual abuse or charges arising out of corporal punishment—the policy will only respond if you are found not guilty or the charges are dismissed.
Q. What about legal help if I'm suspended?
A. The plan will pay up to $500 for your initial consultation with an attorney, and it will pay another $750 of the cost of having an attorney represent you at a formal hearing of a school board or other authority if you are threatened with termination, suspension, reassignment, or demotion. In addition, you will receive up to $4000 for legal fees, subject to $100 deductible, if you decide to sue because of termination, reassignment, suspension, or demotion. However, that final judgment must be rendered in your favor. If not, your policy will still pay $750 for reimbursement of legal fees without regard to final judgment. If the above coverage doesn't sound like much, remember that those amounts are guaranteed.
Other organizations' plans may promise you greater coverage amounts in employment rights coverage, but they can decide whether you receive coverage. It is well known in the industry that some organizations only choose to represent their members in cases that advance the organization's goals, and only if they think the case can be won. Their insurance and legal protection may look good, but if they don't take your case, it's worthless.
With the NWPE plan you know that you have up to $5,000 in employment rights coverage. And you would be surprised how many job-related conflicts are resolved with just a couple of phone calls from your association or attorney.
Q. When does my coverage apply?
A. Your plan will provide coverage for claims brought at any time, as long as the occurrence that resulted in litigation occurred while your Educators’ Professional Liability policy was in effect. You'll be covered even if you've dropped the coverage, as long as your coverage was in force when the incident happened.
Q. How established is the provider of the $2,000,000 liability insurance policy?
A. Forrest T. Jones & Company, Inc. has over thirty years of experience in handling association insurance needs and serve as the administrators of the Trust for Insuring Educators (TIE). TIE was established in 1973 specifically for educator groups leaving the umbrella of the unions. Those groups found that it was difficult to secure insurance plans for their members that were equal in benefits and costs to those of the unions because they lacked large numbers of members and consequently the buying power that the unions had in setting up its programs. TIE made it possible for member organizations to pool their memberships to create a large enough base to secure competitive insurance plans and rates.
This page includes information about a member benefit.