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TASB Risk Management Fund Prevails in Property Claim Lawsuit

For release: Aug. 15, 2023
Contact: Sylvia Wood, 713-876-2561, sylvia.wood@tasb.org
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(Austin) — The TASB Risk Management Fund won a unanimous jury verdict in Coleman County on Friday, Aug. 11, against a property claim lawsuit brought in 2021 by a West Central Texas school district.

The case, filed in Coleman County district court, alleged that the Fund had breached contractual agreements with the school district in handling a property damage claim dating back to a 2019 hailstorm.  The school district was represented by Pearson Legal of San Antonio. The Fund was represented by the law firms Blank Rome of Houston and the Whitten Law Firm of Abilene.

“We want to thank the Coleman County jurors who listened to all of the evidence and arguments over the weeklong trial to deliver this verdict,” said Mary Barrett, associate executive director for Risk Management Services at the Texas Association of School Boards. “This unanimous verdict is a win for the more than 1,000 Texas public education organizations that participate in the Fund, collaborating to share risk and protect taxpayer resources across the state.”

Barrett said it was important for the Fund to defend its self-insurance risk pool against lawsuits of this type, which are increasingly becoming more common as plaintiff attorneys are willing to sue on a contingency-fee basis in pursuit of large monetary jury awards.

“Over nearly 50 years of service here in Texas serving school districts, the Fund has always demonstrated a strong commitment to providing prudent and responsive claims service for all Fund members,” Barrett said. “The Fund has a long history of stability and success in offering comprehensive risk solutions to school districts for whatever crisis may lie ahead — from hurricanes and hailstorms to catastrophic ice events — and that commitment won’t change.”

Across the state, school districts — like homeowners and businesses — are facing unprecedented increases in property coverage costs amid catastrophic weather events and a shrinking number of nonprofit risk pools and for-profit insurers willing to provide coverage. Some carriers in Texas, as well as in other states like Florida, have stopped writing certain types of risk, including school facilities, because their risk profile is too high, Barrett said.

“In this challenging environment, we’re continuing to work with Fund members to ensure the Fund provides coverage options that align with its mission to support public education,” she said. “Especially now, we’re committed to helping districts come up with coverage solutions that offer budget certainty in uncertain times.”

About the TASB Risk Management Fund

Established in 1974, the Fund offers comprehensive coverage that responds to the risks faced by public schools across Texas. Guided by a 19-member board of school board members and administrators, TASB, Inc serves as administrator for the Fund which provides solutions to help members maintain safe and secure schools.

About TASB

Texas Association of School Boards, Inc. (TASB) is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve approximately 5.4 million public school students.

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