Richardson, Cedar Hill ISDs budget for catastrophic insurance policies

Family and friends surrounded Corey Borner at Eagle Stadium during a halftime ceremony as his DeSoto High School jersey was retired Thursday night.

Family and friends surrounded Corey Borner at Eagle Stadium during a halftime ceremony as his DeSoto High School jersey was retired Thursday night.

CEDAR HILL — Two Dallas-area school districts have added catastrophic insurance policies to their upcoming budgets following a special report by The Dallas Morning News.

Last fall the newspaper surveyed 65 of the largest school districts in the Dallas-Forth Worth area and found five — Birdville, Burleson, Cedar Hill, Mansfield and Richardson ISDs — that did not provide the coverage.

Cedar Hill and Richardson have since added catastrophic insurance policies that will take effect before the 2014-15 school year.

Catastrophic insurance coverage provides a safety net for students who suffer life-altering injuries while participating in extra-curricular activities, including sports. The policies typically provide up to $7.5 million of coverage.

“I’m so pleased to be able to provide this coverage for our students,” Cedar Hill athletic director Gina Farmer said. “And I hope it provides some peace of mind to the kids and families that if some unfortunate event occurs, this policy will provide some protection for them.”

Farmer said district administrators polled athletic directors across the region to learn more about purchasing an appropriate policy.

Cedar Hill will pay a little more than $2,000 to cover students in grades 7-12 for up to $7.5 million in coverage, she said.

Richardson ISD, which is roughly four times bigger than Cedar Hill, purchased a policy that provides the same coverage for a $7,829 premium.

Richardson previously left the decision of whether to carry a policy up to the booster clubs at each of the district’s four high schools: Richardson, Richardson Berkner, Richardson Pearce and Lake Highlands. Only Pearce and Berkner’s booster clubs bought policies for the 2013-14 school year.

“The district looked into it in more detail after the series ran and we realized we were one of the few that didn’t have it,” said Tim Clark, Richardson ISD’s director of communications.

Catastrophic insurance typically carries a $25,000 deductible, and benefits don’t begin paying out until that deductible is met.

The coverage is not mandatory in Texas, nor is it officially recommended by the University Interscholastic League.

Most school districts purchase policies on their own, with several of those providing supplemental insurance — which acts as a child’s primary coverage if his or her guardians are uninsured.

Mansfield ISD director of media and communications Richie Escovedo said via e-mail that the district has included catastrophic and supplemental insurance in their budget discussions, but he couldn’t confirm if it would ultimately be incorporated.

With an average daily attendance or more than 31,000, Mansfield ISD would be the largest district in the area without a policy, according to last year’s survey.

Spokespersons from Birdville and Burleson ISDs said those districts will remain without catastrophic insurance.

“I was in all the budget discussions and that was not something that was discussed or on the table,” Birdville communications officer Mark Thomas said.

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