The Educators Legal Liability (ELL) policy requires that a claim be reported to UE “as soon as reasonably practicable,” and in the case of a policy that has not been renewed, within 60 days of the policy’s expiration date.
A claim is defined as written notice of the intent to hold the institution, or an entity or individual covered under the member’s policy, responsible for a wrongful act. Claims can come in many forms, including a lawsuit, a charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or state civil rights agency, an attorney demand letter, a demand for arbitration, or even an email.
Prompt reporting ensures that UE claims professionals have the opportunity to assess threatened legal action, gather additional facts from key institutional contacts, approve or select outside defense counsel to represent your legal interests, and, where appropriate, coordinate with UE risk management specialists to assist you in handling ongoing events that may have an impact on future litigation.
How to Report a Claim
New claims may be reported via email, fax, or mail. UE maintains all of its claims files in electronic format, so we prefer email submissions with attached electronic documentation. Please submit claims to:
Fax: (301) 907-0303
Mail to: United Educators
Two Wisconsin Circle, Fourth Floor
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
If you have questions about claims reporting, please call (800) 346-7877 and press 3.
“Incident” Reporting and Pre-Claim Advice Credit
In order to provide the broadest coverage, the ELL policy also allows you to report circumstances that are not yet claims but that you believe may give rise to a claim sometime in the future. Please send us a written description of that circumstance, the name of the person or persons who may seek to hold the institution liable, and the manner in which you first became aware of the circumstance.
One advantage of reporting an incident is that you have the opportunity to discuss the potential claim with an experienced UE claims attorney. We offer:
- advice to help you prevent or defend a claim
- consultation with in-house risk management specialists
- direction to appropriate resources
- a referral to local UE Select Counsel for pre-claim legal advice
A benefit of an early consultation is that up to $10,000 of a UE-appointed attorney’s time expended in advising the member prior to a claim is credited to the institution’s Self-Insured Retention if the incident later develops into a claim.
Steps to Take After a Claim Is Made
If the institution has been sued, please send us the complaint and include any exhibits; otherwise, please send us the demand letter, agency charge, email, or other document that constitutes a “claim” under the ELL policy and triggers the institution’s reporting obligations.We prefer to receive all documents electronically.
We would also appreciate receiving any prior correspondence with the claimant or his or her attorney, internal reports or results of appeals (such as those in faculty tenure or promotion cases or disciplinary situations involving staff or students), and any other document that bears on the claim.
Once a claim has been made, do not discuss the matter externally, especially with the media, without first consulting your UE claims attorney or claims manager. Do not sign or accept any releases from any parties without obtaining approval from us. Accept all correspondence, memoranda, suit papers, and the like without comment or argument. Do not admit liability and do not attempt to place blame.
If circumstances warrant referring the matter to an attorney, UE will either appoint or approve counsel to represent your institution, depending on the terms of your policy. Until we do so, you should not incur legal fees because costs incurred without our prior approval will not be credited to your self-insured retention or reimbursed by UE.
Coverage for a claim may also be provided by another insurance policy, such as a Primary General Liability (GL) policy. To protect your interests, notice of a claim should be submitted to any potentially responsible carrier. If your GL policy is with UE, only one report is necessary.
Claims Handling Process
A representative of UE’s Claims Department will usually contact you to discuss your claim soon after you report it. It is not unusual for us to request additional materials at that time.
As the claim proceeds, UE will monitor and assess progress. Where legal proceedings have been instituted, we maintain contact with you and your attorney regarding case status. Outside counsel must agree to conduct the defense in accordance with UE's Defense Counsel Guidelines and to submit a defense budget when requested. The guidelines provide for the communication and accountability necessary for UE to assist in the timely resolution of the claim and to approve costs reimbursed under your policy.
Over the life of the claim, UE will work with you to evaluate various strategic options and courses of action. In consultation with the institution’s representative and outside counsel when involved, we will make recommendations about whether the case should be defended or settled. Under the ELL policy, we must give our prior approval to any settlement that the member expects to be credited toward its retention or reimbursed by us. No settlement will be entered into without your consent.