School Pool for Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund (SPELL) is a statutorily filed joint self-insurance fund owned and managed by four local funds or owner groups. The owner groups consist of the three statutorily filed school board insurance funds which, as charter members, formed the SPELL on July 1, 2001, and one statutorily filed municipal joint insurance fund which joined the SPELL on January 1, 2002 (on behalf of its school district membership).
The four owner groups are the Atlantic & Cape May Counties Association of School Business Officials Joint Insurance Fund (ACCASBO), Burlington County Insurance Pool Joint Insurance Fund (BCIP), the Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem School Districts Joint Insurance Fund (GCSSD) and the Suburban Essex Joint Insurance Fund (SEJIF).
For the eight years prior to forming SPELL, the three charter member owner groups were formal purchase partners of various insurance policies from commercial carriers under a rotating lead agency agreement. Beginning with the July 1, 2000 annual reorganization of each owner group, it was apparent that the insurance market’s soft pricing cycle was rapidly coming to an end. The owner groups realized that it was inevitable that the cost to fund for excess losses on a group basis above their current retentions would be less expensive than paying excess insurance premiums.
The SPELL was formed as a logical and much needed financing mechanism designed to provide owner groups with a more cost-effective method for financing risk.
The SPELL’s objectives mirror those of its Owner Groups:
- The SPELL is designed to optimize the mix of retention and commercial insurance. This ability allows the SPELL to substantially reduce the severity of insurance pricing cycles to owner groups. In turn, this allows owner groups to realize their objective to stabilize the cyclical nature of insurance expenditures.
- The SPELL will actively supplement owner group safety and risk management initiatives. This will allow owner groups to meet their objective to pro-actively invest in safety and risk management programs to help their member school districts reduce exposure to risk.
- The SPELL will integrate its claim administration with owner group claim administration. This will allow owner groups to meet their objective to aggressively evaluate, defend and/or settle claims made against them and/or their member school districts that fall within the scope of SPELL coverage.
- The SPELL structure includes aggregate excess of loss financing so that owner groups are minimally exposed to the risk of supplemental assessment. However, the structure also includes aggregate excess loss corridors for owner groups. This intentional corridor is not large enough to expose an owner group to the risk of supplemental assessments, but is large enough to compel owner groups to spend all their loss funds and interest income for a bad claim year.
- All SPELL loss funds will be at high actuarial confidence levels for retention it finances. This will enable owner groups to maintain their individual conservative funding habits in a combined effort to ensure long-term financial security and stability for the SPELL, its owner groups and their member boards of education.
- Lastly, the SPELL’s approach to aggregate excess protection supports owner group objectives associated with the equitable distribution of their local budgets.
To schedule a Concept Presentation and hear how the JIF can help your district, click here.