Saturday, July 21, 2018
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Sharyland-LogoFollowing two separate data breaches within the last year that exposed the private information of thousands of school teachers across the state, the Sharyland Independent School District approved a new property and casualty insurance agent and carrier during their latest school board meeting.


On Monday, July 24, board trustees elected to award the Property Casualty Alliance of Texas and Carlisle Insurance as the district’s carrier. Under this policy, cyber security will be included.


Last September, an email from the La Joya American Federation of Teachers was sent out to the public that contained the social security numbers and payroll deductions of 1600 La Joya ISD teachers, according to published reports. This past June, personal information of school employees from five different districts became inadvertently visible to the public on the internet, according to a news release from the Texas Association of School Boards.


Following these events the district’s insurance expert recommended the board approve coverage with PCAT as they provided cyber liability in their coverage, according to Mark Dougherty, the school district’s risk management director.


Dougherty said in his presentation the total combined premium contribution for this coverage would be $525,561. Currently, the district has a property rate with the Ohio-based company, Great American, valued at nearly $417,000 that is set to expire at the end of the month.


The increase, according to Dougherty, is because district property values have jumped by nearly $50 million to more than $287 million since the district last approved their property and casualty insurance three years ago.


The jump was caused by the creation of Pioneer High School, Dougherty said.


According to Jerry Bravenec, spokesperson for Carlisle Insurance, the cyber liability coverage includes specialists coming into the district to discuss with staff and administrators what to tell the public about a data breach.


“It’s a necessary thing,” Bravenec said. “There’s a $10,000 policy in the event something happens. I know we have great technology but with everything going on, I know how data breaches can be.” Trustees recommended tabling the item for a later meeting following several unanswered questions such as the difference between crime coverage and terrorism coverage that was under the policy. However, Bravenec recommended the board vote on the item in case the rates changed by the time school board members met again.


School board trustees approved the item 6-1 with Noel Garza as the dissenting vote.


“This is a lot being thrown onto us without really studying it,” he said.