More Than A Blip: How One Pool’s Response to SAM Claims Benefits Us All


More Than A Blip: How One Pool’s Response to SAM Claims Benefits Us All

by Stephanie Weiss, Director of Education & Events at AGRiP

One of the most challenging issues for pools in recent years has been how to properly respond to sexual abuse and molestation (SAM) claims. These claims create intense pressure for public entity pools and their communities, requiring comprehensive and empathetic response, alongside proper support for victims.

In response to this growing challenge, Washington Schools Risk Management Pool (WSRMP) developed a comprehensive SAM Claims Toolkit that any pool can use to effectively manage SAM claims.

Beginning with what they thought was a “blip” in 2011-12, when the number of reported SAM claims spiked, WSRMP soon recognized this rapid increase in claims was more than a short-term trend.

Working with stakeholders, advocates, and others to ensure their claims response was appropriate and timely, WSRMP developed a multi-pronged, data-driven approach to SAM claims that included changes to:

  • Coverage
  • Underwriting
  • Claims handling
  • Risk prevention
  • Action team formation
  • A care team model
  • National and state-wide collaboration

Speaking at the 2019 Governance & Leadership Conference, Deborah Callahan and Dana Grandey of WSRMP presented the SAM Claims Toolkit to attendees, which includes:

  • Care team model information
  • Sample letters to parents
  • Resources on training, loss prevention, and coverage language
  • Information on staff-student boundaries
  • Reserves checklist
  • SAM attorney panel list and charter for creating a sex abuse prevention advisory committee
  • WSRMP publications

WSRMP staff also spoke at the 2018 Fall Educational Forum on SAM claims as part of a
keynote panel. That presentation and a webinar on SAM claims and management are available for member review below. Additionally, there is a recent Intelligence article on SAM claims in the public sector.

2018 Fall Educational Forum Panel Presentation: Sexual Abuse and Molestation Claims

Webinar: Sexual Abuse and Molestation Claims