Reminder: This bulletin is for informational and educational purposes only. As always, please ensure that you are following  the guidance and recommendations of your national organization first and foremost. 

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In the past, this newsletter has been distributed approximately six times a year. With the increase in resources that we are developing, we are transitioning to sending this communication out every month and combining our employment news items into News & Notes. Should you have any questions or topics you would like us to address, please contact Sara Sterley, Director of Risk Management Education, with your suggestions!

Fall 2021 & COVID-19

As we embark on another pandemic academic year, we have updated two important resources for Fall 2021: The guidance varies greatly depending on what your chapter's college/university is requiring in terms of vaccination, as well as communal spread. In addition to our resources above, for further reading, we recommend the Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education for the Fall Semester 2021 produced by the American College Health Association.
As many campuses make decisions about vaccinations for the fall, bookmark this page for a full listing of colleges and universities that will require students or employees to be vaccinated from Covid-19 from The Chronicles of Higher Education. (*This site requires free registration)

New Risk Alert: Biometric Risks for House Corporations

The security of the chapter residents, guests and employees has always been a high priority for the owners of the chapter houses. In the search for the most ideal security access systems, we are aware of some locations installing security systems that require the use of some type of biometric information or biometric identifiers. This could include fingerprints, retina or iris scans or scans of hand or face geometry.

Collecting, storing, and using these biometrics creates a risk should the information or identifiers be breached and go outside the intended use of this data. Examples include a computer hacker selling this data to a third party for its nefarious use.

Should you use any type of system that collects, stores, or uses the biometrics, please consider the following best practices:
  • Create a general Biometric Information Privacy Act policy, which should be provided by the biometric vendor you are using.
  • The policy should address the nature and purpose of the privacy policy and the retention and destruction guidelines. Consider requiring each employee to sign an arbitration agreement with a class action waiver.
  • Provide annual written notice to all individuals and employees whose biometric information identifiers are collected or stored and specify the purpose of the collection and length of time the information identifiers will be held, stored, and used.
  • Secure written consent or written release from each individual employee agreeing to the collection of their biometric information identifiers.
  • Here is a sample policy from ADP if you want to review for your use.
The risks are unique between a member’s breach and that of an employee’s breach, so special attention should be given accordingly. See this article for additional reading and examples.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Client Executive.

COVID-19 Response

We have created a page on our website for our resources and FAQs related to COVID-19. This situation is very fluid and changing hour-by-hour, so be sure to bookmark this page and continue to refer to it for additional information as we have it.
COVID-19 Response at

Severe Weather Trends: Expect to See More

Just in the last month since we sent out the last newsletter, we have seen severe wildfires in northern California and Oregon (as well as around the globe), severe flash flooding in North Carolina, Tennessee, and along the east coast, and severe drought conditions in the West. 

This is not surprising to anyone who read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s recently released report. Insurance companies continue to pay close attention to the IPCC reports, so that they can improve their catastrophic modeling and better structure their policies. Many of you have already experienced more severe weather where you live, and we expect to see more impacts across the country in the coming years, which is likely to influence both insurance premiums and coverages. In fact, the insurance industry is already experiencing the effects of climate change: natural catastrophe losses in 2020 were up 26.5% from 2019, according to Investopedia, and over the last five years nearly doubled those of the prior five. 

At MJ Sorority, we are hopeful that, because college and university campuses are typically developed on preferable property when it comes to flooding, wildfire risk, hurricane prone areas, etc., sorority housing is less prone to severe weather events caused by climate change; however, as scientists predict in the most recent IPCC report, it is increasingly likely that most places around the globe will be impacted by climate change to one extent or another. It is important that House Corporations and sorority leadership are contemplating these predictions in their plans and budgets.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. As a reminder, here are the directions for what to do in the event of a claim.

Reminders About Transportation Risks

In our opinion, a car accident is the most volatile risk facing sororities: a general liability claim typically only affects one person versus an auto claim that generally affects several people. 

The following factors have transportation risks on our minds:
  • The largest sorority claim was an $11M automobile claim. 
  • During Covid, automobile fatalities are up 17 percent with a substantial increase in accidents involving alcohol and other impairments, such as mental health struggles and distracted driving
  • Members tend to have less driving experience these days
  • Cars are designed to separate upon impact, which causes more bodily injuries but less deaths
Your organization's insurance coverage protects your organization for the following types of coverage:
  • Hired automobile liability: This coverage applies only to vehicles rented to the organization
  • Non-owned automobile liability: This coverage protects your organization if they are named in a lawsuit involving an automobile.
These coverages apply to the national organization and all other entities named, but it does not extend to the driver of the automobile, who will need to rely on their personal automobile coverage.

Additionally, our claim experience shows that members and staff typically do not have sufficient limits of coverage under their personal auto policies, which unfortunately puts more pressure on the organization's coverage in the case of an accident. For that reason, we recommend the minimum limits listed in the graphic.

Because of the increased risks associated with transportation to and from sorority events, we wanted to remind you of the following risk management policies that we recommend:
  • MJ Sorority supports Designated Driver programs when they are held in conjunction with an official sorority event. This ensures that the Designated Driver program meets certain safety guidelines and policies set forth by your organization. 
  • We recommend that chapters do not allow random "sober sis" or designated driver arrangements that are not in conjunction with an official sorority event because these arrangements tend to be less organized and, therefore, riskier.
  • In addition, we often see new and/or younger members being asked (or told) to be the designated driver, which leaves the chapter more susceptible to allegations of hazing.
For further information on designated driver programs and our risk management recommendations, please review our position paper on the topic. To dig deeper into how the automobile liability coverage works, check out this resource. Also, check out our latest podcast that addresses some automobile FAQs or this older episode on designated driver programs

Pandemic Lessons

We want to start a series in the newsletter about lessons from the pandemic. Email Sara with what you've learned or relearned from the pandemic/the last eighteen months, and we'll feature you in a future newsletter (and probably send you a gift too!).

Additional Resources

Bookmark the MJ Insurance COVID-19 response page for many additional legislative updates, webinars, and more. 
Our partners at Fisher Phillips have developed many helpful and detailed employment-related Covid-19 resources. Be sure to check out and bookmark their website.
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This Risk Management Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for appropriate  legal advice.

Copyright © 2021 MJ Sorority, All rights reserved.

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