An insurance company that provided coverage for the thousands of Apple devices in the Shawnee Mission School District last year has been sending out renewal notices this year despite being dropped by the district as an insurance partner.
Parents have received renewal notices from Worth Ave. Group in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The renewal notices do not tell parents that the company is no longer a partner with the district. This year Shawnee Mission decided to not have a third-party vendor and does not charge a fee up front to protect the laptops and iPads that have been distributed to students in every district school. Instead, the district has instituted a fee structure with set amounts for lost, stolen or damaged devices.
An FAQ post on the district’s website says the district has asked Worth to stop sending out renewal notices: “The district is not entering into a relationship with Worth to offer third-party insurance coverage for digital devices for the 2015-16 school year. School district officials have asked Worth to cease sending out renewal notices. Information was sent to all families in the school district via SMSD Alert regarding the change in fee structure to inform students/parents that the district would no longer have a relationship with Worth.”
The Worth renewal notice is asking for $89 for full coverage on the laptops. The renewals have even been sent for laptops that were used by graduating seniors from 2015.
The policies were set up directly with Worth last year and did not involve the school district in the transaction although the district had a relationship with Worth that allowed them to offer the third-party insurance on the district-owned devices. The district says it cannot prevent the purchase of third-party insurance this year, but it will not allow a district device to be taken for repair by a third-party vendor. “If an insurance rider requires the insured to provide the insurance company with the device for inspection to determine repair or replacement, there would be a conflict as the district will keep the device for our repair or replacement purposes,” the district’s FAQ states.
A final count is not complete, but the district says it appears that less than 10 percent of the devices ended up lost, damaged or stolen in the 2014-15 school year.
Last year, the insurance coverage did not apply to lost devices. The district also points out that some claims were denied by Worth last year.
Worth did not respond to emails regarding the renewal notices and attempts to contact them by phone were unsuccessful.