John Fees is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of GradGuard™. Fees is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he received a bachelors of science degree in History and is also a graduate of Harvard Business School where he completed a Masters in Business Administration. John Fees lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is married to Melissa Soza Fees, Ph.D. and is the father of five children. He is the Treasurer for the Arizona College Success Arizona, a Director of College Parents of America, Founding Director and investor in Tonto Creek Camp which provides service leadership experiences to 8,000 students annually. He is also an active member of University Risk Management and Insurance Association and the Professional Insurance Marketers Association.
The ACUHOI community forum offers a robust place for housing professionals to discuss topics. Today a discussion occured regarding institutional policies for summer programs. Schools, particularly in popular urban locations, such as Washington D.C., Chicago and many others have strong and growing conference programs.
It is difficult for "vendors" to respond to these community discussions or to properly convey the value of GradGuard's programs without coming off as a commercial, so I am posting my thoughts here and only suggesting ACUHOI housing leaders to consider the topic within the forum.
From a campus safety and risk management perspective it is useful to consider protecting your institution from losses that result from short-term / summer residents by including an affordable renters insurance benefit as part of your summer lease. Generally for less than $15.00 a month, a school can protect both the student and institution from financial losses.
Three issues to consider that are particularly relevant to short-term / summer program residents.
- Reduce Collections Issues - Schools may benefit from short term residents have renters insurance and will benefit from the liability protection that may cover losses that result from unintentional damaage caused by residents. Unlike full-time students where the institution has the leverage of preventing enrollment in the next term, short-term residents may have a legal obligation but little capacity to actually pay for damages they cause.
- Personal Property Loss - Campus thefts and burglaries don't end during summer months. If your school doesn't replace stolen or damaged property, it would be a valuable benefit to provide renters insurance to your short-term residents. From bicycles to backpacks, campus visitors and residents are often vulnerable to losses that may disrupt their campus experience.
- Affordable Benefit - GradGuard designed our renters insurance program so that can be offered on a monthly basis. Generally offered between than $12.00 - 15.00 per month - a short term resident may receive $5,000 of property protection and $25,000 of liability protection. Greater coverage options are available and often necessary for the international students or faculty / staff your campus may serve.
Just as the losses that students experience (a stolen backpack is nearly always a $2,000 loss) or water damage within a residence hall - frequently cause tens of thousands of dollars that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, for a student to pay for.
Given the low cost of protection, it is a prudent idea to include renters insurance within the cost of summer housing. At a minimum, schools would be well served to verify that each student completes an electronic verification that they accept personal responsibility for losses and are provided the opportunity to easily enroll in a renters insurance program within the leasing process.