Practice Area Column

Insurance and Education Abroad: Six Considerations for a Comprehensive Approach

What to do now to ensure coverage meets evolving needs.
Photo: Shutterstock
Karen Doss Bowman

In 2016, Darla Domke-Damonte, PhD, and a team of campus partners at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) went through a comprehensive evaluation of the university’s insurance policies, based on risk assessment and the institution’s risk appetite. The resulting AIG insurance policy, which included trip cancellation benefits that would kick in as a result of evacuations for a pandemic or an epidemic, served CCU well through the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. And although none of the university’s students needed to be quarantined, the policy did include a benefit of up to $250 per day ($2,500 max), depending on the program and certain other circumstances.

“We thought comprehensively through who we would need to cover and did risk assessment about what potential exposures could occur and what areas might be affected to find out what support might be needed,” says Domke-Damonte, CCU’s associate provost for global initiatives. “After our internal discussions, we brought these concerns to the table with our procurement group, approved AON as a broker, and worked with them to get to the ultimate insurance plan with AIG that worked out very well for us.”

It was not serendipity that led the CCU team to negotiate for epidemic benefits. During their discussions, the group ran through scenarios of extreme circumstances that could potentially disrupt approval to travel or make it necessary to bring students and faculty home. Recalling the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in China during the early 2000s, they deemed epidemic coverage to be essential. And in response to

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