If you run or work at a child-care centre, you probably know that it can be challenging for some parents to feel comfortable leaving their children. Making this process easy for them will not only make them appreciate it, but their child will feel happy and safe at day-care. If you’ve got a really great reputation in the child-care space, chances are you’ve got a good risk management plan in place. A risk management plan is so important for those sometimes scary “what if’s.” Being able to adapt well and act effectively after an incident (e.g. swift repairs after a damaging storm), means your reputation won’t be tarnished by the event – in fact, some prospective parents might see how well your centre dealt with the incident, and seek you out for their business. There are many different types of insurance that child-care centres may use that can get your centre back up and running after a storm, protect you from high legal fees following an accident, or just generally make sure you and your assets are protected against the unknown. Here are a few tips.
Risk management plan
Risk management plan? Have one. While we’d all like to think things will always go to plan and nothing will ever go wrong, something invariably will, and it’s always best to be prepared for it when it happens. Creating a clear risk management strategy, even if you never have to use it, will offer you peace of mind knowing you’re covered in the event that something goes wrong. The perhaps more costly, but very important, part of that is…
There are a few different types of insurances that child-care centres typically purchase. It’s worth doing some research to see which will be beneficial for you, but here are a few to look into first.
- General Liability Insurance:As the name suggests, the nature of this insurance is pretty general, so it’s one of the most common ones used by small businesses. It will cover a lot of the common risks/possibilities, such as injury to the children, or damage to the property of the children. Often, if you are renting or leasing the building or space, you will need General Liability Insurance in order to sign your rental contract.
- Property Insurance: This will protect you from large losses if there is any damage to your building or business property. Break-ins, floods, fire, and other events that lead to damage or loss of property are covered here.
- Management Liability Insurance: To protect yourself, this insurance covers investigative costs and legal fees related to misconduct, breach of duty and breach of warranty.
- Bundles:Often insurance providers will create a bundle of all the different insurance policies you want, so you can get full coverage and save some money on premiums. It’s worth looking into, as chances are you’ll be wanting more than one type of insurance for that day-care centre of yours.
As with every business, staff training is key. Make sure you not only follow state guidelines for how many qualified vs unqualified staff members you must have rostered on at any one time, and how many staff members you need to the number of children in your care, but also that your staff have all been properly trained in every aspect of the job for your specific centre. This includes knowing incident protocols and procedures so that they will be able to act quickly in the event that something happens. This comes back to your risk management plan – make sure all staff members know the plan for each specific scenario, and can put it into action when necessary.
Of course, aim to avoid accidents and incidents as much as possible – but they are called accidents for a reason. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment for the kids your centre is looking after (such as small chairs for the littlies) and this will minimise the risk of safety issues. Safety is one of those important things you should be constantly training your staff members around. As part of your risk management plan, make sure general work health and safety guidelines are clear and non-negotiable within your team and within the centre.
If there’s something we’ve all (hopefully) learned from COVID-19, it’s that if you’re sick, you should stay at home. Ensure you have a health and illness protocol in place – not only for staff members, but for parents, too. Make sure the parents of the children know when to keep their little ones at home. This will reduce the number of bugs going around the centre – especially in the winter months. Be rigid in this – don’t allow your sick staff members to come into work to save you from being short staffed. Make sure you have enough workers to cover sickness and other reasons your staff may be unavailable to work.
This is just a small checklist of things to consider when putting in place a risk management plan and insurance policy for your child-care centre. As with any small business, make sure you are covering yourself to protect your business, your reputation, and your own assets. Preparing for the unexpected can seem impossible – but these dot points are a good place to start. Chat to an insurance broker to ensure you’re making the best decision for your business. Take care of all the risk management stuff, and then sit back and enjoy the smooth running of your business!