This edition of the monthly MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: building projects, summer closing checklist, chapter house self-inspection form, sprinkler system update, Housing Forum replay with Marlon Gibson, PhD, cybersecurity webinar, what to look for when reviewing a contract FAQ, and more.

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This edition of the monthly MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: spring weather resources, important update about sprinkler credit, risky activities, Housing Forum session from Dr. Marlon Gibson, mental heath webinar, FAQ about workers’ compensation, and more.

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This edition of the monthly MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: highlights from the 2023 MJ Housing Forum, risk management advice for hail season, cybersecurity prevention, FAQ about passenger vans, and more.

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This edition of the monthly MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: winter storm update, winter driving tips, FAQ about volunteer’s insurance recommendations, preventing frozen pipes, preventing slips and falls.

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As you enter the summer months there are several things that should be done to ensure the property is protected while vacant:

  • Make sure preparations for any summer projects have been completed and a plan of action is in place.
  • Check all rooms and areas of the house to determine if security deposits should be returned or kept to pay for damages. You should refer to the move-in form you used at the start of the year. You should have the tenant sign the form on move-out also.
  • Clean all areas of the house and make sure all food has been removed or properly stored. Be sure all trash is removed from the property.
  • All hallways should be cleared of debris, clutter, and\or furniture and all fire doors must be closed.
  • Thermostats should be set to appropriate levels and hot water heater should set to “pilot” position, but not turned off. The boiler pump switches should be turned off for the summer.
  • Unplug all appliances, open refrigerators and freezers and empty ice makers if they are unplugged.
  • Secure and\or store all awards, composites, trophies, and any other valuables.
  • The outside of the house should be cleaned, including making sure the gutters are clear (we would recommend a professional who is properly insured). Be especially aware of any combustibles that may be stored against the exterior of the house. This should be properly disposed of.
  • Check interior and exterior lighting and all external doors to ensure proper security of the property and set any lighting timers to dusk to dawn setting.
  • Ensure that all broken windows have been repaired and are locked and blinds\drapes are closed.
  • All shrubbery should be trimmed to prevent easy hiding by anyone who may try to break in to the property. The landscaping should be properly maintained during the summer months.
  • The university police and/or local police should be notified whether anyone should be or will be at the property during the summer. Ask them to patrol regularly if possible.
  • An alumnus or responsible other party should have a key to access the facility if needed and check on the property at least weekly. Remember to disable resident, chapter members’, and employee key\swipe access and\or collect all keys from them. House corporation representative and\or house director, if applicable, should be the last people to leave the house.
  • Discontinue all services not needed during break, including mail, newspapers, food deliveries, garbage, etc.
  • Create and distribute list to house corporation members, chapter leadership, house director, if applicable, and headquarters contact the names and contact information for house corporation and chapter leadership, all staff members, important vendors and service providers, and appropriate emergency phone numbers.

Thanks to our business partner, CSL Management, for this resource.

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Our annual winter weather bulletin with risk management considerations and resources.

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This edition of the monthly MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: flu season preparedness, embezzlement risk management and claims trends, string lights FAQ, and preventing kitchen fires.

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The NPC community is working very hard to ensure that their organization represents diverse membership. An important dimension of this effort is the question of whether your chapter house is accessible to members and guests with a disability, be it a physical or a mental condition.

We have heard from several clients who expressed an interested in an accessibility audit, in which their chapter houses could be inspected to see where the facility could be made more accessible.

One question that has arisen is regarding doing the audit for a location and what liability may be created by doing an audit and not addressing the deficiencies identified for accessibility. This question, first off, needs to examine what liability in fact is being imposed upon sorority chapter houses, if any. The natural assumption is that disability accessibility is imposed through the Americans with Disability Acts (ADA). Please review our resource on this topic that illustrates that the ADA does not apply to fraternal organizations (aka sorority chapter housing).

However, there may be some local municipalities that have imposed similar ADA-like regulations which may or may not apply to the sorority chapter houses.

Therefore, with the lack of any applicable regulation(s) there is no liability imposed on the sorority chapter house. In the absence of any liability, if an accessibility audit is completed and for whatever reason any or none of the recommendations are not addressed, there is virtually little or no threat to your organization or the chapter house.

We do believe that there could be liability if there are promises made to a specific member or prospective member for a condition to be addressed, and the chapter ends up being unable to do so, which could potentially result in a contractual liability claim (also referred to as breach of contract).

Should you have additional questions or concerns regarding this subject, feel free to contact your Client Executive.

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One of the least understood federal regulations are those included in provisions of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation was passed in 1990 to extend the civil rights protection prohibiting discrimination to persons with disabilities.
ADA addresses the three major areas of employment, government services and public accommodations. Title III of the Act specifically
addresses the requirements of a building that is subject to this legislation.

As with most federal regulations, they often times are not accurately used and such is the case with local governments and sometimes universities will use this federal regulation terminology to serve as a big stick in their community to lead others to believe that they must comply with the ADA. They state that certain new codes are ADA required when in fact it is not part of the legislation which deals with those entities that are eligible under the Act.

Before we can even comment on whether this can be an accurate statement, it begs the question of whether women’s fraternity/sorority (sororities) properties are even subject to this legislation. The answer to that question is a resounding no, as sororities are not subject to this Act for a variety of reasons, primarily the fact that sororities are considered “private clubs” and, as such, are not subject to this legislation. Should you desire to read more detail on why a sorority is not subject to ADA, refer to this Fraternal Law article.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Client Executive.

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Hail can cause serious damage to your chapter house’s roof. Hail stones are made up of ice and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights, which can all contribute to the destruction of your roof after a hailstorm. The weight of hail stones is also a factor that should be taken into account when considering hail resistant roofing as an option. Hail stones can cause dents, cracks, and even holes in your roof, which will leave it vulnerable to water damage and increased energy costs.

The insurance industry has previously been willing to repair and/or replace roofs damaged by hail that are more cosmetic in nature or to match the entire roof’s shingles with the new replaced shingles due to actual hail damage. It is fair in saying that these days may be over.

There continues to be significant shifts in the weather patterns in certain parts of the US with increased wind and hail claims. The industry is seeing an increase in the storms producing conditions of hail and wind. There is an increase in the severity of the storms, thus bringing worse damage and the expanse of the areas affected are expanding more easterly than the past.

With the significant increase in hail and wind losses, all insurance companies are being forced to more closely analyze or underwrite each property risk and are looking at numerous alternatives to encourage more roof risk management. Examples we have seen across the insurance industry include:
• Significant increases in wind and hail deductibles in the wind/hail prone areas
• Limitations and exclusions to roof damage repair and replacement

Hail resistant roofing provides property owners an extra layer of protection against the destructive nature of hail stones, which can cause significant damage to traditional shingles and other roofing materials. It can withstand impacts from hail stones at speeds up to 150 mph, which is far stronger than traditional roofing materials. This extra protection minimizes the need to replace your roof after a hailstorm hits, and an additional advantage of impact-resistance roofing is its energy efficiencies, meaning you could save money on energy bills in the long run.

Unlike traditional roofing materials, impact-resistance shingles are designed to last longer, usually up to fifty years. The costs associated with hail resistant roofing materials will vary based on the resistance rating of the materials. These ratings run from Class 1 (least resistance) to Class 4 (highest resistance). Click here to see the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s list of shingle performance ratings. Generally, these roofing materials will cost more than the traditional roofing materials, but they also come with the added protection from hailstorms, last longer than traditional roofing shingles, and provide energy efficiencies.

For the property owners in the following states, there has been significant increases in storms attributing to wind and hail claims:

  • Arkansas
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

We urge our clients in these states to take additional measures to have a sound risk management plan in place, to upgrade your roofing materials to the impact-resistance shingles when your roof needs to be upgraded, and should you have a claim, consider upgrading to the preferred materials.

Travelers Insurance Company, who writes your property insurance, has developed an additional resource for you in your roof property management:

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This edition of the monthly MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: winter weather preparedness, Greek kitchen design trends webinar, required conditions under the crime policy, cyber security awareness month, and contracts FAQ.

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Chubb Insurance, the insurance company who writes your Crime Insurance Coverage, have some basic risk management rules and guidelines for the entities under your organization’s national insurance policy. These conditions are referred to as “required conditions” and list out specific requirements in the financial management to ensure that there is dual control of the financial transactions at all times. Should an embezzlement occur and the dual controls were indeed in place, then the entity would only have to absorb a lower deductible (refer to your Insurance Overview for your organization’s embezzlement limits and deductibles). However, should a claim occur and no dual controls were employed, then the per occurrence deductible would be $150,000 per occurrence.

This requirement by the insurance company hopes to serve two purposes:

  • To encourage stronger financial management by all entities of a woman’s fraternity/sorority and
  • To be punitive to those who don’t properly manage the exposure.  

Maintaining this coverage is extremely critical for our community comprised of primarily volunteer leadership. Thus, the insurance company has placed required conditions on the policy for insureds to qualify for a lower policy retention (deductible). Required Conditions means the Insured Organizations have utilized, prior to the loss sustained, a professional, third party accounting service* to provide the following controls with respect to any Chapter, Local House Corporation or Local Foundation, which will be verified at the time of loss:

  • All outgoing electronic payments are subject to segregation of duties between initiation, authorization and release, such that no one individual can control the entire process without oversight by another individual;
  • Accounts payable duties are segregated such that no one person can complete a transaction from beginning to end independently under their own authority;
  • Monthly bank reconciliation is conducted on all Chapter, Local House Corporation or Local Foundation approved bank accounts by a person that is not authorized to also handle deposits, sign checks or make electronic payments; and
  • At least once a month, bank and credit and purchase card accounts are reconciled by a board member or employee other than the board member or employee who is an authorized signatory for such accounts;
  • New vendors or any change to existing vendors are approved by a House Corporation board member.

Click here to see claims examples involving embezzlement  that might be useful for determining your various exposures to this type of risk.

We are confident that our clients recognize this risk to financial management and have implemented these required conditions as recommended. Should you have additional questions, please consult with your Client Executive at MJ Sorority.

*We have come to understand that this accounting service is generally being utilized, so it likely will not be a change for your operation. The policy requires the chapters/house corporations/local foundations have a professional, third -party accounting service in place at the time of a loss to qualify for the lower deductible should a loss occur. Examples of this would be an accounting firm or one of the accounting service providers in the fraternal community, such as OmegaFi and Billhighway/GreekBill.

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