Skip to main content

Primary and Secondary Schools

Primary and secondary schools are building blocks of every community. Numerous risks face these educational institutions. Marsh's Education Practice has the knowledge and experience to help K-12 institutions like yours.

Primary and secondary educational settings and the programs they offer vary greatly. From small, community-based elementary schools to regional systems serving thousands of students, primary and secondary educational institutions are cornerstones of cities and towns the world over. In the United States alone, more than 50 million students attend public and private schools from kindergarten through middle school and high school.

With a broad set of extracurricular and sports programs, risks are not limited to the classroom. Natural hazards, injuries to staff and students, physical security, cyber incidents, and pandemics are just a few of the risks that schools must now contemplate daily.

Our team of education risk specialists understands the complex risks facing schools like yours. We can help you learn how to effectively manage those risks, so your institution can focus on preparing future generations for success.

Related insights


Like their counterparts in higher education, primary and secondary schools can have complex exposures.

Some of the key risks for K-12 schools are:

  • Property risks: Classrooms, playgrounds, sports fields, and equipment can experience significant damage in natural disasters, severe weather conditions, accidents, and vandalism.
  • General liability risks: Injuries and illnesses befall students, volunteers, and visitors. These can expose schools to lawsuits.
  • Educators legal liability (ELL): Similar to directors and officers (D&O) liability and errors and omissions coverage (E&O), ELL claims can arise from acts relating to employment, harassment, federal civil rights laws, and more.
  • Safety risks: The education sector is vulnerable to acts of violence. Schools must prepare for active shooter or other violent incidents that may occur in the school setting.
  • Cyber risks: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were integrating remote learning technology into their programs. The pandemic accelerated that trend and forced school systems to quickly institutionalize remote learning for teachers and students. This sudden shift has made cyber risk management mission-critical. 

With more students and staff using technology, in and outside the classroom, getting a handle on cyber risk is paramount. Cyberattacks, particularly ransomware, are increasing in frequency, and ransom demands are growing. Numerous public school systems in recent years have experienced ransomware attacks and the disruption that accompanies them.

As online class sessions and internet research assignments grow in prevalence, so do privacy concerns for primary and secondary learners. Schools need to remain mindful of this increased exposure as they encourage students to embrace technology in learning.

Our team of risk specialists has extensive experience and tools to help schools like yours to identify, analyze, and mitigate cyber and other risks.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response by government authorities to contain it forced schools to rethink their daily operations and implement safety protocols for students as well as staff.

A key learning from the pandemic is the importance of resilience and continuity planning. For primary and secondary schools, continuity during disruptions often means relying heavily on technology and remote access to teaching materials. As a result, cyber and technology risks have become even more significant for educational organizations. Protecting staff and students from illness is another responsibility that has taken on greater importance.

Marsh’s risk specialists can help schools like yours assess and manage risks, so you can protect the students, staff, and property in your care, minimize the impact of disruptions, and continue to educate young learners.

Our people

Jean Demchak

Global Education Industry Practice Leader