CATAWISSA - Board members at the Southern Columbia Area School Board meeting were shocked to hear their sports insurance premiums may quadruple.

Last year, the district spent $14,193 on sports insurance that covers student athlete injuries that occur during a sanctioned sporting event or practice.

Lanny Diltz, the district's account manager from Yoder Insurance, said at Monday's meeting that equivalent insurance would run the district around $60,000 for the 2014-15 season, but that the district would have to choose a different, less comprehensive plan because the company will not offer the school's current plan.

"I've been doing this 35 years and this is the highest premiums I've ever seen," said Diltz.

The jump in premiums and change in coverage results from the number of claims the school filed over the past four years.

The loss ratio on the policy for the 2013-14 year was 200 percent. Loss ratios on the 2012-13, 2011-12 and 2010-11 years were 371 percent, 591 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

Diltz said the high number of claims was caused by students who have no regular health insurance.

When a student receives medical treatment for an injury received during a practice or game, the student's primary medical coverage is applied first. The district's sports insurance is designed to pick up the remaining charges.

Students who have no health insurance, though, have been billing their sports-related injuries directly to the school's sports insurance, causing the number of claims and the total cost of claims to skyrocket.

The school district offers a student insurance plan that provides basic medical coverage to students. The cost is approximately $30 for coverage during school hours and around $120 for 24 hour coverage.

The current student insurance plan covers all sports except for high school football.

Three serious football injuries - two knee injuries that occurred to one person and one shoulder injury to another athlete - make up the bulk of the claims in the 2013-14 season.

The board discussed several options of lowering claim amounts to control premium increases in the futures. Requiring all student athletes to have personal health insurance was an option considered, but board members were unsure about the legality of such a rule.

Diltz said that currently no injury reports were being filed so it was difficult to suggest a solution to preventing injuries. He suggested that if athletic trainer Katie Fisher was unavailable, the team coaches should fill out an incident report to help track claims.

The board is also interested in speaking with Fisher for suggestions on cutting back on injuries or high cost claims, like those that require multiple physical therapy sessions.

Sports insurance is not required by law, but the board members were interested in continuing some form of coverage.

Prospective plans for the 2014-15 year were $49,000 for a two-year benefit period plan, $45,000 for a one-year benefit period plan, $45,600 for a two-year benefit plan with 80/20 coinsurance and $38,000 for a one-year benefit plan with 80/20 coinsurance.

A decision on the insurance needs to be made before the 2014-15 season kicks off Aug. 11.