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Kidnapping and Online Predators Rank as Biggest Concerns for Parents of School-Age Children

Student Safety Guide Addresses Risks for Pre-Teens, Teens and Undergrads

WARREN, NJ, August 10, 2010 - According to a survey of 654 parents of school-age children by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, more than two-thirds (67%) agree that today's kids are exposed to more risks than they encountered during their own childhoods. In particular, older students (from middle school to college) face a mix of emerging and traditional risks that can be difficult for parents to address thoroughly.

"As a parent, I look for 'teachable moments' to talk to my children about everyday risks, but solely relying on those ad hoc opportunities to arise can leave children in the dark about serious issues," said Christie Alderman, vice president, Chubb & Son, and new products and services manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. "In today's risk environment, parents need to take a bigger-picture approach to protecting their families from potentially devastating emotional and financial loss."

Half of respondents in Chubb's survey talk about safety with their kids at the beginning of each school year. When asked which traditional and technology-related risks concern them the most, respondents most often named risks that garner national headlines such as kidnapping. Thirty-eight percent rank kidnapping/abduction as the "traditional" risk that concerns them the most, above car accidents (30%) and harassment/bullying (22%). For technology-related hazards, parents list online predators as the top threat (38%), followed by identity theft (25%), cyberbullying (18%) and sexting (14%).

"We found that when asked about the threats that concern them most, parents tend to focus on severe but rare incidents. It's also important to keep in mind the everyday risks like bullying and sexting, which kids are much more likely to encounter," Alderman said. "Your daughter or son may roll their eyes or be uncomfortable talking about these things, but a brief conversation about a few extra precautions you want them to take could make all the difference."

To help parents protect their kids against these risks, Chubb has released a new guide to safety for the back-to-school season. The tips are designed to help parents of children from middle school through college take a more holistic approach to addressing both emerging and traditional threats that students face during the later school years. For a link to "The Chubb Student Risk Guide," visit www.chubb.com/journalists/chubb12299.pdf.

Topics addressed in the safety guide include:

  • Creating a safe environment for latchkey kids;
  • Talking with students about online hazards, such as cyberbullying and identity theft;
  • Building the foundation for safe driving habits; and
  • Establishing an emergency exit plan in case a study-abroad experience goes awry.

"Today's young people are growing up in a very different environment than their parents. A more holistic approach to safety can help save families heartbreaks, headaches, money and time," said Alderman. "Parents also can make sure that their homeowners, auto, travel-related and liability insurance policies adequately address the risks. Chubb, for example, provides personal liability coverages through homeowners and personal excess liability insurance policies that can help protect parents if they are sued when their child is accused of defaming the character of a teacher or other adult in an online post. Policies such as Chubb's Family ProtectionSM can help address the financial costs associated with child abductions and home invasions."

The telephone survey of American parents was conducted by Opinion Research Corp.

For more information on risk management for families, and to talk with other parents about back-to-school safety, visit Chubb on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChubbInsurance.

The member insurers of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies form a multi-billion dollar organization providing property and casualty insurance for personal and commercial customers worldwide through 8,500 independent agents and brokers. Chubb's global network includes branches and affiliates in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. Chubb is a worldwide leader in insuring fine homes, automobiles, yachts, antiques and other collectibles, and personal liability. Additional information on Chubb can be found at www.chubb.com/personal.