What is Risk Management?
Contracts and Agreements
Releases of Liability
University Risk Management is the systematic and continuous process of identifying and evaluating the risks, in terms of frequency and severity, associated with all University activities and operations and developing a means to control, reduce, transfer or eliminate those risks. These risks include natural disasters, illness, injury, and loss of property resulting from unsafe practices or conditions as well as the financial cost of these losses. Simply stated Risk Management is the preservation of all University resources, including human, physical, natural and financial.
The Office of Risk Management actively manages The University of Delaware’s loss exposures by identifying the types of fortuitous losses the University faces, analyzing the type and size of loss exposures, and deciding how best to handle and finance these losses through a combination of insurance, self-insured retentions, risk avoidance, risk transfers and effective claims management.
The University finances its risks through the transfer to the a) State of Delaware (through its Insurance Coverage Office, b) commercial insurance carriers, c) others by contract and d) the establishment of cash reserves to pay certain uninsured claims.
Types of insurance include:
- Loss, Theft or Damage to University Owned Property
The University's property insurance responds to losses of all owned or leased property and equipment as well as the property of others in the University's care, custody or control. Departments will be charged a deductible for losses occurring within their department. If damaged or stolen equipment is not repaired or replaced, claims for reimbursement will not be processed.
Insurance reimbursement for losses of University owned property are made on a repair/replacement basis with property of like kind and quality. In order for the claim to be considered, the Office of Risk Management (ORM) must be notified immediately of the loss and the following must be received:
- Public Safety/Police report and a detailed narrative of the event giving rise to the loss
- Proof of ownership (i.e., copy of the original purchase order for the property and paid invoice)
- Evidence of replacement of and/or repairs to property
A. Building contents and equipment except property listed in Section B
1. For losses arising out of fire
2. For other perils, including theft $100,000.00
B. Computers, computer peripherals and electronic office equipment
1. All perils $500.00
- Loss, Theft or Damage to Non-Owned Property
The University's property insurance does not respond to losses for personal property of students or employees. Such losses should be reported to the insured's homeowners insurance policy.
The University, it’s Board of Trustees, officers, employees, and others can from time to time be charged with legal liability for negligent actions, wrongful acts or tortious conduct as the result of a real or alleged failure to fulfill a University obligation or duty. Various risk management practices may be applied to minimize the chance of such legal liability and to finance the costs of such claims.
- Employment Practices Liability
Allegations of wrongful termination, discrimination, or other employment related claims can be minimized by doing the following:
- Do not demonstrate unfair or deferential treatment of others on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other impermissible criteria considered to be unlawful discrimination.
- Define appropriate skills, education, training and essential functions in all position descriptions.
- Conduct annual performance appraisals of all employees you supervise and be honest in your appraisal of them.
- Do not ignore complaints, investigate them.
- Refer discrimination or sexual harassment complaints to the Affirmative Action office.
- Do not retaliate against employees who file grievances or workers’ compensation claims.
- Premises Liability
Any hazards identified on University property that could damage property or injure persons (such as falling ice or snow from buildings, icy walkways, blocked fire extinguishers or burned out exit lights) should be reported IMMEDIATELY to Facilities Operations and Maintenance for correction. Call Fix-it at 831-1744 or email Fix-It@udel.edu.
- Operations Liability
University departments and personnel are involved in a number of activities and operations, ranging from athletics, field trips, study abroad programs, special events, intellectual property development, research, student clubs, etc. Any of these operations could result in injury to persons or damage to property. Controlling the risks associated with such operations requires techniques such as making good decisions, employing best practices, providing supervision, orientation and training for a particular activity, having emergency procedures in place, and weighing the benefits versus the risks to determine whether a particular activity should even be undertaken. For assistance in developing sound risk management techniques for any of your operations, contact the Office of Risk Management.
- Contractual Liability
Contracts may contain “hold harmless and indemnification” language which may hold one party responsible for the negligence of another. The University should not assume unnecessary liabilities in a contract. For this reason, all significant contracts for services, affiliation agreements or leases of premises should be reviewed by the Office of Risk Management.
- Releases of Liability
Signed releases of liability are recommended if the University sponsors an event or activity that is voluntary and/or potentially dangerous, or when outside groups use University facilities. Such releases are signed by either the participating organization or by individual participants (or their parents, in the case of minors). These releases reduce the University’s liability and shift responsibility to the participant. Contact Risk Management for assistance in drafting appropriate release forms.
- Indemnification Policy
Any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding by reason of the fact that he or she is or was an employee or agent of the University shall be indemnified by the University against expenses (including attorney’s fees), judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred in connection therewith. Indemnification will be granted if the employee or agent acted in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the University and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reason to believe his or her conduct was unlawful.
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