The university is exposed to various risks which may be insured or not insured or often fall under insurance policy retentions. Like many large Universities of our size, we must incorporate large deductibles. However, the risk management program reimburses department units for losses similar to traditional insurance coverage to protect the integrity of operating budgets. Therefore, it is important for departments to report any loss or potential claim to Risk Management, and to also contact the Department of Public Safety for damage to university property.
The main concerns of most departments are loss from damage to property and equipment and injuries to people. Examples include:
There are established and tested techniques by which risks may be managed including avoiding activities and events that may be harmful to the financial or reputational interest of the university. Risk may be reduced, eliminated, or certainly controlled by using a well-planned loss prevention program. The Risk Unit and Office of General Counsel can assist departments in assessing risk and methods to consider in its prevention or mitigation.
Risk retention, or risk assumption are methods of particular interest to an operation as large as the university. Large organizations are expected to take deductibles and to fund for loss due to its size and operations. Expected losses are budgeted in loss reserve accounts, but unexpected loss can be transferred to insurers although at an economic cost. Self-insurance and internal funding for loss is usual for large entities and is overseen by the Office of Risk Management.
The purchase of insurance when available and economical can be a source of funding for loss but insurance purchase is usually the last method to solve a problem, not the first. Courts do not allow entities to avoid their legal liability solely based on the purchase of an insurance policy. The purchase of insurance is but one method to provide financial resources for claim payment and self-insurance does not mean persons are unprotected. As a legal entity, Marquette is responsible for legal liabilities arising from its activities. Employees and students representing the university are covered as agents when they are engaged/involved in the university business activities as part of our normal course of Higher Education offerings, events and curriculum. The law requires that agents be protected when acting in the scope of their authority or when representing the entity and not involved in any otherwise illegal activity. Insurance coverage has exclusions and conditions and is more limited in this regard then the responsibility imposed by law. It is the relationship of the activity and actions of individuals to the university that determines financial protection. The university has methods to fund for liabilities in addition to traditional insurance purchase.
The role of agency and legal liability is often misunderstood. Questions should be forwarded to Risk Management or the Office of General Counsel. One area that often is misinterpreted is coverage in internship programs and in health care rotations and credentialing.
Students in clinical affiliation programs are protected and covered by the university when participating in health care and internship programs required for degrees and licensing. Clinical rotations or other academic internships are generally handled by affiliation agreements between the university departments and outside agencies with provisions on legal liability. Students are not “insured” but they are protected legally as their actions fall under the university program they are representing. In addition, in health care settings, students are not acting as licensed professionals and are supervised by other professionals who represent or work for the entity for which they have been assigned. These professionals are required to be legally responsible for their supervisory role with students in claim allegations.
Requests for credentialing information regarding professional liability claims and insurance for health care employees should be referred to the Office of Risk Management for processing.
Questions regarding insurance should be directed to Marquette University's Office of Risk Management.