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University insurance: Notice

General guidance on University insurances has appeared in the Reporter from time to time, and circulars dealing with specific questions relating to insurance have been issued by the Finance Division. The last comprehensive statement was published in June 1996 (Reporter, 1995-96, p. 853). The Finance Division have now revised and updated that statement to take account of changes in the insurance position since 1996; the Finance Committee have agreed to publish the following revised statement for the information of the University. Copies of the statement are being sent to Heads of Departments and Secretaries of Faculty Boards.


The University's insurers for most types of cover are Royal & Sun Alliance. In accordance with the European Community Directives on Public Procurement, the University's insurance requirements are advertised in the Official Journal of the European Community (OJEC) where the relevant threshold is exceeded on expiry of the long-term contract. Additionally, a review of the University's insurances will be undertaken in 1999 by an insurance broker to be selected by tender, ten years having elapsed since the last such review.

The University's insurances are consolidated and its policies are maintained by the Finance Division. In addition to the permanent policies, the Finance Division offers Departments assistance in obtaining ad hoc cover in particular instances. Occasionally Departments and other institutions may need to set up their own policies on a 'collect direct' basis with Royal & Sun Alliance. Information on these options appears in Section IV.

The major insurances likely to affect Faculties, Departments, and other University institutions are listed below. (A summary table is provided on p. 844.)

1.0 Buildings and Contents

1.1 All University operational buildings (including vacant properties) and contents are insured under a single policy for the standard risks of fire, flood, lightning, explosion, escape of water, impact, subsidence, accidental damage, riot, and theft. The cover applies to most University assets (including items leased, hired, or loaned by the University for use on University business) while located or operated in any premises in the United Kingdom owned, occupied, or used by the University. There is also provision for the reinstatement of records lost through the insured perils. Glass and windows are also covered, as is cash (within certain limits).

1.2 A number of improvements in cover have been made since June 1996, the most important of which are:

(a) Temporary removal clause: this provides cover at no additional charge for University equipment and property (maximum value now increased to £500,000) taken off University premises for specified periods, provided that the Finance Division is informed in advance. Departments and other institutions are liable for the excess of £250 in the event of a claim.
(b) Transit of goods: transits up to £50,000 in value are now covered not only in the UK but also in Europe, at no additional charge, subject to advance notification to the Finance Division. Especially fragile items (such as laboratory glass) should be specifically identified (see paragraph 17 below). Departments and other institutions are liable for the excess of £250 in the event of a claim.
(c) Exhibition extension: items on exhibition, including antique books, manuscripts, and irreplaceable items are now covered anywhere in Europe at no additional charge, subject to a limit of £200,000 for any one exhibition for a period of four weeks, and subject to advance notification to the Finance Division. Departments and other institutions are liable for the excess of £250 in the event of a claim.
(d) Business interruption cover: this provides cover for the consequences of a loss when, for example, premises become uninhabitable as a result of fire, water damage, or any other of the insured perils. The insurance is dealt with under three separate headings:
(i) Additional cost of working: e.g. temporary accommodation costs; salaries of additional staff; overtime remuneration of staff; additional travel costs of relocated staff; removal costs.
(ii) Research and development costs: e.g. salary costs of re-working projects, or repeating experiments or studies.
(iii) Loss of revenue: e.g. loss or return of sponsorship grants; loss of central funding.

N.B. Guidelines were circulated in April 1998 (Ref.c.13(98)) to assist Departments involved in major insurance claims. Further copies of this document can be obtained from the Finance Division.

1.3 Apart from items on short term exhibition (see paragraph 1.2(c) above), it should be noted that irreplaceable items such as works of art and certain museum exhibits are not covered under the policy. Library books pre-1850 and periodicals pre-1900 are also excluded. Special cover has been arranged for particular collections at the expense of the Department or other institution concerned. Further information can be obtained from the Finance Division.

1.4 The policy excesses on claims are as follows:

Accidental damage £1,000
Subsidence £1,000
Theft £2,500 or £10,000 (see paragraph 1.5 below)
Other covers £250

The Finance Committee have agreed that the Insurance Fund should meet only 75 per cent of uninsured losses for accident and theft claims, the remaining 25 per cent (or £250, whichever is the higher) together with the £250 excess on other claims remaining the responsibility of the Department. (For uninsured losses caused by accidental damage a sliding scale will operate in respect of the Department's contribution.)

1.5 The University has provided considerable resources to improve the security of its sites and buildings. The work undertaken has included inter alia security audits in co-operation with the insurers, the installation of alarm systems, computer locking devices, uniformed patrols, and a closed circuit television system monitoring central sites. A reduction in the excess for theft from £10,000 to £2,500 has been negotiated for the majority of buildings which meet agreed standards of security. Plans are in hand for the small number of remaining buildings to be brought up to the required level to qualify for the reduced excess. Departments and other institutions wishing to know about progress with this programme should contact Mr J. Heppleston, University Security Adviser ((3)32839) from whom general advice on security matters can also be obtained.

1.6 There remain a number of important exclusions from cover. Theft from the open, from outbuildings, or from unattended vehicles is excluded. Losses identified as a result of inventory checks are also excluded. Other standard exclusions are wear and tear, damage caused by faulty or defective workmanship, operational error, corrosion, mechanical or electrical breakdown, and change in temperature (e.g. from power loss). Therefore, damage to the contents of freezers from any of these causes is not covered under the policy (see also paragraph 8.4). While theft not involving forcible entry or exit is not specifically excluded, the excess (£25,000 per claim) is so high that for the majority of claims it is effectively not covered. This list is not exhaustive; further details can be obtained from the Finance Division.

1.7 The Finance Division is responsible for reviewing annually the value of the total sum insured. It has been agreed that the baseline information on the University's operational buildings contained in the Estate Strategy document will be revised annually to provide up-to-date valuations for insurance purposes. The University's insurers need to be informed of the acquisition (or disposal) of buildings and contents only if the value is in excess of £5m. However, it would be helpful to the Estate Management and Building Service if Departments and other institutions could keep them informed of any changes of premises, including leased premises, and of premises which are standing empty.

1.8 Under the terms of the policy the University's insurers must be advised of potential claims as soon as possible and certainly within a maximum of 30 days. If the total cost of any claim is likely to exceed £5,000, loss adjusters must be appointed immediately. Departments are therefore asked to telephone the Finance Division ((3)39659 or (3)32216) immediately to report any incident which may result in a total claim of that amount. If such an incident occurs out of office hours, the loss adjusters (Crawford-THG) should be contacted directly on 01763-838483/01799-530274/01480-394648. Claim forms and supporting documents should be submitted as soon as possible thereafter. In cases where the total value of any claim is less than £5,000, a claim form should be submitted to the Finance Division within fourteen days. Claim forms may be obtained from the Insurance Secretary ((3)32216). The contact for other insurance queries is the Insurance Officer, Mrs M.J. Gillings ((3)39659).

As stated in paragraph 1.2(d) guidelines to assist Departments in handling a major incident are available from the Finance Division (Mrs Gillings (3)39659).

1.9 Incidents of theft and other breaches of security should also be reported to the University Security Adviser, Mr J. Heppleston ((3)32839), at the same time as the Finance Division is notified. Criminal acts must be reported to the police and the Security Control Centre ((3)31818). Steps to remedy resulting security weaknesses (e.g. broken windows, forced locks) should be taken promptly, and their cost included in the claim.

1.10 The Finance Committee have kept the position on terrorism under review. The ceasefire in Northern Ireland resulted in a substantial reduction in premiums and the University now has full cover for its operational buildings with the University Mutual Terrorism Association (UMALT) at an economical rate. The improvements to security for sites referred to in paragraph 1.5 above are as important as a safeguard against terrorism as they are against theft or vandalism. All members of the University are asked to be on their guard and to report any suspicious objects or activity to their Departmental Administrator and to the Security Control Centre ((3)31818), in accordance with the notices displayed in Departments and other institutions.

2.0 Employers' Liability

2.1 The insurance market withdrew unlimited cover for employers' liability insurance on 1 January 1995; from that date many insurers, including Royal & Sun Alliance, provided a standard limit of £10m. To establish the appropriate level of cover, a thorough survey of all University Departments was conducted by the Finance Division with the co-operation of Departmental administrators and the Safety Adviser's Office, to establish the numbers of occupants of buildings and the nature of activity (including hazards) undertaken within them. Based on the results of the survey, the Finance Committee approved an increase in the sum insured from £10m to £25m from 1 August 1995. In the light of the information on third party presence provided by the survey, the Finance Committee also agreed to increase the former sum insured under the public liability policy (see paragraph 3 below) from £10m to £15m.

2.2 Employers' liability insurance indemnifies the University against damages and costs awarded to an employee where the legal liability of the University has been established for any injury, disease, sickness, or fatality arising out of or in the course of employment by the University. For legal liability to be established, omission or negligence of some kind must be proved. This policy would indirectly compensate an employee bringing a successful action against the University.

2.3 The term 'employee' is very broadly drawn and, in addition to those under a contract of service or apprenticeship, includes:

2.4 This policy does not provide personal accident insurance for individual members of the University. This topic is dealt with more fully in Section II below.

2.5 All accidents, however minor, are recorded on the University's Accident, Dangerous Occurrence, and Incident Report Form, which is sent to the University Safety Adviser's Office, with details of steps taken to avoid a recurrence. If it is felt that a particular incident might give rise to a claim under this policy, the Finance Division should be advised immediately. Correspondence or statements from potential claimants should be forwarded to the Finance Division without comment; in no circumstances should any member of staff admit liability or make comments which could undermine the University's position. This is a condition of the insurance cover. Furthermore, the Finance Division should be consulted before any documents, including the Report Form, are released to claimants.

3.0 Public Liability

3.1 This insurance has three functions, namely:
(a) to indemnify the University against legal liability for damages and costs in respect of accidental injury to any person other than an employee (see paragraph 2.3 above) or damage or loss to third party property;
(b) to cover the defence of individuals acting on behalf of the University should they be subject to an action brought by a third party alleging such liability;
(c) to provide product liability cover for products supplied and contract work executed by the University.

3.2 The cover applies world wide and encompasses all authorized University bodies, such as affiliated societies and clubs, and the University trading companies.

Financial loss to third parties which is not consequent upon injury to persons or loss or damage to property is not covered.

3.3 There are important exclusions from cover, namely:

(a) the use by the University of aircraft or other aerial devices (but not excluding research, e.g. testing of aircraft engines);
(b) waterborne craft exceeding 24 feet in length and not on inland waterways;
(c) any effect of radiation or radioactivity (this applies only where the University is engaged in activities connected with any nuclear plant, e.g. a research contract with Nuclear Electric);
(d) the consequences of war.

Special cover may be arranged for the first two categories when necessary.

3.4 University personnel should not incur on behalf of the University responsibilities or liabilities written into a contract or an agreement or implied in an exchange of letters. Public liability cover does not include liabilities voluntarily accepted. Such instances can arise, for example, in simple hire agreements. Any formal contract or agreement should in any event be referred to the Finance Division for the legal and insurance implications to be checked.

3.5 Conversely, no document waiving the University's rights to pursue claims itself in the event of a mishap should be accepted without prior consultation with the Finance Division. Parties of students visiting commercial or industrial concerns are often asked to sign a disclaimer or provide an indemnity; the University's insurers can advise on a form of words which affects its rights as little as possible.

3.6 Departments or other institutions arranging for students or others to be seconded or to obtain work experience with outside organizations should investigate the safety and insurance arrangements of the prospective employer. If overseas travel is involved, Departments should also ensure that the individuals have suitable travel insurance (see paragraph 21). Although the University cannot be held responsible for events occurring while students or staff are away on secondment, sufficient attention to these issues should be paid to satisfy its 'duty of care' towards its staff and students. In particular it should be established that the employers' liability insurance of the employing organization covers the secondee (just as the University's employers' liability policy covers persons on secondment here). To assist Departments in this respect, a document (which can be sent to the employing organization) is in the course of preparation and will be available from the Safety Office shortly. Guidelines in respect of students undertaking unsupervised field trips were circulated by the Treasurer on 27 September 1996. Further copies of this document are available from the Finance Division.

Provided that the individuals are acting within their authority and their University role, the University's public liability policy will cover their actions while away on work experience or secondment.

4.0 Professional Indemnity

4.1 This insurance provides cover for legal actions taken against the University by third parties as a result of (inter alia) neglect, error, omission, breach of trust, or infringement of copyright or patent occurring or committed in good faith by its employees, academic staff, research students, or visiting scholars in the course of their work for the University and arising out of advice, design, specification, report, or research.

4.2 Specific exclusions comprise any claim arising from medical malpractice in respect of treatment given by the University; any claim brought in the United States of America or Canada or relating to work actually done in those countries. The aviation exclusion has been clarified by our insurers to the effect that it will not apply 'in respect of research contracts where developmental or experimental work is undertaken and where the results of such research contracts are subject to further development or experimentation prior to any design, specification, or advice being adopted in relation to aircraft or aerial devices'. Nevertheless, such contracts must be referred to Royal & Sun Alliance through the Insurance Officer on an individual basis, so that the appropriateness of the policy cover can be considered. Any of the other activities specifically excluded should be brought to the attention of the Finance Division (other than those clinical trials for which cover has already been arranged).

4.3 Academic staff should note that private work will only be covered by this indemnity if:

(a) the permission of the University has been obtained;
(b) fees for such work are declared to the insurers.

To ensure that these obligations are met, all private work where insurance cover is required should be channelled through Cambridge University Technical Services Ltd (CUTS) (formerly Lynxvale).

For guidance on how to proceed, contact Dr R.C. Jennings at the Wolfson Industrial Liaison Office ((3)34755/6).

4.4 At the first sign that a problem may be developing resulting from 'advice, design, specification, report, or research' work done by academic staff, Mrs Gillings at the Finance Division ((3)39659) should be notified. At no time should any liability be admitted, and all third party contact and correspondence should be redirected to the Finance Division.

5.0 Clinical Trials

5.1 Clinical trials, which are defined under the Medicines Act 1968 as involving the application of substances or devices, are insured under a Royal & Sun Alliance clinical trials policy. The premiums, which are very competitive, are payable by the Department conducting the trial.

5.2 Guidance on how to arrange insurance is provided in a document entitled 'Guidelines on Insurance for Clinical Medical Activity' available from Ms S. Baines at the Clinical School ((3)36725) or Mrs Gillings at the Finance Division ((3)39659). The guidelines explain what is covered by the NHS indemnity, the types of teaching experiments covered by the University's public liability policy, and those clinical trials requiring special cover under the clinical trials policy referred to in paragraph 5.1. The guidelines also provide contact details for obtaining NHS approval which is now required for all clinical research studies organized by the University

5.3 As stated in the guidelines, the University does not provide medical liability cover for the treatment of patients, and individual members of staff must take out personal cover with a medical defence society. However, claims arising in respect of the University's own Counselling and Dental Services would be covered by the public liability policy mentioned in paragraph 3 above.

6.0 Engineering

6.1 Royal & Sun Alliance Engineering (formerly National Vulcan) regularly inspect and complete the written schemes of examinations for pressure vessels and associated systems in the University, which are required under the Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations 1989. It has come to light that a number of non-standard items under pressure which are being used for research should also be added to the policy. A survey of all Departments to identify such items and add them to the policy has almost been completed.

6.2 A copy of each written scheme of examination should be in the possession of the user Department or Faculty and will be used as the basis for all subsequent insurance inspections. The University has taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations 1989.

6.3 Departments are reminded of their responsibility to notify Mrs Gillings in the Finance Division ((3)39659) when holdings of pressure vessels change. This applies whether old equipment is being replaced, additional items are being acquired, or items are being transferred to other Departments. It should be noted that the policy provides for statutory periodic inspection of pressure vessels but that arrangements for maintenance and repair remain a Departmental responsibility, except in the case of certain central heating and refrigeration plant which are the responsibility of the Estate Management and Building Service.

6.4 Details of newly acquired hoists, cranes, or other lifting apparatus should be reported to Mrs Gillings, since in some circumstances separate insurance will be needed to underwrite liability risks.

7.0 Contracts for Works

7.1 The JCT Forms of Building Contract apportion the risks involved between the employer and the contractor; for the present the University has to accept liability for those risks for which the contractor is not obliged to provide cover. These risks are covered by the following policies which are in the joint names of the University and the contractor:
(a) a block Contractors' All Risks policy which covers material damage to the works and plant belonging to the University for projects not exceeding (currently) £1.5m;
(b) the main buildings and contents policy which covers damage caused to existing structures while buildings are being worked on;
(c) a block non-negligent liability policy (JCT80 clause 21.2.1) to cover damage which may be caused to any adjacent property, including third party property, for contracts not exceeding (currently) £1.5m;
(d) separate policies taken out on an ad hoc basis for those projects which exceed (currently) £1.5m or are otherwise excluded under the block policies.

The block policies also cover all works where the University acts as its own contractor.

7.2 Professional indemnity cover is provided for all Estate Management and Building Service professional staff under a separate policy.

7.3 Guidelines were circulated (Ref.c28(97)) by the Treasurer on 25 November 1997 outlining the risks involved in respect of building contracts arranged directly by Faculties and Departments. Departments were asked not to undertake any building, mechanical, or electrical work, other than very minor maintenance and work such as painting and decorating, without first contacting EMBS for guidance on how to proceed. (The guidelines address contracts placed with external contractors, and do not affect work undertaken by in-house maintenance staff.)

8.0 Risk Management

8.1 The purpose and scope of insurance is to meet specified risks, notably those outside the control of the University. Insurance is not an alternative to risk management, and staff must take all necessary steps to prevent losses or accidents. Indeed, the decision not to take preventative measures on the ground that, if something goes wrong, it is covered by insurance, would in itself vitiate that insurance, as the general conditions of the policy state:

The insured at their own expense shall

(a) take all reasonable precautions to prevent or diminish loss destruction or damage or any occurrence or cease any activity which will give rise to liability under this Policy and to manage all buildings furnishings ways works machinery plant and equipment in sound condition
(b) exercise care in the selection and supervision of employees
(c) as soon as possible after discovery cause any defect or danger to be made good or remedied and in the meantime shall cause such additional precautions to be taken as the circumstances will require.

8.2 The University relies heavily on the efforts of the Safety Office, EMBS, and Heads of Departments and of other institutions, to manage and control a wide range of risks. The work of Internal Audit is also relevant here, as is that of the Assistant Staff Office and of all those responsible for personnel issues. The University's safety policy was published in the Reporter in February 1998 (Reporter, 1997-98, p. 382).

8.3 In particular, it is of the utmost importance that Departments using radioactive or other dangerous substances comply fully with the regulations and guidelines issued by the University Safety Adviser, Mr J.H. Williams ((3)39512), and the University Radiation Officer, Mr D.R. Plumb ((3)39531). If explosive or combustible substances are used, advice from the University Fire Officer, Mr M.J. Read ((3)37822), should also be sought. Compliance with the guidelines ensures that the University's statutory obligations in respect of dangerous substances are met.

8.4 As stated in paragraph 1.6, damage to contents of refrigerators and freezers as a result of operational error (e.g. leaving the equipment unplugged), mechanical or electrical breakdown, or change in temperature (e.g. from power loss) is not covered under the policy. Therefore, it is imperative that Departments take the necessary measures to prevent losses, such as fitting alarms and an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to the equipment.

8.5 Vigilance is also an important element in the University's defence against theft and unauthorized intruders. The Security Adviser has recommended that Departments should review their working arrangements for students and staff who may work alone at night, particularly when using expensive computing equipment within cluster areas. If late night working is unavoidable, Departments should consider arranging for students to be accompanied by other working colleagues, and should also inform the Security Control Centre.


In response to a request from the student representatives on the University Council for guidelines on insurances affecting students, a comprehensive document specifically for students has been approved and issued; copies are available from the Finance Division ((3)32216).

9.0 Personal Property

9.1 Members of staff, students, and others using the University's premises should note that the University does not insure their personal property. The University cannot accept any liability for loss or damage to personal belongings. Disclaimer notices to this effect can be obtained for display by Departments and other institutions from the Finance Division. Individuals may find that their household contents policy provides some cover for their personal effects while outside the house, or may be extended to do so.

The only exception to the above general rule arises when computers belonging to members of University staff or postgraduate students are being loaned to the University for use on University business. Confirmation that this is the case must be sent to the Insurance Officer by the Departmental Secretary if University cover is to apply. It should be noted that any policy excess is payable by the Department.

9.2 Members of staff occupying University houses or flats under their contract of employment and as a condition of service should note that they are responsible for insuring their furniture and other household effects.

9.3 In exceptional cases, damage to third party property may sometimes fall to be dealt with under the public liability cover mentioned in paragraph 3 above. This could be the case with an overseas visitor, for example, but negligence on the part of the University would have to be proved for a claim to succeed.

10.0 Personal Accident

10.1 The University's insurance provides cover for personal accident and injury to its staff and students in certain specific circumstances. These include personal injury sustained in the course of a violent robbery of University cash, or while travelling in University vehicles on University business. The employers' liability and public liability policies also extend cover to incidents occurring on University premises where the University is shown to have been negligent in some way and therefore becomes legally liable.

10.2 However, employees, students, and academic staff acting on behalf of the University may encounter other dangers, for example, as they move about the town on University business. It is not possible for the University to provide cover to its employees for the general hazards of everyday life, such as road accidents and incidents where no fault can be ascribed. The University has no control over such events and cannot be held responsible for them.

10.3 Nonetheless, in recognition of the concern that some staff have expressed about accident cover, it has been agreed to operate the Royal & Sun Alliance Accident Security Plan, a group scheme available to full-time employees offering insurance at a special group rate for themselves and, if they wish, their families. In the event of a serious accident or death, payments are made to employees or their dependants. The premium for those who choose to join the scheme is deducted directly from salary.

10.4 The decision whether to join this scheme is entirely up to the individual, but all members of staff are encouraged to consider whether such cover would be appropriate in their particular circumstances. Information packs, including application forms, can be obtained from the Insurance Secretary at the Finance Division ((3)32216). Completed applications should in all instances be returned to the Finance Division for processing (notwithstanding any directions to the contrary on Royal & Sun Alliance forms).

10.5 The many staff who have already chosen to take out this cover may wish to review their position if they have since, for example, married or had children.

It is strongly recommended that those travelling overseas on University business should take out travel insurance which includes cover for personal accident (see paragraph 21).

11.0 Sickness

11.1 As stated in paragraph 2 above, employees of the University who are injured or who become ill as a direct result of their employment may be able, where legal liability is proved against the University, to claim compensation. However, no long-term health insurance, whether in the form of income protection or private health cover, is provided. As with personal accident, individuals should consider insuring for these on a personal basis in the light of their own circumstances. Mrs T. Taylor ((3)32228/9) can provide information about a possible health scheme for those interested.

12.0 Health and Safety at Work

12.1 The responsibility of the University to take precautionary measures to avoid accidents, and the duty of individual members in this regard, are governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

12.2 In their latest Notice on safety policy (see Reporter, 1997-98, p. 382), the Council and the General Board outlined the general principles of safety practice; this Notice included (paragraph 5) a statement that each employee of the University and each student working in the University has a responsibility to care for his or her own safety and for the safety of others. The Council emphasized the need for all persons to direct their minds to the importance of safety at work.

12.3 Attention is also drawn to a memorandum dated 6 March 1996 from the Security Adviser which was circulated by the Secretary General and the Registrary, providing advice for students and members of staff who may work alone at night.

12.4 As stated in paragraph 8 above (Risk Management), the provision of insurance cover in no way lessens these duties and responsibilities. Indeed the many exclusions, excesses, and provisos restricting cover should alert all concerned to the continued importance of individual responsibility and the duty of care.

13.0 Personal Liability

13.1 Employees, students, and other persons acting on behalf of the University are covered by its public liability policy, provided that they are acting in good faith and within the limits of their responsibilities and having regard to the requirements of Health and Safety legislation. Cover extends to errors, omissions, and accidents causing injury or material damage to third parties and the costs of legal defence. Costs and damages awarded against individuals for faulty advice, design, or report are covered under the professional indemnity insurance.

13.2 Those performing work in a private capacity or acting as consultants are reminded that they do so at their own risk and must make a clear distinction between private work and their University duties. University letterheads or other facilities should not be used since this might suggest that the University is really the contractor. Private work is not covered by the University's insurances, even when the University has knowledge that such work is being done, and individuals are urged in the strongest terms to take out personal insurance.

13.3 Alternatively, professional indemnity cover may be obtained by channelling private work through the University company CUTS Ltd (formerly Lynxvale), as explained in paragraph 4.3 above. Anyone seeking such protection should in the first instance contact Dr Jennings at the Wolfson Industrial Liaison Office ((3)34755/6).

13.4 It is of the utmost importance that a member of staff who becomes aware of any circumstances which might give rise to a claim, or of any claim being made, apparently arising out of his or her act or omission in the course of University duties, should inform the Finance Division (contact Mrs Gillings (3)39659) without delay, giving full details. In no circumstances should a member of staff admit liability to any third party, or discuss the subject of any claim with the claimant. This is a condition of the insurance cover.

14.0 Use of Private Motor Vehicles

14.1 Circumstances frequently arise where staff or students are required to travel in the course of their work or study. It has been usual in the past for Departments to pay the appropriate public transport fares. However, the use of private vehicles for which a mileage rate is paid is becoming more common. Staff and students should note that their responsibility to insure their own vehicles is undiminished by use on University business; the mileage rate includes an amount in respect of insurance, as part of the running costs of a vehicle.

14.2 Departments and other institutions need to satisfy themselves before paying a mileage rate for the use of a private vehicle that the owner has proper insurance, and individuals should be asked to produce a valid insurance certificate. Evidence will be necessary that the terms of the policy allow use on business and do not exclude cover for passengers.


15.0 Motor Insurance

15.1 Comprehensive cover is provided for all types of vehicle owned by the University for official use, such as cars, vans, trailers, minibuses, motor cycles, caravans, fork lift trucks, snow ploughs, garden vehicles such as ride-on mowers, and agricultural vehicles. Insurance certificates covering all categories of vehicles are circulated from the Finance Division for licensing purposes.

In respect of hired vehicles, Departments should take up the insurance offered by the vehicle hire company. Competitive rates for vehicle hire are available from the Purchasing Co-ordinator, Mr M.A. Nacey ((3)32234). This ensures that there is no liability for hire costs while a vehicle is undergoing repair.

University vehicles are intended for official use only and must not be used for private motoring under any circumstances; private motoring includes travel between home and the usual place of work.

15.2 Benefits under the policy include:

(a) Replacement vehicle as new. In the event of loss or damage to a car or goods-carrying vehicle (maximum 7.5 tonnes gross weight), less than one year old, which is considered to be a write-off by Royal & Sun Alliance, the vehicle will be replaced as new.
(b) Temporary replacement vehicle (UK only). In the event of damage to a University vehicle (limited to cars only) which has been taken to a Royal & Sun Alliance 'Keep Driving' authorized repairer, the repairer will provide a temporary replacement car for the duration of the repairs. The authorized repairer for the Cambridge area is P & R Coachworks (01223-242956). For accidents occurring outside the Cambridge area, drivers should telephone the Royal & Sun Alliance helpline (0181-763-3020) to obtain details of the nearest repairer offering this facility.
(c) Emergency overnight accommodation (UK and Europe). In the event of loss or damage (outside the Cambridge area) to a University vehicle resulting in the driver and occupants being unable to reach their destination the same day, cover is now provided for emergency overnight accommodation. Expenses are limited to two nights, not exceeding £50 for the driver or £250 for all occupants of the vehicle. Individuals would need to pay the accommodation bills and include original receipts with the accident claim form.

15.3 The acquisition or disposal of any vehicle must be reported to the Finance Division immediately. In addition, the annual Finance Division circular to verify and update vehicle information should be returned promptly; these returns are a condition of the policy.

15.4 Departments and other institutions must ensure that individuals are suitably qualified to drive and must obtain a copy of the driving licence of anyone intending to drive a vehicle owned or hired by the University. A provisional licence is not acceptable. Information has been circulated (reference C11(97)) relating to licence changes in respect of drivers of minibuses and motorcycles and the towing of trailers. Further copies of this document can be obtained from the Insurance Secretary ((3)32216).

15.5 Mandatory restrictions apply to the drivers of minibuses, and Departments must ensure that they comply with the following requirements. Minibus drivers must:

(a) be over 21 years of age;
(b) hold a full British driving licence which has been in force for at least two years;
(c) have no driving convictions, other than one speeding offence (time-expired convictions are disregarded);
(d) have had no involvement in motor accidents in the last three years.

The restriction in (a) is a legal requirement; those in (b), (c), and (d) are directives from the University's insurers. These restrictions do not apply to vehicles other than minibuses.

As detailed in the circular (reference C11(97)) referred to in paragraph 15.4, drivers who pass their car test to obtain Category B entitlement on or after 1 January 1997 will only be able to drive vehicles with not more than 8 passenger seats. To drive vehicles with between 9 and 16 passenger seats (Category D1), drivers will need to meet higher medical standards and take an appropriate test to obtain their entitlement. As the University's insurers require drivers of minibuses to have held a British driving licence for 2 years (see (b) above), the impact of this new legislation will not come into effect until 1 January 1999.

Existing drivers who are over 21 and held full entitlement to drive a car before 1 January 1997 will continue to be able to drive a minibus with 16 passenger seats. However, if their car licences have to be renewed after 1 January 1998, the rules above will apply, i.e. they will only be able to drive vehicles with not more than 8 passenger seats and if they wish to drive vehicles with between 9 and 16 passenger seats (Category D1) they will need to meet higher medical standards and take an appropriate test to obtain their entitlement.

15.6 In response to concern about the safety of minibus passengers and requests from insurers, the Finance Committee have authorized expenditure from central funds to cover the cost of the installation of seat-belts in University minibuses. For minibuses which were too old to convert, a contribution was made towards replacing them with vehicles fitted with seatbelts. The programme of conversion/replacement (where practicable) was completed and it is now the policy of the Finance Committee that seat-belts should be worn where fitted. Departments are requested to take steps to ensure that seat-belts are worn in the interests of personal safety and risk reduction.

15.7 It should be noted that theft from unattended vehicles is not covered under any of the University's insurances, because the insurers will not accept this risk. Every effort should be made to avoid leaving costly equipment in an unattended vehicle. (If transit insurance is required for goods being transported in a vehicle, see paragraph 17.)

15.8 Policy excesses (payable by the Department concerned) in respect of accidental damage are currently applied only where drivers are under 21 years of age (£200), between 21 and 24 (£100), or are over 25 but have held a licence for less than twelve months (£100).

15.9 Members of staff may use their own vehicles on University business (claiming the appropriate mileage allowance) provided that their own insurance policies allow this, and provided that any passengers carried at the time are not excluded from cover by these policies. Departments should have sight of the insurance certificate and should satisfy themselves on these points.

15.10 The University operates its own contingent liability policy to cover any possible residual University liability when an accident occurs to a private vehicle being used on official business, but this does not indemnify members of the University staff against loss when using their own vehicles; staff are responsible for insuring their vehicles and will have no claim on the University if they fail to do so.

15.11 If a University vehicle is to be taken abroad, the Department must contact Royal & Sun Alliance direct (01473-381070) to ensure that cover for the vehicle is extended for foreign use, and to obtain the necessary documentation such as a European Accident Statement and Green Card. Royal & Sun Alliance will also provide the driver with an explanatory leaflet entitled 'Motoring Abroad'.

16.0 Accidents

16.1 All drivers should be aware of the procedure to be followed in the event of an accident:
(a) At the scene of the accident a member of staff involved as driver or passenger should volunteer no admission of blame, whatever the circumstances, so that the position of the University's insurance company will not be prejudiced.
(b) The name of the University's insurers, Royal & Sun Alliance, must be given to the driver or drivers of other vehicles involved and, if the police are called to the scene of the accident, any information sought by them must be provided to the best of the individual's knowledge.
(c) The relevant insurance certificate is that issued by Royal & Sun Alliance covering all University vehicles in whatever category. Should the police demand to see the insurance certificate they should be referred to the Finance Division who will furnish this information.
(d) The occurrence should be reported as soon as possible to the Head of the Department or other University institution concerned, and to the Finance Division.
(e) An explanatory sketch should be made of the scene, indicating the names and layout of the road(s), position of vehicles and persons involved, the direction in which the vehicle was travelling, the registration marks of all vehicles where known, and any road markings, road signs, traffic lights, street lights, and pedestrian crossings.
(f) If the accident occurs in a foreign country, the European Accident Statement should be completed. The document supplied by Royal & Sun Alliance entitled 'Motoring Abroad' (referred to in paragraph 15.11) provides a list of claims-settling agents in various countries. Should an accident occur in a country where Royal & Sun Alliance do not have a claims-settling agent, immediate notification should be given to the Local Insurer's Bureau (names and addresses are given on the Green Card which will have been issued).

16.2 University personnel involved in a motor accident while in a University vehicle may be judged to have broken the law and may therefore be charged with an offence (e.g. dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention), but such an incident will not invalidate the cover of the University's motor vehicle insurance, provided that the vehicle was on official business. The University will not reimburse any fines, costs, or penalties which may be imposed on employees or students for breaches of the law while driving on University business, whether in a University vehicle or in their own vehicle.

16.3 The procedure for arranging repairs following an accident is as follows:

(a) Accidents occurring within a 30-mile (approx.) radius of Cambridge.
All vehicles in this category must be taken to or collected by P & R Coachworks, Gog Magog Garage, Babraham Road, Cambridge (01223-242956). When the vehicle can be driven safely it should be delivered to P & R Coachworks, but if the damage to the vehicle is such that it cannot be driven safely the matter must be reported immediately to P & R Coachworks who will collect the vehicle. The company will then deal directly with the insurers about the cost of repairs. Any young driver's excess (see paragraph 15.8) must be paid to P & R Coachworks when the vehicle is collected.
(b) Accidents occurring outside a 30-mile (approx.) radius of Cambridge.
In these circumstances, the person in charge of the vehicle should attempt to contact the nearest Royal & Sun Alliance Claims Office for the name and address of an approved repairer or should contact the Royal & Sun Alliance national helpline (0181-763-3020). If this proves to be impossible, the vehicle must be repaired by the nearest garage able to undertake the work. In such a case the garage concerned must be told that before repairs can be undertaken an estimate of the cost of repairs must be produced; that estimate must be dealt with by the Finance Division, who will obtain clearance from Royal & Sun Alliance for the work to be put in hand.

16.4 Royal & Sun Alliance have a special arrangement for the repair of windscreens, by day or night, by reference to Autoglass Windshields, Unit 2, Elizabeth Way, Cambridge (01223-461890). A copy of the vehicle insurance certificate must be produced at the time of repair. Autoglass will invoice Royal & Sun Alliance direct for the cost of repairs. Royal & Sun Alliance will meet the costs submitted by Autoglass directly to them.

16.5 In the context of the use of University vehicles, attention is drawn again to the statements in paragraph 12 above about Health and Safety requirements and in paragraph 13 above about the liability of individuals. The responsibility of the University and of individuals to take sensible precautionary measures to avoid accidents is equally relevant here.


Sections I and III have explained the permanent policies and insurance arrangements managed by the Finance Division. Frequently Departments and other institutions have temporary insurance needs for which ad hoc cover is required. This section addresses these needs and identifies cases where Departments may need to deal directly with the insurers.

17.0 Transit Insurance (UK and Europe)

17.1 The University's buildings and contents policy now provides cover for University equipment and other property (up to the value of £50,000) when in transit in the UK and Europe and for static risk at destinations other than University premises (e.g. field courses and conferences), subject to advance notification to the Finance Division. The only charge to Departments is in the event of a claim, when the policy excess of £250 is payable.

17.2 If the total value of equipment exceeds £50,000, separate transit insurance must be arranged. A minimum of seven days' notice is required by the Finance Division; specially fragile items should be identified as such. The premium is charged to Departments, together with the £250 policy excess in the event of a claim.

17.3 In all cases where goods are to be taken to non-University premises, the Department should complete a Transit Information Sheet and send it to the Insurance Secretary in the Finance Division. In respect of movements within the New Addenbrooke's Hospital Site, University equipment is covered without the need to inform the Finance Division.

18.0 Transit Insurance (outside UK and Europe)

18.1 In the case of equipment taken outside UK and Europe where the total value is less than £5,000, the University's insurance fund will provide cover at no charge to Departments, provided that a Transit Information Sheet is completed. In the event of loss or damage, the Department is responsible for 25 per cent of the reinstatement/repair cost (or £250, whichever is the higher).

18.2 For items of equipment taken outside UK and Europe where the total value exceeds £5,000, separate transit insurance must be arranged. A Marine Transit Information Sheet should be completed and returned to the Finance Division. On receipt, cover will be arranged for equipment owned by the University (or for which it is responsible) while in transit from the University to the destination specified, while at the destination, and on the return journey. Especially fragile items should be identified as such. The personal belongings of individuals will not be included.

18.3 It is vital that the Finance Division is given plenty of notice (at least seven days) prior to departure. This is particularly important where the total value exceeds £50,000 and/or where clearance from insurers may be needed in respect of countries where special terms may apply. Failure to provide such notice may leave the Department uninsured and liable for the total risk of loss.

Premiums and (in the event of a claim) the policy excess of £250 are payable by Departments.

18.4 If transporting goods by vehicle, Departments must inform Royal & Sun Alliance direct (01473-381070) in order that the vehicle policy may be extended to cover the trip, and to obtain the necessary documents (see also paragraphs 15.11 and 16.1(f)).

19.0 General Terms of Transit Insurance

(a) When equipment is not in use, cover for theft will apply only if the theft involves entry to or exit from a building by violent and forcible means.
(b) No cover is provided for theft from any vehicle which is not individually attended. To be attended, a vehicle must be within the sight of the insured or their representative, who must be in a position to prevent any unauthorized interference with the vehicle.
(c) In the event of a loss which may give rise to a claim, the Finance Division should be notified at the earliest opportunity. Any loss involving theft should be reported immediately to the local police authorities and should then be referred to the University. Claims of damage to equipment must be substantiated by providing full details of the circumstances of the loss, and invoices for repair or replacement must be supplied.

20.0 Indefinite Transit Insurance

Some Departments have equipment at non-University locations for extended periods of time. Where items are being loaned to another organization every effort should be made to ensure that the host organization includes the items under its own contents policy. If that is not possible, long-term 'temporary removal' cover may be arranged. Further details can be obtained from the Insurance Secretary ((3)32216) at the Finance Division.

21.0 Travel Insurance

A great deal of travel is undertaken by members of the University. The University's insurers, Royal & Sun Alliance, are happy to offer travel cover for these circumstances at a 12.5 per cent discount to Departments. Brochures giving levels of cover and premium rates are available direct from Royal & Sun Alliance (01473-381029). Endsleigh Insurance also appear to be competitive for this type of insurance, and they can be contacted on 01223-369564. It is important to inform the insurer as to the nature of the activity, e.g. an archaeological dig.

22.0 Special Objects or Activities

22.1 As explained in Section I, works of art and valuable collections of museum exhibits are excluded from cover. From time to time special cover may be required; such cases will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis. Mrs Gillings ((3)39659) can advise whether it is a matter for direct agreement with the insurers.

22.2 Certain unusual activities (such as bungee-jumping in Rag Week) may require special insurance cover. Each case will again be dealt with on an individual basis. Mrs Gillings ((3)39659) can advise whether the activity should be referred to the insurers.


Type of Cover Sum Insured
or Limit of Indemnity
Building and Contents (operational buildings) 1,060m
Terrorism (operational buildings) 60m
Employers' Liability 25m
Public Liability 15m
Professional Indemnity 10m
Professional Indemnity (EMBS) 3m
Clinical Trials Insurance 5m
JCT Contracts Insurance (21.2.1) 1.5m
Contractors' All Risks 1.5m
Engineering varies
Motor Vehicle Insurance varies

N.B. The basis of cover varies between policies; further details are available from the Insurance Office in the event of need.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 1 July 1998
Copyright © 1998 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.