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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. The last comprehensive statement was published in October 2002 (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 46). This has now been revised and updated to take account of changes in the insurance position since October 2002. 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 and Heads of other University institutions and will be available on the University's website.

Section I. Insurance policies

The University's insurance requirements have been advertised in the Official Journal of the European Community (OJEC). A five-year contract was entered into with Royal & Sun Alliance from 1 August 2000. Following the terrorist attacks in the United States of America on 11 September 2001, which resulted in an extremely hardened insurance market, the terms of the contract have been reviewed with effect from 1 August 2002 and 1 August 2003 respectively.

The University's insurances are consolidated and maintained by the Insurance Section (tel. (3)39659 or (3)32216), at the Old Schools. In addition to the permanent policies, the Insurance Section can provide assistance to Departments 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. In each case reference to Departments in this Notice should be read as applying to all Faculties, Departments, and other institutions in the University. (A summary of the policies is provided at the end of this Notice.)

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. 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 Other specific areas of cover are:

(a) Temporary removal clause: this provides cover for University equipment and property (maximum value £500,000) taken off University premises anywhere in Europe for specified periods at no additional charge, provided that the Insurance Section is informed in advance.
(b) Transit of goods: transits up to £50,000 in value are covered anywhere in the world at no additional charge, subject to advance notification to the Insurance Section. Especially fragile items (such as laboratory glass) should be specifically identified (see paragraph 17 below).
(c) Deterioration of stock: contents of freezers are covered with a limit of indemnity of £100,000 per annum, a limit of any one freezer of £25,000 and any one item £5,000. Cover is dependent on the freezer being not more than twenty years old.
(d) Exhibition extension: items on exhibition, including antique books, manuscripts, and irreplaceable items are covered anywhere in Europe, subject to a limit of £200,000 for any one exhibition for a period of four weeks and, for on-going exhibitions, subject to a limit of £50,000 at no additional charge, subject to advance notification to the Insurance Section.
(e) Crime Cover: this provides comprehensive cover against the following major areas of potential loss:

(i) Fraud, dishonesty, or malicious acts committed by employees against either the University or, in certain circumstances, a client of the University;
(ii) Forgery;
(iii) Securities fraud;
(iv) Computer fraud or funds transfer fraud;
(v) Robbery, burglary, or mysterious disappearance of money or securities whilst on the premises or in transit;
(vi) Corporate card fraud.

(f) 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 four separate headings:

(i) Additional cost of working: e.g. 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;
(iv) Rent: e.g. temporary accommodation costs.

N.B. Guidelines to assist Departments with the processing of claims are available from the Insurance Section or at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/insurance/guidance/.

1.3 There remain a number of important exclusions from cover, for example theft from the open, from outbuildings, or from vehicles left unattended overnight. Other standard exclusions are wear and tear, damage caused by faulty or defective workmanship, operational error, corrosion, mechanical or electrical breakdown, and losses identified as a result of inventory checks. Apart from short-term exhibitions (see Section1.2(d)), works of art and 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 Insurance Section.

1.4 The policy excesses on claims are as follows:

Theft or attempted theft with forcible/violent entry/exit £750

Theft not involving forcible/violent entry/exit £2,500

Accidental damage £1,000

Subsidence £1,000

Other covers £250

At the Finance Committee meeting on 24 April 2002, it was agreed that Departments should meet 50% of the policy excess for theft or £1,000, whichever is the higher, with the balance being funded centrally. The Committee also agreed that Departments should meet the policy excess for accidental damage of £1,000 in full. The remaining policy excesses, apart from subsidence, are payable in full by Departments as before.

1.5 The University is now required to identify the value of each building and its contents. For properties with a combined building and contents value exceeding £7.5m the combined value will be the maximum loss limit for that particular building and its contents. The Estate Management and Building Service (EMBS) should be made aware of any purchase or sale of a building.

1.6 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 Insurance Section immediately to report any incident which may result in a total claim of that size. If such an incident occurs out of office hours, the Loss Adjusters (Crawford-THG) should be contacted on 0870 4000 400. The number is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 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 Insurance Section within fourteen days. Claim forms may be obtained from the Insurance Section at the Old Schools. Guidelines to assist Departments in handling a major incident have been circulated and are available at: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/finance/insure.html.

1.7 Incidents of theft and other breaches of security should also be reported to the University Security Adviser ((3)32839), at the same time as the Insurance Section 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.

1.8 All University buildings are covered for terrorism under the University Mutual Terrorism Association (UMALT) scheme. 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 Employers' liability insurance indemnifies the University against claims brought against the University for damages and costs in respect of Injury of any Person Employed arising out of or in the course of employment by the University. Injury is defined as injury, disease, sickness, or fatality arising out of or in the course of employment by the University. The insurance provides cover where the University is held legally liable, in instances where omission or negligence of some kind must be proved.

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

persons hired to or borrowed by the University;

persons undertaking work experience at the University, including unpaid postgraduate students working under direct supervision of Department staff;

self-employed persons doing work for the University;

providing that all these persons are under direct supervision of the University and are carrying out the business of the University.

2.3 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.

2.4 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 Insurance Section at the Old Schools should be advised immediately. Correspondence or statements from potential claimants should be forwarded to the Insurance Section 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 Insurance Section should be consulted before any documents, including the Report Form, are released to claimants.

Details of the way in which personal injury claims should be handled from 26 April 1999 under Lord Woolf's Reforms have been circulated and are available at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/insurance/guidance/woolf.html.

The reforms impose a strict timetable with penalties for non-compliance.

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 2.2 above) or damage or loss to third party property;
(b) to cover the defence of authorized 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 declared products supplied and contract works executed (e.g. provision of services) by the University. The policy excludes activities not advised to the Insurers.

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

3.3 There are important exclusions from cover, namely:

(a) the use by the University of aircraft or other aerial device (but not excluding research, e.g. testing of aircraft engines);
(b) waterborne craft exceeding 24 feet in length and not on inland waterways;
(c) injury or damage caused by or arising from:

(i) ionizing radiations or contamination by radioactivity from any nuclear fuel or from any nuclear waste from the combustion of nuclear fuel;
(ii) the radioactive toxic explosive or other hazardous properties of any explosive nuclear assembly or nuclear component thereof;

(d) the consequences of war;
(e) contractural liability (see paragraph 3.4 below);
(f) mental injury or fear of suffering bodily injury, death, disease, or illness arising out of actual or suspected exposure to asbestos, asbestos dust, or asbestos containing materials;
(g) liability arising out of use, retention, storage, or disposal of any human corpse or of any human tissue or organs or other human biological or genetic material;
(h) liability for damage to data (meaning information represented or stored electronically including but not limited to code or series of instructions operating systems software programs and firmware).

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 Insurance Section 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 Insurance Section. 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 University institutions arranging for students or others to be seconded or to obtain work experience with 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 19).

Although the University may not always be held legally liable for events occurring while students or staff are away on secondment, Departments should take all reasonable precautions to satisfy their duty of care towards its staff and students. In particular, care should be taken to ensure that suitable students and staff are put forward for placements, and, it should be established that the prospective employer has the appropriate Employers' Liability insurance and also Public Liability insurance to cover the secondee whilst they are working at that company. To assist the Department in this respect a document, which can be sent to the employing organization, is available from the Safety Office.

Where students are undertaking unsupervised field trips, or where there are University supervised field trips or projects away from the University site, the University has a much greater duty of care and the usual risk assessments must be carried out with a view to ensuring the safety of students and staff involved. Guidelines for unsupervised field trips have been circulated and are available at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/insurance/guidance/fieldwork.html.

The University's Public Liability policy will extend to provide cover where the University's business is being carried out away from its usual premises.

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, or infringement of copyright or patent occurring or committed in good faith by its employees, 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 and any claim brought in a court in the United States of America or Canada. The aviation exclusion has been clarified by 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 Section at the Old Schools 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 Insurance Section (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 the Technology Transfer Office, Research Services Division, on (3)62873.

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, the Insurance Section should be notified. At no time should any liability be admitted, and all third party contact and correspondence should be sent to the Insurance Section without comment to the third party.

5.0 Clinical Trials

5.1 The University has arranged with Royal & Sun Alliance an insurance policy offering legal liability (Negligent) and no-fault compensation (Non-negligent) cover for Injury to Research Subjects arising out of Clinical Trials (cover for which is excluded under the main Public Liability insurance).

Negligent cover refers to standard liability at law where a person must take all reasonable precautions to prevent injury to another person or damage to their property.

Non-negligent cover refers to situations where all reasonable precautions have been taken but that the balance of probability is that the action taken (or failure to take action) is the cause of Injury. Reference must be made to the Insurance Section for all the provisos, however, cover operates where there is no fault apportioned but the balance of probability is that the Injury would not have occurred had the Research Subject not participated in the Clinical Trial.

Under the policy, Clinical Trials are defined as:

'An Investigation or series of investigations conducted on any person for a Medicinal Purpose'.

Medicinal Purpose is defined as:

(a) treating or preventing disease;
(b) diagnosing disease or ascertaining the existence, degree of or extent of a physiological or psychological condition;
(c) assisting with or altering in any way the process of conception or investigating or participating in methods of contraception;
(d) inducing anaesthesia;
(e) otherwise preventing or interferring with the normal operation of a physiological or psychological function.

See paragraph 5.2 for details of arranging cover and where to find more details of the policy wording.

The premiums 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 the administrator at the Clinical School or the Insurance Section. 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 liability cover for medical practitioners 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 First Aid, Occupational Health, Counselling, and Dental Services would be covered by the public liability policy mentioned in paragraph 3 above for persons other than medical practitioners.

6.0 Engineering

6.1 Royal & Sun Alliance Engineering, regularly inspect and complete the Written Schemes of Examinations for pressure vessels and associated systems in the University which is required under the Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations 1989.

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 the Insurance Section 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 the Insurance Section, since in some circumstances separate insurance will be needed to underwrite liability risks.

7.0 Contracts for Works

7.1 The JCT and other forms of building contract apportion the risks involved between the Employer and the Contractor. In those circumstances where the University is obliged to carry contract works insurances this has been arranged with our Insurers automatically for those projects where the contract price does not exceed £1m - a declaration is made to the Insurers at the end of each year. Automatic 'joint names' cover is provided for the benefit of the Contractor, where this is contractually required, under both the University's Buildings and Contents policy and the Contract Works policy.

Where the contract value is over £1m, or otherwise excluded from the automatic cover, reference should be made to the Insurers via the Insurance Office to arrange a separate project insurance on an individual basis.

7.2 Professional indemnity cover is provided for all Estate Management and Building Service (EMBS) 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 Departments. Departments were asked not to undertake any building, mechanical, or electrical work, other than very minor maintenance and, for example, 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 grounds that, if something goes wrong, it is covered by insurance, in itself would vitiate that insurance, as the General Conditions of the policy state:

'The insured at its 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 its Health and Safety Office, Security Section, EMBS, and Heads of Departments and of other institutions, to manage and control a wide range of risks. The work of external auditors is also relevant here, as is that of the Personnel Division and all those responsible for personnel issues. The University's safety policy was published in the Reporter on 11 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 Health and Safety Office. If explosive or combustible substances are used, advice from the University Fire Officer ((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 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 ((3)31818).


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 is available at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/insurance/guidance/student.html.

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. Departments and other institutions can obtain disclaimer notices to this effect from the Insurance Section for display. 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. The Department must send confirmation that this is the case to the Insurance Section for University cover 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 property, 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 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 Section at the Old Schools. Completed applications should in all instances be returned to the Insurance Section 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 19).

11.0 Sickness

11.1 As stated in paragraph 2 above, the University hold Employers' Liability insurance for the protection of employees who suffer injury arising out of their employment with the University. In all other instances, individuals should consider their own personal circumstances and consider taking out personal accident insurance, income protection, or health insurance as required. The University does not offer any of these insurances. However, the Pensions Office ((3)31202) 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 As stated in paragraph 8 (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 expected to take responsibility for their own personal actions. This includes having regard for safety of others and their property, as well as their own personal safety. However, where authorized persons on University business have acted properly within University guidelines (which include Health and Safety issues) the University may, at its discretion, extend protection of its insurance policies to that individual person should a claim be brought against them personally. This can include cover for legal liability for injury or damage to third parties, and also breach of professional duty.

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 and Public Liability cover may be obtained by channelling private work through the University Company CUTS Ltd, as explained in paragraph 4.3 above. Anyone seeking such protection should in the first instance contact the Head of Technology Transfer, Research Services Division ((7)65001).

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 Insurance Section 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 Insurance Section for licensing purposes.

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 In respect of hired vehicles, Departments should take up the insurance offered by the vehicle Hire Company. This ensures that there is no liability for hire costs while a vehicle is undergoing repair. Competitive rates for vehicle hire are available from the Purchasing Office ((3)32233).

15.3 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 Marshall Motor Group, Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, (tel. 01223 411114). For accidents occurring outside the Cambridge area, drivers should telephone the Royal & Sun Alliance 24-hour helpline (020 8763 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 and 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.

15.4 Current legislation requires the University to notify the Motor Insurance Database immediately of any changes to our motor fleet. Therefore, the acquisition or disposal of any vehicle must be reported to the Insurance Section immediately. In addition, the annual circular sent out by the Insurance Section to verify and update vehicle information should be returned promptly; these returns are a condition of the policy.

15.5 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). Licences should then be examined at least on an annual basis.

15.6 Mandatory restrictions apply to the drivers of minibuses, and Departments must ensure that they comply with the following requirements and those of the Health & Safety Division ((7)66356). Minibus drivers must:

(a) be over 21 years of age if driving within the UK;
(b) be over 25 years of age if driving abroad (within the EU);
(c) hold a full driving licence, which has been in force for at least two years;
(d) hold a full driving licence with minibus entitlement (D1 category);
(e) have no driving convictions, other than one speeding offence (time-expired convictions are disregarded);
(f) have had no involvement in motor accidents in the last three years.

The restrictions in (a) to (d) are legal requirements; those in (e) and (f) are directives from the University's insurers.

15.7 Departments are requested to take steps to ensure that seat belts are worn in the interests of personal safety, risk reduction, and to comply with the law.

15.8 It should be noted that theft of property from unattended vehicles, except as described under paragraph 17.6, 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 17.0.)

15.9 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).

15.10 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 the cover by these policies. Departments should have sight of the insurance certificate and should satisfy themselves on these points.

15.11 If a University vehicle is to be taken abroad, the Department must contact Royal & Sun Alliance direct (01473 381034; suzanne.franks@uk.royalsun.com) to ensure that cover for the vehicle is extended for foreign use. The Department must also ensure that the necessary documentation is obtained, such as a European Accident Statement, Green Card (where required), and an explanatory leaflet entitled 'Motoring Abroad'.

16.0 Accidents involving University Vehicles

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) If anyone has been injured in the accident the Police must be called. It is also important to obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses.
(c) 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.
(d) The relevant insurance certificate is that issued by Royal & Sun Alliance covering all University vehicles in whatever category. The original certificates are held in University Departments.
(e) The occurrence should be reported as soon as possible to the Head of the Faculty, Department, or other University institution concerned, and to the Insurance Section at the Old Schools.
(f) 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 sketch should also include the direction in which the vehicle was travelling, the registration marks of all vehicles where known, and any road markings, road signs, traffic lights, streetlights, and pedestrian crossings.
(g) 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). 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 the authorized repairer, Marshall Motor Group, Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, (01223 411114), who will deal directly with the insurers about the cost of repairs. Any young driver's excess (see paragraph 15.9) must be paid to Marshall Motor Group 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 24-hour helpline (020 8763 3020). If this proves to be impossible, the nearest garage able to undertake the work must repair the vehicle. 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 Insurance Section, who will obtain clearance from Royal & Sun Alliance for the work to be put in hand.
(c) Accidents occurring in a Foreign Country
 The documents obtained from Royal & Sun Alliance prior to departure will include a Green Card (where required), a leaflet entitled 'Motoring Abroad', and a European Accident Statement which must be completed. The document entitled 'Motoring Abroad' 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).

16.4 Royal & Sun Alliance have a special service for the repair of windscreens, day or night, telephone the 24-hour nationwide windscreen replacement service for details of the designated repairer (0800 783 4695). It must be stated that the repair is to go to the University's trade account and a copy of the vehicle insurance certificate must be produced at the time of repair. The repairer will invoice Royal & Sun Alliance direct for the cost of repairs. Royal & Sun Alliance will meet the costs submitted by repairer.

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 Insurance Section. 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

17.1 The University's buildings and contents policy provides cover for University equipment and other property up to the value of £50,000 when in transit world-wide and up to £250,000 in the UK. The policy also covers the static risk at destinations other than University premises (e.g. field courses and conferences), subject to advance notification to the Insurance Section. 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 world-wide or £250,000 UK, separate transit insurance must be arranged. A minimum of seven days' notice is required by the Insurance Section; failure to provide such notice may leave the Department uninsured and liable for the total risk of loss. The premium is charged to Departments, together with the £250 policy excess in the event of a claim.

17.3 Except in the case of individual laptops (see paragraph 17.4), when goods are to be taken to non-University premises, the Department should complete a Transit Information Sheet (especially fragile items should be identified as such) and send it to the Insurance Section. In respect of movements within the New Addenbrooke's Hospital Site, University equipment is covered without the need to inform the Insurance Section.

17.4 There is no need to inform the Insurance Section when laptops are taken to non-University premises. However, the Department should keep a record of such movements.

17.5 If transporting goods by vehicle, Departments must inform Royal & Sun Alliance direct (01473 381034) 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(g)).

17.6 No cover is provided for theft from vehicles left unattended overnight, except where there has been forcible entry and the vehicle was either left in a locked garage or building or parked in a compound secured by locked gates.

17.7 In the event of a loss, which may give rise to a claim, the Insurance Section 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. In the event of a claim for damage or loss, full details of the circumstances of the event must be provided, together with copies of original invoices and estimates for the repair or replacement.

18.0 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 Section at the Old Schools

19.0 Travel Insurance

Members of the University undertake a great deal of travel. 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). There are also a number of websites offering travel cover such as http://www.screentrade.co.uk. It is important to inform the insurer as to the nature of the activity, e.g. an archaeological dig.

20.0 Special Objects or Activities

20.1 As explained in Section I, works of art and museum exhibits are excluded from cover. From time to time special cover may be required, which will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis. The Insurance Section can advise whether it is a matter for direct agreement with the insurers.

Please advise the Insurance Section of any unusual or hazardous activities (such as bungee-jumping in Rag Week) as these may require special insurance cover. Each case will again be dealt with on an individual basis. The Insurance Section can advise whether the activity should be referred to the insurers.


Type of CoverLimit of Indemnity £m
Building and Contents (operational buildings)300.0
Terrorism (operational buildings)175.0 (discretionary)
Employers Liability25.0
Public Liability25.0
Professional Indemnity10.0
Professional Indemnity (EMBS)3.0
Clinical Trials Insurance5.0
JCT Contracts Insurance (21.2.1)1.0
Contractors All Risks1.0
Motor Vehicle InsuranceVaries

N.B. The basis of cover varies between policies. Further details are available from the Insurance Section at the Old Schools in the event of need.

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Cambridge University Reporter 10 December
Copyright © 2003 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.