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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Risk Management?

The practice of Risk Management is identifying and analyzing loss exposures other than business risks and taking steps to minimize the financial impact of those risks.

What kind of insurance does the College have?

The Commonwealth of Virginia provides world wide insurance protection for all State agencies and their personnel through the Commonwealth of Virginia's Risk Management Plan. In general, this coverage includes liability (general, professional and automobile), property, medical malpractice, fidelity bond (faithful performance and crime) and watercraft.

Who is covered under the Commonwealth of Virginia's Risk Management Plan?

Faculty, staff and other agents who are acting within the course and scope of their employment are covered under the Plan.

Are students covered under the Risk Management Plan?

Students are covered only while participating in an authorized scope of a clinical, internship, externship or other educational program in order to meet pedagogical requirements.

May a non-state/university employee drive a state vehicle? Are they protected against liability claims if they do?

A non-state/university employee may drive a state owned vehicle if authorized by the appropriate person in the State agency. Anyone driving a university owned vehicle with authorization on state business is considered an agent and is covered through the Commonwealth of Virginia's Risk Management Plan.

Will I be covered if I have a vehicle accident in my own personal vehicle while on College business?

No. The owner of a vehicle is financially responsible for losses due to the operation of that vehicle.  See Section V of the Vehicle Use Policy.

Is there any way to get information on what to do if involved in an auto accident while on university business?

The Risk Manager has packets of information available that detail what to do if you are involved in an auto accident while on College business. This packet also contains telephone numbers for various State Police divisions, a card for requesting help from a Passing Motorist, Information Exchange cards and an automobile accident report form. These packets should already be in all state vehicles. For those offices wishing to keep a supply of packets on hand for rental vehicles, the PDF files are available for download below.

What do I do if I discover potential damage or loss to College owned or leased property?

Report the incident to the W&M Police Department (757-221-4596) and the Risk Management Office (757-221-2742).

What is the insurance coverage for missing, stolen or damaged property owned or leased by the College?

The College insures all the property it owns, on and off campus. Under certain circumstances it also insures property which departments rent, lease or borrow. Property coverage is worldwide and is based on the actual replacement or repair cost. There is a $10,000 deductible per claim.

Is it necessary to purchase the exact same item (model) as was damaged/stolen?

If it is at all possible to replace the stolen/damaged item with the same brand and model that was lost, you should do so. The State reimburses the College for replacement with the same model or nearest equivalent. In some cases it isn't possible to replace the item with the exact model due to discontinuation of some items. In those cases, you would need to find the nearest equivalent to the lost or damaged item(s). If you do this you must provide the specifications for the original item and the specifications for the replacement of the like item. If you do choose to upgrade the item, instead of purchasing the same item or nearest equivalent, the Division of Risk Management will reimburse the College for the cost of the item minus any cost for upgrading the item.

Is personal property covered under the College's risk management plan?

No, the College's insurance does not reimburse for personal property of others (this includes faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors' personal property). Coverage for personal property can usually be found under an individual's homeowner's policy. Students living on campus should purchase their own renter's insurance if not covered under their parents' homeowners' policy.

If visitors are using our facilities are they covered by the College's insurance?

No, all vendors, contractors and other groups using William and Mary property must show proof of their own insurance.

What if I want to hold a campus function at an off-campus facility?

It is strongly recommended that a written contract or memorandum of understanding be prepared that states the responsibilities of both parties. In general, the landlord should be responsible for the safe condition of the facility. The College of William and Mary should be responsible for only the event and the negligent acts or omissions of its employees and agents. Items like security, parking and maintenance should be addressed in the contract. If the landlord insists that the College of WIlliam and Mary indemnify, hold harmless, or make the property owner an additional insured, the matter must be referred to the Risk Management Office and College Counsel. In addition, if requested, Risk Management will send the other party a Certificate of Insurance that will demonstrate the College of William and Mary's insurance coverage.

A company/institution is requesting a Certificate of Insurance of Coverage from our department. Where would I get this?

When requested and deemed appropriate, the College's Risk Manager will issue a Certificate of Insurance Coverage that reflects insurance limits provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Request for Certificate of Insurance form needs to be submitted at least two weeks before the event (submit the form online or print, complete and fax it to 757-221-2505).

I'm running an event that may involve some risk to students, guests, or other participants.  Should I have them sign a waiver or release of some kind?

Documents such as waivers of claims, releases from liability, or assumptions of risk can be helpful in certain situations.  Asking a participant to read and sign a release that highlights risks will cause them to think more carefully about the inherent dangers that accompany whatever activity they may participate in.  And the releases themselves often serve as important vehicles to inform participants about possible risks.

The College does not require that waivers or releases be obtained and recommends that they be used only when there are risks that would not be obvious to the participants.  They should never be used for events that are mandatory, such as labwork that is part of a course; in such instances, participants can be given an information sheet warning them of risks but cannot be required to sign a waiver.  Types of events in which such documents have been used include:

  • Trips to remote or foreign locations -- to help inform participants of transportation and other risks of which they may not be mindful
  • Voluntary field trips or excursions involving boating or other activities in the water

Logistically, it is easier to use such a form when the participants are already being asked to provide some type of paperwork, such as emergency contact information (for example), which could then be included in the waiver/release.

A standard template for a waiver and release of claims is available here; it is designed to be customized for the specific event.