The University's public liability insurance: how does this apply to me?
The following information is a set of guidelines for staff/students consider when dealing with potential Public Liability claims. They are broad guidelines and further discussion may be required on individual cases for clarity.
Insurance programme detail
The University of Reading buys public liability insurance for a sum insured of 50,000,000 pounds sterling. This provides cover for legal liabilities (ie there has to be 'legal fault' on the part of the University) for damage to people's property or injury to their person. Our insurers, Zurich Municipal, will handle all public liability claims where property damage exceeds £250 and/or personal injury is involved.
Public liability claims below £250
Claims relating to property with a value of £250 or less will be dealy with 'in house' by the Insurance Office. For a claim to be successful there has to be 'legally proven liability' on the part of the University.
Our insurers have the right to audit such claims to ensure that both legal liability and the amount claimed have been addressed satisfactorily.
The following guidlines give pointers as to whether the University is at fault and therefore able to pay the claim.
- When a claim is intimated, the person claiming will be asked to explain in writing why they feel the University is at fault. Investigations into legal liability by the University will be documented and a file set up and retained containing details of the claim.
- Because property is damaged/lost whilst physically at the University does not automatically make the University legally liable for the damage.
- Theft of personal property - broadly, the University cannot be held liable for the actions of thieves and anyone attempting to claim should contact their personal property insurers (if they have insurance) and will be advised in writing that the University is not legally liable in these situations.
- Damage (i.e. to glasses, clothing, shoes etc) on University property would only potentially create a legal liability on the University if the premises are in some way defective or unsafe and the University knew or ought to have known/addressed the defect (for example: a defective door handle/step.)
- If payments are made where there is no legal liability, i.e. ex gratia payments, this is the responsibility of faculties or directorates.
- Where it has been decided that there IS a legal liability, the amount claimed will be be scrutinised by the Insurance Office, where possible, checking purchase receipts and making appropriate deductions for wear and tear. The idea of insurance is to put people in the same position after the loss as they were in immediately before the loss i.e. the claimant should not benefit from the claim.