University of Washington Policy Directory

Print This Page
*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Employment and Administrative Policies

Administrative Policies

Chapter 202

Risk Management Policy

1.  General Policy

The University recognizes that there is exposure to accidental injury to persons and loss or damage to property inherent in its programs and activities. It is University policy to reduce the risk of such accidental loss or injury to the greatest extent feasible, consistent with the carrying out of the University's mission of teaching, research, and public service.

2.  Program Objectives

A. To accomplish the goal of effective management of risks, the University's Risk Management program is established to identify and analyze loss exposure and safety hazards, develop and select the best techniques or combination of techniques for treating risks, implement effective administration of each risk treatment plan, and monitor the results produced for achievement or change.

B. Risk management includes actions taken both before and after a loss occurs and is directed towards reducing risks and reducing the frequency and severity of losses. When analyzing a loss exposure and its treatment, the impact on the entire campus, as well as on individual departments, is evaluated. The University uses various combinations of the following methods to manage risks to the institution.

  1) Risk Control Methods—

    a) Risk Avoidance—The University may elect to avoid undesirably high risks and programs with excessive risk costs by refusing to undertake unsafe activities or by discontinuing high risk programs.

    b) Loss Prevention and Loss Reduction—Risks inherent in the existence and operation of the University can be reduced, resulting in a decrease in both frequency and severity of accidental losses. Loss control activities which identify and treat such hazards have been established for this purpose. See Executive Order No. 55. It is the responsibility of each unit and its personnel to conduct the business of the University in such a way as to reduce or prevent hazards to individuals and property and to evaluate the risk cost potential when developing new programs.

  2) Risk Financing Methods—

    a) Risk Retention—It is the general policy of the University to retain the financial responsibility for its risks of accidental loss to the maximum extent possible without jeopardizing the financial position of the University or the continuation of essential programs. Risks may be retained through either pre-funded (self-insurance) or post-funded (non-insurance) programs, after evaluation of the nature of the risk exposure. Self-insured programs are funded through contributions to the Self-Insurance Revolving Fund authorized and created by RCW 28B.20.253. This fund is in the custody of the State Treasurer and is administered by the University's Office of Risk Management.

    b) Risk Transfer—The financial responsibility for risks may be transferred to others through contractual agreements or through the purchase of insurance. The entity having responsibility for an approved program may be allowed or required to insure those exposures which are determined to be too large for that unit to retain. Accordingly, insurance is purchased when it is not deemed prudent to retain the risk based on comparison of the cost of insurance with the risk potential. Further, the University may purchase insurance when required by law, bond, or contractual agreement, when real properties are financed with student fees or other non-state appropriated funds, or when non-University property is under the care, custody, or control of the University. Commercially insuring risks does not alter the responsibility of the University, its units, or personnel for compliance with required safety and security standards.

    c) Insurance Broker of Record—The Board of Regents appoints an insurance broker of record to advise and represent the University in the placement of insurance, except for coverages acquired through the State of Washington Risk Management Office.

    d) State Risk Management Office—The University cooperates with the state Risk Management Office in the development of the University's Risk Management program. The effectiveness of both programs is enhanced by the discussion of major program changes prior to implementation and the periodic review of coverages in effect.

3.  Organization

  A. Risk Management Advisory Committee

The Risk Management Advisory Committee is appointed by the President to advise the Vice President for Business and Finance and the Vice President for Health Sciences on the structure, policies, and operation of the University's Risk Management program. The committee is also responsible for preparing an annual report to the President summarizing the committee's activities for the prior academic year.

The membership of the committee consists of faculty, staff, and student representatives. The Director of Risk Management serves ex officio, and the Office of Risk Management provides administrative support to the committee.

  B. Office of Risk Management

The Office of Risk Management administers, coordinates, and evaluates the Risk Management program of the University. The Director of Risk Management reports to the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance and has the responsibility and authority for the following:

    1) Assess risk through identifying, measuring, and evaluating risk exposures based on information provided by other programs;

    2) Determines potential impact of University actions on liability exposures;

    3) Analyzes and selects those risks to be retained and those which should be insured, selects the appropriate risk treatment program, and establishes types and limits of coverage to protect the University's resources;

    4) Recommends the level of funding for Self-Insurance Revolving Fund Reserves, and administers the deposits and expenditures from the fund;

    5) Evaluates and recommends areas where non-insurance is desirable and economically feasible;

    6) Purchases and administers all University liability and property insurance coverages, and functions as principal liaison with the University's insurance broker;

    7) Administers self-insurance program claims and recommends adjustments and settlements of insured or self-insured losses;

    8) Recommends selection of insurance related services, such as brokerage and claims administration services;

    9) Recommends program changes to the Workers' Compensation Program. The Workers' Compensation Program is administered at the University by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety; and,

    10) Maintains close liaison with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and other University departments having responsibility for health, safety, or security issues.

4.  Related Policies

  A. Indemnification of University Personnel

The University policy and procedure are set forth in the Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 5 and in Executive Order No. 19, Section 2.

  B. Adverse Effects to Human Subjects

The University policy and procedure are set forth in the Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 6.

  C. University Safety Programs

The University policy and procedure are set forth in Executive Order No. 55.

AI, January 1984; RC, March 8, 2013.

For related information, see:

  • Administrative Policy Statement 14.1, "University Risk Management and Insurance Programs"