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Managing Risk – Insurance and Contracts

Risk Management

Avoiding Loss

Insurance Claims and Administration


Risk Management

Not all risk needs to be accepted. Through effective management, risk can be controlled and minimized. Effective risk management seeks:

  • to contain the financial impact of losses upon the University within limits which are determined in advance to be acceptable;
  • to minimize the disruption associated with any claim through efficient and effective administrative response.

Risk management is the process of identifying and analyzing possible exposure to loss and reducing loss potential thereby protecting the University’s physical and financial assets.

The Risk Management and Insurance Department strives to be a consultative expert resource to the University community in advising about insurance, claims and paralegal issues related to risk management and loss avoidance.

Specifically, it is available to:

  • provide information about risk management,
  • answer questions about insurance policies and coverage,
  • answer questions about legal liability,
  • handle insurance claims,
  • offer paralegal advice concerning agreements of various types, contractual language or clauses and related legal issues.

In addition, this department handles negotiations with insurers for purchase of all of the University’s commercial policies.

For more information, please contact John Kerr, Director Risk Management and Insurance Department .

Avoiding Loss

Risk management is necessary because losses will occur. However, faculty and staff can play an important role in significantly reducing the potential for loss:


  • Ensure that access to premises is controlled where appropriate,
  • Minimize risk of fire and injury with good housekeeping and safety practices.


  • Maintain the security of capital assets, particularly moveable equipment which is subject to theft:
    • house assets in controlled access areas only,
    • supervise student use,
    • keep capital asset records which identify location and custodian
    • control off-premises use,
    • utilize programs offered by the University Police for marking or otherwise identifying high risk items,
    • take periodic inventory counts.

Supplies Inventories

  • Control supply inventories:
    • restrict access,
    • keep adequate records,
    • minimize obsolescence by avoiding overstocking and using appropriate distribution methods.



Granting Credit

Due Care

  • Exercise due care in carrying out responsibilities.

Insurance and Claims Administration

The University carries a full range of blanket policies covering all of its premises and operations against normal insurable risks. These are centrally funded except for some specialized policies which are purchased on a user pay basis. The principal coverage and related descriptions information can be found by contacting John Kerr, Director Risk Management and Insurance Department.

The Risk Management and Insurance Department administers all claims under the University’s policies and through its self-insurance program and negotiates claims settlement with its various insurers. Guidelines for reporting a claim can be found by contacting John Kerr, Director Risk Management and Insurance Department .


Indemnification/Hold Harmless Clauses
Contract indemnity clauses occur in a variety of forms and are generally part of any written agreement. Many different labels are used to describe these risk allocation clauses, the most common of which are: Indemnification, Hold (or Save) Harmless, Release, Waiver, Liability and Exculpatory .

Contract indemnity clauses are a business tool designed to shift and allocate risk between contracting parties based on economic considerations and without regard to either party’s relative degree of fault.

We have an internal process to obtain indemnification for the University and to avoid unreasonable indemnification of other parties as necessary. This aspect is managed by the Risk Management and Insurance Department.

Types of Contracts and Agreements
Some examples of situations where indemnification requirements are common include:

  • student work experience programs
  • clinical practicum
  • hospital agreements
  • contract research
  • technology transfer
  • licensing intellectual property
  • real estate purchasing
  • athletics
  • construction contracts
  • equipment leases/rentals

The above examples are representative of agreements covering either the purchase or sale of goods and services in various forms.

Depending on the relationship of the parties, the relative benefit flowing to each, authorship of the agreement itself, relative bargaining position of the parties, etc., the relevant business terms of these agreements can vary widely.

Often, there are significant insurance implications such as coverage during shipment of goods from/to a vendor’s premises or handling of insurance when a vehicle is rented in the course of some business activity.

In all questionable cases, contact John Kerr, Director, Risk Management and Insurance for advice at 416-978-6478.

Contract Approval
Refer to the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents for details on:

  • Approval of Contracts and Documents
  • Execution of Contracts and Other Agreements Not in the Normal Course of Business
  • Approval and Execution of Specific Classes of Contracts and Documents in the Normal Course of Business
  • Corporate Seal
  • Records

Last Revision January 2023