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International Insurance

U.Va. Faculty and staff on University business may refer to this for information about the insurance protection that is in place for them while traveling outside of the United States.


Statement to Program Directors About Liability and Insurance Coverage:

  • Faculty members who are Program Directors for study abroad programs and have complied with ALL of the International Studies Office requirements for such programs are afforded the same legal protection and liability insurance in a foreign country as they would have on the University Grounds.
  • Faculty members are covered by the comprehensive liability policy of the State for acts undertaken in the “scope of their employment,” that is for those acts undertaken as part of their jobs in furtherance of the educational objectives of the University, as opposed to their strictly personal conduct. With international programs it is even possible that the scope of employment would be broader than it would be on Grounds because of the greater responsibility a faculty member might have for students in a foreign setting.
  • Faculty members are entitled to legal representation (provided by the University or secured for the jurisdiction where representation is required) for acts undertaken in the “scope of their employment.”
  • For acts outside the scope of employment, or criminal in nature, insurance coverage and legal representation will not be available.
  • Faculty members concerned about specific factual situations that they believe may create potential liability, or about which they are concerned that insurance coverage may not be provided, are encouraged to consult with the University General Counsel’s Office or the University Office of Risk Management.

For All Faculty and Staff:

While the section above speaks to International Program Directors specifically, the general information applies to all faculty and staff traveling overseas on University business. Additionally the following sections of Policy FIN-006, Insurance Coverage apply:

Foreign Liability Protection

Comprehensive general liability coverage is provided to faculty, staff and students performing activities on behalf of the University in foreign countries. It covers third party general liability claims for bodily injury and/or property damage, professional liability and automobile liability. Questions or reports of incidents should be directed to the Office of Risk Management.

Liability Coverage

Under the State Risk Management Plan, the Division of Risk Management administers a self-insured liability program, providing tort insurance coverage for the State, its agencies, and its employees and agents. A brief description of the coverage is provided below:

The Plan will pay all sums, except as herein limited, or limited by the Code of Virginia, which the Commonwealth of Virginia, its departments, agencies, institutions, boards, commissions, officers, agents, or employees…shall become obligated to pay by reason of liability imposed by law for damages resulting from any claims arising out of any acts or omissions of any nature while acting in an authorized governmental or proprietary capacity and in the scope of employment or authorization. The amount recoverable by any claimant with respect to the Commonwealth of Virginia, its departments, agencies, institutions… shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per claim. This limit shall not be applicable to any claim or causes of action other than those established by Virginia law. For claims or causes of action other than those established by Virginia law the amount recoverable shall not exceed two million dollars ($2,000,000) per claim. The amount recoverable by any claimant with respect to Commonwealth of Virginia officers, agents, or employees…shall not exceed two million dollars (2,000,000) per claim.

All University operations conducted on University property, in owned and leased buildings, or at sites located away from the University are covered for authorized University business. This coverage is usually to provide protection for acts of negligence for which the University and/or its employees and agents may be held legally liable. It should be noted, however, that there may be no coverage if it is determined that liability was incurred by reason of (a) acts of fraud or dishonesty by the Covered Party, or (b) acts of intentional, malicious or willful and wanton misconduct by the Covered Party. Report any incidents, accidents or unusual occurrences to the Office of Risk Management.

Errors and Omissions Liability

The Board of Visitors and University officials, employees and agents are also protected against negligent acts or omissions which result in financial loss or damages to individuals or organizations that do not directly relate to bodily injury or property damage. Such acts or omissions usually result from decisions that are made by University representatives in their authorized capacity to do so which bring about allegations of damages incurred by a third party.

Professional Liability

Health care professionals, residents, house staff and health care professional students are provided medical malpractice coverage for those acts or omissions arising out of the course of their employment or authority. The amount recoverable by any claimant for claims involving an act or acts of medical malpractice shall be limited to $1,750,000 for each medical incident. Be advised that per the Virginia Code (Section 8.01 – 581.15), the medical malpractice cap will increase again on July 1, 2005. On that date the cap will increase by $50,000 – and it will increase by $50,000 each July 1 thereafter until July 1, 2007. On July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008 the annual increase in the cap will be $75,000 each year. The July 1, 2008 increase will be the final annual increase in the medical malpractice cap, unless new legislation is passed in the future. Coverage is not provided for non-University activities, nor is coverage provided to faculty under contract with the University through Health Services Foundation.

Report all medical incidents, claims or potential malpractice claims arising out of Medical Center Operations immediately to Medical Center Risk Management (reference Medical Center Policy 132 for further information for reporting such incidents).

Worker’s Compensation

Faculty and staff are provided the same coverage overseas that they receive while on University Grounds. All incidents of injury while in the course of employment should be reported to your supervisor immediately for proper reporting and coordination of benefits in accordance with Human Resources procedures and Medical Center procedures. It is unlikely that a foreign provider will agree to bill the Worker’s Compensation administrator or agree to treat a foreigner without payment. Academic employees should contact the Human Resources Benefits office and Medical Center employees should contact Employee Relations for further details on Worker’s Compensation coverage while overseas.

Health Insurance

Faculty and staff who are enrolled in one of the University health plans administered by Southern Health may be covered as “out of area” through the plans, but employees need to contact Southern Health to verify this and to determine how to use their plans overseas, before traveling. Likewise, students traveling to foreign countries should also make sure what they need to do if they need medical attention, so their medical insurance will respond on their behalf.

Travel Assistance Program

It is recommended that Faculty and staff sign up for the Travel Assistance Program coordinated by University Human Resources Benefits Office prior to traveling overseas. This coverage is at no cost to employees and will provide assistance in coordinating treatment and communication with health insurance companies.

The University began a new Travel Assistance Program for employees and students effective February 1, 2003. The Travel Assistance Program provides assistance through toll free and collect phone numbers for travel related assistance needs such as medical evacuation and repatriation, worldwide medical and dental referrals, emergency travel arrangements, legal referrals, replacement of lost or stolen travel documents, to name but a few of the many services provided.

The Travel Assistance Program is available to the following two groups of travelers:

  1. All faculty and staff traveling on U.Va. business. While there is no cost to the traveling staff or faculty member for this coverage, enrollment is necessary. Coverage can be obtained by contacting the University's Human Resources Benefits Office.
  2. When a student's school arranges for an overseas trip as part of the student's academic program. There is a fee for this coverage. Any school interested in securing this coverage for a group of students traveling overseas should contact Linda Vannatta, in the Office of Risk Management, at 434-982-2939, at least two months prior to departure. Students who are interested in securing coverage for personal travel should contact Student Health to obtain information about purchasing coverage through a separately administered program. Students who are interested in participating in a "Study Abroad" program for an extended period of time should contact the International Studies Office.

While the Travel Assistance Program provides assistance in securing medical care, it does not provide payment for medical services. It is recommended that all travelers plan for financial emergencies by carrying a credit card and/or information on who should be contacted in the event it is necessary to make financial arrangements to pay for emergency medical treatment. This is necessary even if your health insurer provides coverage in foreign countries because health care providers in some countries expect payment in advance before admitting or treating patients. It is recommended that schools securing the travel assistance coverage for traveling students collect the financial contact information from the students before departure, in order to provide a source for this information should the need arise. Similarly, staff and faculty members are encouraged to share their emergency financial contact information with the Human Resources Benefits Office during the enrollment process.

Vehicle Insurance

When leasing vehicles in a foreign country (excluding Canada), we recommend the purchase of liability and physical damage coverage from the leasing agency. Purchasing insurance in the foreign country where the vehicle is to be used makes the handling of automobile claims much easier. (This vehicle insurance cost will be reimbursable when leasing vehicles in foreign countries.)

(Please note: It is not necessary or advisable to purchase coverage when leasing vehicles in the United States or Canada since this coverage is provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Division of Risk Management and will therefore not be reimbursable.)

Property Insurance

University owned property: The University can provide coverage for University owned property located in most countries, subject to normal exclusions. Certain high-risk countries are excluded from coverage. You will need to send a list of the equipment, each item’s replacement value, the countries the equipment will travel in, the dates of the trip, and written approval from your dean or department head to allow the equipment to go on the trip, to Rick Schupp in the Office of Risk Management early in the planning phase of your trip. You may be contacted by Rick Schupp to discuss shipping and insurance issues from high value or sensitive equipment. Report all loss or damage to University property as soon as possible to the Office of Risk Management at 434-924-3850. Additionally the following section of Policy FIN-006, Insurance Coverage applies:

Property Coverage

The State Division of Risk Management (DRM) has developed a Property Insurance Plan, which is comprised of self-insurance and commercial insurance. The Plan covers all State-owned buildings; contents; related contents and equipment on or off grounds; loss of business-related income; and in certain cases, extra expense incurred to expedite repairs. Since the Property Insurance Plan also includes coverage for equipment breakdown (Boiler and Machinery) losses, this represents a combined program of coverage that will reimburse State agencies for repair or replacement of lost or damaged property from the perils of fire, lightning, windstorm, theft, flooding, sudden and accidental breakdown of machinery, and other causes…..

All State-owned buildings and contents are covered for repair or replacement, but all losses are subject to a departmental $1000 deductible. The department responsible for the property incurs the deductible. When multiple departments are involved in one loss, the deductible is shared by all departments involved, and must be paid from departmental funds. State and University procurement guidelines must be followed after the department files a claim to have property repaired or replaced. When a single loss exceeds the departmental deductible of $1000, the University will pay up to the next $99,000 for that loss. If a loss exceeds $100,000, the State insurance program begins to pay for the loss above the $100,000 threshold.

Personally owned property: The University does not cover personal belongings. It is strongly recommended that you purchase homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to cover any personally owned items that you wish to have insured. Contact your insurance carrier to discuss what steps are needed to insure items of value while overseas. Additionally the following section of Policy FIN – 006 Insurance Coverage applies:

Personal Property

Personal property belonging to employees or students that is located on Grounds is not covered by State or University property insurance, unless their property is damaged through some negligence on the part of the University. It is strongly recommended that individuals having personal property at the University contact an insurance agent for appropriate insurance coverage, such as homeowners or renters insurance, to protect their personal possessions.

Additional Information

Assistance is available through the Office of Risk Management for additional questions regarding the international insurance available through the University or for general risk management advise. We can be reached at 434-924-3055.