Contractual Liability and Contract Review

Contracts usually contain “hold harmless and indemnification” language which may hold one party responsible for the negligence of another. The University should not assume unnecessary liabilities in a contract. For this reason, all significant contracts for services, affiliation agreements or leases of premises should be reviewed by the General Counsel’s Office and the Risk Management Department in compliance with the University’s Contract Approval and Signatory Authority Policy (Contract policy (PDF)). The University Campus Planning Office is the central clearinghouse for lease agreements. New leases should be forwarded to that office to assure risk management and legal review. Only officers of the University are authorized to sign contracts and leases of premises. Purchasing is authorized to sign PO agreements and procurement contracts.

The Director of the Risk Management Department should review any and all contracts that may present a risk of accidental injury or loss to the University, its employees, students, or invitees, or to property owned, leased or loaned by or to the University. The Director should also review contract provisions relating to insurance; waivers of rights including subrogation; additional insured status; liability limitations or waivers; or defense, hold harmless and/or indemnification obligations. Such review shall be undertaken by the Director, Assistant Director, or Senior Risk Analyst in consultation with the General Counsel.

Please allow for a minimum of 15 days for Risk Management review.

Releases of Liability

Signed releases of liability are recommended if the University sponsors an event or activity that is voluntary and/or potentially dangerous, or when outside groups use University facilities. Examples of this include ropes courses, field trips, sports participation or high school groups’ use of labs or other facilities. Such releases are signed by either the participating organization or by individual participants (or their parents, in the case of minors). These releases reduce the University’s liability and shift responsibility to the participant. Contact Risk Management to obtain or to review release forms.

Once signed, releases should be kept on file by the sponsoring department for six years after the event. If an injury occurs, notify Risk Management and forward the release form for that particular individual.

Insurance Requirements for Outside Vendors

Sellers performing, selling, or distributing products and services with UVM shall maintain the following minimum insurance standards. If a product or service, in the opinion of the UVM Department of Risk Management, represents an unusual or exceptional risk, the Department of Risk Management may establish additional insurance requirements for that product or service.

Commercial General Liability Insurance: Including Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, Independent Contractors Liability, Contractual Liability, Product Liability and Completed Operations Liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit, per occurrence, and $1,000,000 annual aggregate.

Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance: For any vendors with employees, standard workers compensation as required by Vermont State statute and employers’ liability insurance in an amount not less than $100,000 per accident, $500,000 annual aggregate. Sole proprietors may be required to carry workers’ compensation if the nature of their work is inherently dangerous, with such determination to be made by the Department of Risk Management and Safety.

Automobile Liability: If Seller will drive on UVM’s premises or utilize a vehicle in the course of business, Automobile Liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and property damage, including owned, hired, and non-owned vehicle coverage.

The following insurance is required as applicable:

Crime: with a third party endorsement to protect the University of Vermont in an amount not less than $250,000 per claim.

Cyber-risk Liability: in an amount not less than $5,000,000 per occurrence. Professional Liability: in an amount not less than $1,000,000 per claim.

Certificates of Insurance

Vendor Proof of Insurance

Vendors and contractors doing business with the University or organizations using University premises or facilities should carry their own insurance to protect their own interests from allegations of liability caused by their own negligence.

Certificates of Insurance, which provide evidence that such coverage is in place, should be requested from all entities before the University engages their services or permits them to use our premises or facilities. See #14 - Insurance of UVM's Purchase Order Terms & Conditions (PDF). 

When requesting a Certificate of Insurance from vendors, please use the below information for the Additional Insured and Certificate Holder:

University of Vermont
284 East Avenue
Burlington, VT  05405

Electronic Certificates of Insurance are preferable to paper copies.  Electronic COIs can be emailed to

Request for Proof of UVM Insurance

Entities with which UVM departments do business may sometimes ask the University for proof of UVM's insurance coverage.

After filling out the Certificate of Insurance Form, please email a copy of the contract or agreement that is associated with your request for a Certificate of Insurance to We cannot request the Certificate of Insurance until we receive the contract or agreement.  Please note that it may take up to ten days to produce the Certificate of Insurance. 

Employee Practices/Educators Legal Liability

Allegations of wrongful termination, discrimination, or other employment related claims can be minimized by doing the following:

  • Do not demonstrate unfair or deferential treatment of others on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other impermissible criteria considered to be unlawful discrimination.
  • Define appropriate skills, education, training and essential functions in all position descriptions.
  • Conduct annual performance appraisals of all employees you supervise and be honest in your appraisal of them.
  • Do not ignore complaints, investigate them.
  • Refer discrimination or sexual harassment complaints to the Affirmative Action office.
  • Do not retaliate against employees who file grievances or workers’ compensation claims.

Operations Liability

University departments and personnel are involved in a number of activities and operations, ranging from athletics to field trips to study abroad programs to special events to intellectual property development to research to student clubs, et al. Any of these operations could result in injury to persons or damage to property. Controlling the risks associated with such operations requires such techniques as making good decisions, employing best practices, providing supervision, orientation and training for a particular activity, having emergency procedures in place, and weighing the benefits versus the risks to determine whether a particular activity should even be undertaken. For assistance in developing risk management techniques for any of your operations, contact the Risk Management Department.

Premises Liability

Any hazards identified with UVM property that could damage property or injure persons (such as falling ice or snow from buildings, icy walkways, blocked fire extinguishers or burned out exit lights) should be reported IMMEDIATELY first to Physical Plant Service Operations Support for correction at (802) 656-2560 and Press “1” or online through FAMIS.

While the Risk Management Department does not make actual repairs or changes to property, hazards should be reported to the department for investigation and follow-up. Anyone who witnesses an injury on campus should report it to Risk Management.