Insurance Information

The Safety & Risk Management Office handles 25 different types of property and liability insurance policies for Western Carolina University. These include coverage for buildings, state vehicles, study abroad, medical malpractice, student internship liability and others. NC General Statute 58-194.2 states that all insurance authorized for state agencies will be placed by the NC Department of Insurance. Therefore, State agencies cannot obtain insurance directly through private companies. All insurance coverage paid by funds “under the custody and control” of the University must be coordinated through the Safety & Risk Management Office and be approved by the NC Department of Insurance. Please contact the Safety & Risk Management Office for questions regarding these policies at 828-227-7443.

Insurance Policies

Property insurance

  • By statute, university-owned property assets are required to be insured for the perils of fire and lightning. Insurance is provided through the State Property Fire Insurance Fund, which is administered by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. As a state institution, the university does not carry property insurance for the personal property of students, faculty, staff, visitors, and other private individuals.
  • Along with fire and lightening coverage, WCU also covers all buildings with extended coverage which covers windstorm and hail damage.
  • General-funded departments are not charged for the fire and lightning property insurance coverage. Receipts-funded departments are charged for the fire and lightning coverage.
  • An important reminder, please contact Safety & Risk Management if your department relocates property assets to another location. Property insurance coverage is location-specific.
  • Please also notify Safety & Risk Management when your department acquires any major acquisition of equipment assets or other furnishings. It is important to maintain adequate coverage amounts at a specific location in the event of a total loss. It is the responsibility of each department to notify Safety & Risk Management of such asset acquisitions for insurance valuation purposes.
  • University departments also have the option to purchase insurance for specifically scheduled items. Scheduled “all-risk” coverage can be purchased for two categories of property assets. The first category is “Computer All-Risk” which is designed to cover computers and electronic peripheral items. The second category is “Miscellaneous Equipment All-Risk“ coverage for items such as video and sound equipment.

motor vehicle insurance

  • All department owned vehicles must be reported to the Department of Insurance for liability coverage. Therefore, all departments are advised to contact the Safety & Risk Management Office regarding the long term lease/rental of a new vehicle or addition/transfer of state owned vehicles to their department.  Please submit the WCU Vehicle Change Form to the Safety and Risk Management office whenever you receive or surplus a department owned vehicle.  
  • Notifying the Safety & Risk Management Office will ensure that premiums for any transferred or new vehicles will be charged to the correct department. Vehicles added mid-year will be charged a prorated amount for insurance coverage from the date the vehicle is added through the July 1st policy renewal date. Yearly insurance premiums for both liability and comp/collision coverage are billed in July.
  • Please note that all state vehicles purchased by University departments are automatically covered with liability insurance, and comprehensive/collision insurance is optional. Contact the Safety & Risk Management office to add this additional coverage.

Reporting Vehicle Accidents

In the event of an accident involving a state owned vehicle contact WCU Campus Police (828)227-7301 as soon as possible in order for the accident to be documented. Call 911 if you or other drivers are injured. Report the accident to the Safety & Risk Management Office (828)227-7443 as soon as possible in order for a claim to be filed with our insurance carrier.
*Motor Fleet vehicle accidents should be reported to Jean Andrei in Motor Pool at 828-227-3575.

Insurance for Short Term Rental Vehicles

Comp/Collision and liability coverage is provided free of charge to departments who rent vehicles for less than 30 days. Please contact the Safety & Risk Management Office if the rental extends beyond 30 days. When a department rents a vehicle, the rental firm’s liability insurance coverage is primary. The State’s insurance plan will respond for physical damage to the rental car for which authorized employees are liable.

The state of North Carolina is a self-insurer and therefore the rental firm may not charge any fees or surcharges for “collision waivers” or similar items to State employees utilizing the contract. The state does not allow reimbursement for fees or surcharges for “Collision Damage Waiver” and other extended insurance coverage. Employees executing rental contracts should decline these coverages or be prepared to bear the cost of this expense personally. Rental car insurance coverage is provided in the United States, its possessions, and Canada. There is no coverage in other foreign countries.

other insurance

Insurance Procurement

The Safety & Risk Management Office handles 25 different types of property and liability insurance policies for Western Carolina University. NC General Statute 58-194.2 states that all insurance authorized for state agencies will be placed by the NC Department of Insurance. Therefore, State agencies cannot obtain insurance directly through private companies. All insurance coverage paid by funds “under the custody and control” of the University must be coordinated through the Safety & Risk Management Office and approved by the NC Department of Insurance. Please contact the Safety & Risk Management Office with any questions at (828)227-7443.

Fine Art Insurance

  • Because of the unique nature of fine arts a separate commercial policy is written to cover items that are owned or loaned to the University. Each department with fine arts must maintain a current inventory of owned and loaned artwork and report the inventory to Safety & Risk Management each year.
  • Both owned-works and works on loan can be insured through this policy. The broker and insurer for this coverage is nationally known and experienced in the world of Fine Arts.
  • The deductible for owned-works is $2,500 per occurrence and the deductible for unowned-works on loan is $0.

Leased Equipment Insurance

  • Equipment which is loaned or leased to the University can be insured through a private policy with the Department of Insurance. Once insured, the leaser will receive a Certificate of Insurance which will serve as proof of insurance coverage. 
  • In order to add coverage, Safety & Risk Management will need a description of each item being leased or loaned along with current replacement values.  A copy of the loan or lease agreement should be provided as well.

Intern Liability Insurance

Students whom are engaging in paid or unpaid internships can be covered by the Student Intern Professional Liability coverage. There is only one policy available to student interns:
Montgomery - This policy can be used for both medical and non-medical student interns. The policy offers $1,000,000.00 worth of liability coverage and has a per semester policy term. The cost of the policy is $25 per semester for Health Science Interns and $11 per semester for all other majors. A COI (Certificate of Insurance) will be provided to the student to take to their internship site as proof of insurance. Students or Faculty interested in enrolling their students in the policy should contact the Safety & Risk Management Office.

*Please note that internship policy rates are subject to change.  Please contact the Safety & Risk Management Office for the most current rates.

tort claims

As an agency of State government, WCU is entitled to claim "sovereign immunity" from various types of liability, including tort liability. This immunity is recognized by the federal government and all state jurisdictions, and prevents third parties from suing the university except to the extent the university agrees to be sued. Only the General Assembly of North Carolina is authorized to waive this immunity and it has done so to a limited extent by enacting the North Carolina Tort Claims Act (GS 143-291, et seq.).

NC Tort Claim Act- NC General Statute 143-291
State agencies, and employees and agents acting in their official capacity, may be sued for torts, BUT ONLY

  • For ordinary negligence
  • Caused by the state employee or agent (named)
  • Acting within the scope of authorized service

To file a tort claim, please complete the Tort Claim Form in its entirety and return/mail the form to the Safety & Risk Management Office at:

3476 Old Cullowhee Road
Cullowhee, NC 28723

OR

Fax (828)227-7198

Once the form is submitted to the Safety & Risk Management Office, the claim form is forwarded to the NC Department of Justice for review.  The NC Department of Justice completes an investigation in conjunction with the University.  The timeframe for claim determination can range from 4-8 weeks and you will be notified in writing by the NC Department of Insurance of the claim determination.

Please contact the Safety & Risk Management Office with any questions regarding Tort Claims.

Liability Certificates

From time to time departments will receive requests for liability certificates.  The Department of Insurance can provide liability tort letters to other organizations.  Please contact Safety & Risk Management with any questions or requests for liability certificates at (828)227-7443.

frequently asked questions

Is there insurance coverage on the building my department occupies and on our contents?
At a minimum, all University-owned buildings and contents including transformers and substations listed with the N.C. Department of Insurance are required by State statue to be insured for Fire/Lightning. This coverage is free to general funded (state-appropriated) departments. Receipts originated departments must pay a premium for Fire/Lightning coverage. All departments must pay the premium for any additional coverage requested.

If my department moves/changes location on or off campus, does our insurance coverage follow us?
You must contact Safety & Risk Management if your department relocates property assets to another location. Property insurance coverage is location specific.

Is the insurance for buildings and contents at replacement cost?
All covered buildings and contents are insured on a RCV (replacement cost value).

What does All Risk cover?
All Risk covers all perils that are not excluded, i.e., Fire (includes lightning), Extended Coverage (EC), Vandalism and Malicious Mischief (V&MM), Theft, Water, Transit, etc. Some items excluded are normal wear and tear and mechanical breakdown.

What is the current property insurance deductible?
$10,000 for Fire/Lightning and $50,000 for Windstorm/Hail Damage

How do I determine the replacement cost of my equipment?
One way to determine replacement cost is from the purchase order if that equipment has been purchased recently, or if any similar equipment has been purchased recently. Another way is to contact the manufacturer to see what the cost is to replace your equipment with like, kind, and quality. If your unit is no longer available, then get the replacement cost of the next most comparable unit.

Can our own University department go out on its own to purchase insurance coverage in the commercial marketplace?
No, as the State of North Carolina has statutory requirements for insurance purchasing by state agencies and institutions. The process of insurance procurement has been centralized and insurance purchasing should be arranged through Safety & Risk Management. 

Our University department is using a private facility for a special event or conference and they have requested that we provide them a copy of the University's Certificate of Liability Insurance. What do we do?
Contact Safety & Risk Management for assistance. WCU, same as other State of North Carolina agencies and institutions, self-insures for general liability coverage subject to the North Carolina Tort Claims Act. Safety & Risk Management can assist and provide a document as certification of our liability coverage.

I am a University employee. How am I covered for any general liability that may arise from my actions while doing my job?
If you are University employee or volunteer and acting within the course and scope of your duties, and your actions are not intentionally malicious, nor pose a conflict of interest with the best interests of the State of North Carolina, coverage may arise from the combination of (1) Defense of State Employees Act, and (2) the Employees Excess Liability Insurance policy. It is important that you are acting within your job duties, thus the importance of a good job description.

I sometimes use my personal vehicle on University business. Am I covered?
The motor vehicle liability insurance carried by you on your personal vehicle is considered primary coverage when you are driving your own vehicle. In the absence of such primary coverage, or any other personal motor vehicle insurance coverage is exhausted, the State of North Carolina Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance program may cover on an excess layer if you were on the job. Remember, it is your responsibility to discuss any business use of your personal vehicle with your own agent to ensure adequate personal coverage. 

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