URMIA Resources

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University's Duty of Care

As more students, faculty, and staff members travel, work, and live abroad, higher education institutions face the question of what their responsibilities are to their constituents. Duty of care refers to the legal obligations of organizations and individuals to treat others and the public in such a way as to avoid the risk of foreseeable injury. Employers have a duty of care obligation for the health, safety, and security of their employees; likewise, colleges and universities have an obligation to all of their stakeholders who are traveling or studying internationally. This article highlights the many different risks and duty of care obligations that face colleges and universities specifically, including student versus faculty and staff risks, past international incidents, international campus risks, and reputational risk. The authors also outline steps that any institution can take to ensure it has processes in place to meet its duty of care obligations and protect its employees and students.

Foreign Travel:  Risk and Response

While duty of care responsibilities for institutions of higher education may still be somewhat unclear, there are ways for institutions to both consolidate their coverage for foreign travel risks and ensure that faculty, staff, and students are covered. This article highlights the growing number of employees and students traveling overseas, as well as "hot spots" that may pose unique risks to travelers. The authors then discuss traditional foreign travel risk management practices and the problems that risk managers can face if they are using a piecemeal approach to cover these risks. Finally, the article focuses on how to develop a comprehensive, integrated coverage plan for foreign travel and what to look for in a carrier.

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Risk Management Lessons - Australian Insurance Sector

The financial crisis that has hit countries across the world has had a serious impact on many institutions of higher education, forcing budget cuts, furloughs, tuition hikes, and hiring freezes. Australia, however, has so far weathered the financial storm well. This article discusses how the Australian insurance market reacted to and learned from past crashes and other economic downturns. It also explains the important, unique role of regulators in the Australian insurance market. Finally, the Australian insurance sector is looking toward the future and has a number of current risk initiatives, including increasing financial reporting literacy, having brokers on risk teams, focusing on business interruption, examining new indicators of risk, and focusing on fraud.

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Sending Travelers Abroad:  Medical Precautions & Preparations

Before students travel abroad, there is much that a college or university can do to prepare those students in case of a medical emergency. Accidents and emergencies happen; with proper precautions and preparation, however, those emergencies can be limited and the effects minimized. This article first describes key differences between healthcare around the world and the type of care with which many students from the United States may be familiar. The authors then discuss how risk managers and university travel abroad specialists can best prepare students before traveling so that they know what to expect, what types of insurance they should consider, what medical information they need to bring with them, and what to do and who to contact in case of a medical emergency.

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The Financial Crisis and the London Market

Risk managers all over the world struggle to evaluate the stability and integrity of an insurer during the current financial crisis. URMIA members share in this struggle, ensuring their assets are well taken care of and that insurers have the ability and willingness to pay claims during tough economic times. In meeting the goals of the International Fellowship Program to enrich the knowledge of the URMIA membership and to provide URMIA with an international exposure, the Class of 2009 Fellows visited London in May 2009. This article provides an overview of the Fellows' key findings and observations of the London market and Lloyd's of London in light of the current financial crisis. In addition, it highlights URMIA's international exposure through personal interaction with various brokers, underwriters, company executives, and employees operating in the London market and Lloyd's of London.

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Risk Management Across the Pond

In May 2009, URMIA's International Fellowship Program brought four experienced higher education risk managers to London. While there, the Fellows gained firsthand experience of common risk management and insurance practices in the United Kingdom, and they were given the chance to compare and contrast risk management problems and solutions with their international counterparts. The Fellows found that, while there are many differences in how higher education risk managers and insurance professionals view risk and mitigate it, there are also a number of similar issues impacting their operations and decisions. This paper will outline some of those similarities and differences, highlighting how higher education risk managers in both countries may benefit from gaining insight into differing perspectives.

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International Study Abroad Programs

Collegiate and university risk managers worldwide are faced with increased challenges presented by an ever-growing number of students participating in international studies programs. The growing number of students, a wider range of geographical locations, an expanded variety of programs, and a seemingly endless need for students to engage in more cutting edge activities present a challenge to even the most experienced and qualified risk manager and study abroad or international studies coordinator. The needs of United States-based students traveling abroad and the needs of foreign-national students living and studying on our campuses are in many ways similar. However, differences between the two groups lie in societal expectations, legal concerns, and the life experiences of the individual students.

During the 2009 International Fellowship Program, conversations that the Class of 2009 Fellows had with United Kingdom-based university risk managers provided detailed insights into four specific areas that our international colleagues feel US campuses need to address in a more focused, proactive manner: the use of alcohol and other drugs, mental health issues, sexual conduct and preference, and academic expectations.

International Branch Campuses and Unique Risk Considerations

A very unique set of considerations may influence the ability of an international branch campus to meet its objectives and attain long-term success. After briefly examining the context-dependent nature of a branch campus, this article outlines examples of unique risks that may affect a branch campus' operations. Finally, readers will review the valuable input that home campuses and other collaborators can provide in managing the operations international branch campuses.

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Emerging Markets

As global business expands into emerging markets around the world, so, too, do college programs and the need for new approaches to risk management and insurance in those markets. Emerging markets pose new opportunities-and unique challenges-from both an insurance perspective and an educational perspective. Experiential learning, research, and study abroad opportunities are expanding rapidly at institutions throughout the United States, and many programs are taking the opportunity to partner with and travel to previously underdeveloped countries. To stay ahead of this trend and anticipate issues before they arise, college and university risk managers must be proactive in identifying, assessing, and mitigating new potential risks affiliated with emerging markets.

During the 2009 International Fellowship Program, several key areas of interest surfaced regarding increased involvement with emerging markets. From an insurance standpoint, brokers are carefully reviewing and, in some cases, making moves into emerging markets to better serve their clients and build future business. Culturally, residents of emerging markets may have different perspectives towards risk, impacting how these countries respond to risk. Finally, from a higher education standpoint, risk managers can take what they know about the cultural perspectives in different emerging markets and use those perspectives as a baseline to run more successful, safe programs in those countries.

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