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Guidelines for Incident Reporting – Property Damage

INCIDENT REPORT FORM: Incident Report Form (Property Loss)

A. Overview
B. Steps in the Claim Process
C. Actions in the Event of a Loss
D. Crime Losses
E. Recovery and Restitution

University property losses should be reported to Risk Management in the System Office. This includes losses to buildings, contents of the buildings, property off premises, and property of others in the care of the University (but does not include damage to property of third parties or vehicles accidents). This guideline outlines property loss reporting protocol, incident response, recovery and restitution of damaged or totaled property. Failure to follow the guidelines may jeopardize funding for the loss and the campus assumes any financial loss that results.

To report a property loss incident, complete and submit the following form to Risk Management:
Incident Report: Property Loss–University Buildings, Contents or Other Property

B. Steps in the Claim Process
1. The campus reports an incident to Risk Management on the incident report form. Prompt reporting is essential—see Section C below.

2. Risk Management files the incident with the appropriate insurance company, if applicable, or handles internally.

3. Risk Management (and, if appropriate, a private claims adjuster or insurance company claims adjuster) investigates the incident and assists the campus with handling the loss and settlement process.

4. For most property losses under $100,000, Risk Management oversees adjustment of the loss. An outside adjuster will be assigned for most losses with an estimated damage amount of $15,000 or more. The outside adjuster will appraise the claim and assist the campus with responding to the loss recovery.

5. For property losses in excess of $100,000 (and also fine arts and other special insuance claims), Risk Management works with the insurance claims adjuster and campus personnel to ensure that claim management moves smoothly and quickly toward settlement.

6. Repair or replacement of damaged property should not take place until approved by Risk Management, except in emergency situations when immediate action is warranted to reduce a loss or prevent injury.

7. In most instances, property needs to be repaired, replaced or rebuilt before payment of a loss settlement will be made or approved by Risk Management.

8. Settlement payments are negotiated and authorized by Risk Management in a manner to best serve the interests of the University.

9. The campus provides Risk Management with accounting chartfields in order for Risk Management to transfer the settlement funds to the campus.

C. Actions in the Event of a Loss
1. People’s safety should be the primary concern. Call 9-1-1 immediately for emergencies. Take whatever steps are safe, necessary and reasonable to assist and prevent further injury or property damage. For details on responding to an emergency, contact appropriate campus administration or System Office Risk Management.

2. Report to Risk Management, within 5 days, any property damage or loss with an estimated dollar value of $1,000 or greater. The incident should be reported on the appropriate form: Incident Report: University Buildings, Contents or Other Property. If the incident is serious and of a high dollar value, also contact Risk Management, within 48 hours, by phone at: 207-973-3331 (if it is after work hours and there is a large loss to buildings or contents, call 800-525-1252 to report the claim). In most instances, claims must be reported within 30 days of discovery of claims for insurance coverage to apply. Insurance coverage may be jeopardized if prompt notification is not made or guidelines are not followed.

3. Until all circumstances surrounding the incident and resulting property damage have been investigated, the actual cause may not be known. Therefore, when talking to anyone other than officials about the incident do not speculate on the cause of the incident. Be courteous and factual. Do not argue or accept blame. Do not sign anything or discuss details of the incident with anyone other than your supervisor, police or the University’s investigator.

4. Do not move, discard or repair damaged property unless it is necessary to avoid or reduce a dangerous situation or to prevent further damage, until after the initial inspections by Risk Management and/or University claims adjuster is complete or the campus is authorized to do so. However, take what action seems reasonable given the circumstances to best serve the University

5. With regard to contents, it is important to retain the items, if safe to do so, until authorized by Risk Management to dispose of them. If a claim is covered by insurance, then it is an insurance company’s right to keep the damaged contents, if they so wish, in order to sell it for salvage value. In addition, if another party is at fault and the damaged property has been discarded, this may jeopardize the University’s or insurance company’s ability to recover from the responsible party.

D. Crime Losses
In addition to the actions noted in section C above, crimes need to be reported to the police or campus public safety in compliance with State and Federal laws. In addition, Risk Management should also be notified if the dollar value involved in a crime is $1,000 or more, or if the crime occurs more than once in a short time span. Crimes include arson, vandalism, theft, burglary, robbery, embezzlement and other crimes, and whether committed by an employee, a student, a visitor, a trespasser or an unknown.

E. Recovery and Restitution
1. It is important that the full loss information be provided prior to commencing work on repairing or replacing buildings or contents. If the campus begins working on repairs prior to the completed investigation, it may be difficult for the insurance company or System to justify and agree to the costs. If the work is to be done by University personnel, then such work needs prior approval of Risk Management and, if applicable, the insurance company; and the cost of repairs should be easily measurable and at a cost equal to or less than the amount an outside contractor would charge for the work. If an outside contractor is to be used, an estimate should be obtained and submitted for review and approval prior to commencing work. The campus must follow established procurement procedures for securing contractors and purchasing equipment or contents.

2. In most instances, recovery funding for damaged property is based on the least costly of the following: the actual cost to repair, replace or rebuild. Property must be repaired or replaced or rebuilt, at the same location, with other property of comparable size material, quality and function. Funding is not available until the property is repaired, replaced or rebuilt.

3. Obtain and submit to Risk Management a written statement from the person who is responsible for the property. This memo should provide only factual information including:

Exact location of property and when it was last seen and by whom

  • Name and contact information for the person responsible for property
  • By whom and when the loss was first discovered
  • How loss occurred
  • What will be required to get the University program back in operation (equipment and repairs necessary before the department can resume operations – it is the University’s goal to get programs back in operation as soon as physically possible after an incident)

4. In the event of a claim, it is very important to provide full details. If building damage, it is important to provide full information on the damaged area, including estimated dimensions (length, width, height, etc.). It is not enough to say “roof damage” or “wall damage.” The details are essential.

5. If the damaged or lost property is contents or equipment, the following actions or information is needed:

  • Make a complete list of all damaged items (including make, model, and serial number).
  • Obtain copies of the original purchasing documents (i.e., campus orders, purchase orders, or invoices which show original cost, date of purchase, and purchase source).
  • Research and document the possible repair of the equipment.
  • If replacement is necessary, document the current replacement cost which is the lowest price available to the University for comparable property with similar features. For computers and other electronic equipment, the replacement cost is often less than the original purchase price. Provide details on the source of the estimate (be sure to include the name and phone number of the person giving the price quote).
  • Place any University property that is damaged beyond repair and being replaced in a safe location for inspection by Risk Management and/or the insurance company.
  • Retain the damaged property and the equipment which caused the loss. For example, if a faulty valve caused water damage to some property, save the valve until Risk Management authorizes disposal.
  • If there are any items that are currently working, but you have reason to believe there could be problem with them in the future as a result of the incident, a detailed description of the item and the reason there may be a future problem.
  • Also include information regarding any extra expense that may be incurred as a result of the incident (renting of equipment, relocating offices, additional staff, etc.).

6. Claims damage must be repaired or replaced in a timely manner, at least within 180 days of the loss except in the event of severe damage or extenuating circumstances; otherwise, funding for the claim may be jeopardized and the campus assumes any financial loss that results. Extensions beyond the 180 days must be approved by Risk Management.

7. A loss will not be paid until the property is repaired, replace or rebuilt, unless otherwise approved by Risk Management. Acceptable back-up documentation, such as paid invoices, will be required prior to funding. In addition, in most instances, the campus should pay for the loss costs (contractors and purchases) out of its own funds, and then submit documentation to Risk management for the loss funding that had been approved.