Student Organizations

These guidelines have been developed to clarify the extent to which the Southern Methodist University Insurance Liability Program applies to the activities and functions of SMU sanctioned organizations (i.e. chartered organizations). In addition, procedures for the evaluation of the organization’s activities with respect to liability protection as well as for the procurement of outside sources of liability insurance will be discussed.

Important Links

A. Eligibility for Coverage

B. Types of Coverage

C. Special Points to Consider


A. Eligibility for Coverage

In order to be covered under any of the SMU insurance programs, the student organization must be an SMU sanctioned organization consisting primarily of SMU students, faculty and staff.

B. Types of Coverage

1. Automobile Liability and Collision Coverage 

It includes damage to a University Controlled vehicle (Collision), damage to the other car(s), medical claims and/or death claims (Liability). Coverage has a $750 deductible which is the responsibility of the student organization or department which controls the vehicle.

  1. University Controlled Vehicles -- (owned, leased, courtesy and rental vehicles) must be used with the proper permission of the department responsible for the vehicle.
  2. Rental Vehicles -- Liability protection is not an absolute when individuals rent a vehicle for student organization activities. It is difficult to determine whether an individual will be covered for liability without knowing the details of the specific situations from which the liability may arise. Student organizations should not assume continuous and automatic liability protection by virtue of their existence. When renting vehicles, liability protection will be judged based on the specific activities of the individuals acting on behalf of the organization. (The Office of Risk Management can advise you on a case by case basis whether coverage is available through SMU’s plan or whether the individual organization should purchase insurance from the rental agency.)
  3. Personal Vehicles -- are not covered under SMU’s plan. In the event of an accident, the individual’s insurance coverage will apply, not SMU’s. It is important that the individual has proper liability coverage (required by law) and collision coverage since any damages will be the individual’s responsibility.

2. Other Liability Coverages

  1. Faculty/Staff -- Faculty and staff members are protected by the SMU liability coverage while acting on behalf of the University in their prescribed duties which would include sponsorship of a club or organization.
  2. Campus Organizations -- the campus organizations have coverage under SMU’s liability insurance as long as they are University sanctioned organizations and activities that are approved through proper University procedures.
  3. Organizations not Covered -- Individual social fraternities and sororities do not have any coverage under the SMU insurance plan.
  4. Student Workers -- on S.M.U. payroll have medical coverage up to $25,000 if injured while in the course and scope of their work-related duties.

3. Special Event Liability Insurance Coverage -- S.M.U. requires proof of insurance for all vendors, contractors that want to participate in a special event on campus. The student organization is responsible for obtaining evidence of insurance (i.e. a Certificate of Insurance) from third parties and presenting it to the Office of Risk Management at least (3) days prior to the event taking place.

a. In order for the university to recognize the event the following list of insurance policy conditions must be met on the Certificate of Insurance:

  1. Named Insured: The Student Organization or specific member.
  2. Additional Insured: SMU, its Trustees, Officers, employees and agents.
  3. Coverage Detail: Commercial General Liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage. Policy Minimums: $500,000 limit per occurrence.
  4. Note: All special events are not organized in the same way, nor do they carry the same exposure. This can lead to confusion about who needs to insure what. A rule of thumb hat can often be applied is whenever the group is hiring outside people for an event, signing contracts, and charging for the event, they will likely need liability insurance to cover the event. Many outside groups carry their own insurance. Generally if another party (i.e. a promoter) is responsible for the contracts and promotions, it carries its own liability limits. But because these distinctions can be confusing, liability coverage should be clarified in the early planning stages of the event. (Risk Management can advise you on this.)

4. Third Party Users Liability Insurance Policy (TULIP) -- This S.M.U. program provides liability coverage for student organization and third parties they might contract with.

  1. It provides coverage and legal defense for claims of negligence brought on the grounds of mismanagement, improper security, misleading representations, or failure of equipment/fixtures, to name a few.
  2. The TULIP is normally priced on a per-event basis since each event is separately underwritten. Securing this coverage can be done through the Office of Risk Management. (Consulting with a local insurance agent to purchase coverage for the event may aid in receiving a competitive price for the coverage.)
  3. The cost for the TULIP would be based on the nature of the event, the anticipated number of participants, and the number of days. At your discretion the premium cost could be passed to the insured or paid by the student organization. Payment would be assessed for each event. Upon receipt a certificate of insurance naming SMU as additional insured would be issued in the insureds name.

C. Special Points to Consider

  1. Social Fraternities/Sororities -- Must provide their own coverage. The Office of Risk Management is available for assistance.
  2. Club Sports/Intramurals -- There is no coverage for the individuals participating in these events. Third party liability coverage is provided. (An example of third party liability coverage would be a situation in which a spectator or passer-by was injured by a foul ball).
  3. Personal Property -- No Coverage.

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