Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 09:00:22 +0000

Author: LeRoy Frahm

Subject: Re: Insurance Coverage


Good Morning Karl and All,

Because of an upcoming meeting, It occurred to me to ask if the concern
risk exposure we are exposed to and we have assumed the liability running last

minute errands to save a Lab or Lecture, was discuss at all in the
LeRoy Frahm

Karl Trappe wrote:

> LeRoy Frahm makes a serious professional concern. Hopefully, it can be
> addressed at the summer cracker barrel on Professional Concerns. Please
> pass this on to Dean Hudek.
> For university vehicles, my dept agrees to assume the first $5000.00 in
> risk, ie, the university is self-insured, but makes the depts agree to
> cover the "deductable", which is set so that minor fender benders become
> the responsibility of the dept. This immediately impacts a persons
> willingness to do any support activity involving university vehicles.
> Clearly, if you incurr any kind of liability, you will have it on your
> *department* record as having cost the dept (up to $5000.00) for each
> "exposure". That's something most of us would prefer to not chance having
> on our record. Clearly, anyone who does *nothing* will never get this job
> liability exposure. The pressure is on to "do as little as possible" in
> order to keep your risks comparable to that of your fellow workers.
> For example: I recently presented a program for the alumni association in
> a town about 150 miles away. The Dean's office arranged for me to use a
> university van. I spent about 6 hours on the interstate in heavy traffic.
> The exposure to risk was very real, and it raises the question of whether
> this hidden expense is too much to justify the activity.
> Generally, I use my POV (personally owned vehicle) for *all* outreach. To
> get reimbursed for any of the expense would draw attention to the program
> and cause its value to come into question. But I enjoy doing road shows.
> However, I am exposing my POV to additional risks of being destroyed in an
> accident by using it. If that happens, its my "tough luck". This recently
> happened in a non-work related accident when a truck pulled a trailer
> across the highway in front of my wife and kids, "totalling" my POV. After
> much anguish with the insurance companies, I may have my car back in
> another week (after nearly 2 months of haggling), renting cars, and
> borrowing cars from friends. This *could have* just as easily been the
> result of work related errand running, but it would have been totally my
> exposure, as the University would have no obligation (nor commitment) to
> assist me.
> To give another example: In 1977 I personally purchased the most expensive
> Nikon camera body made (the F2AS). I think the list price on the body
> alone was about $1300.00. Although the dept had a cheaper camera, I
> certainly preferred to use my own wonderful camera, and frequently took it
> to work, and put it in a locked file cabinet. One day I went to use it,
> and the cabinet was unlocked and the camera was not there. I panicked!
> First I turned the office upside down looking for it. Next I looked all
> over my home, thinking that I had lost my memory. Finally, I turned the
> loss into the university police. I questioned everyone in sight. I sent out
> memos to the dept. I had one employee, who had just asked me to loan him
> money, interviewed by the police. No conclusion, and no camera. The
> university did nothing for me..after all, it was *my* choice to bring my
> camera to work! Next I contacted my own homeowners insurance. First they
> wanted to know what my personal property was doing at my *work*, ie, was I
> using it at work, and therefore should it have been insured as a business
> item? I argued that it was my right to use my camera for my pleasure
> whereever I chose. Well, in most states there is a 2% deductable on
> homeowners policies for theft. That translated to $700.00 off for my house
> insured for $35,000 in 1980. But the insurance company wanted to start
> with the wholesale price I actually paid for the camera, then depreciate it
> for 3 years of service, then take the deductable off. Bottom line was that
> I would not be able to buy a Kodak Instamatic with my insurance coverage.
> My only consolation was to keep looking for the, if you see a
> black body Nikon F2AS with LED indicators, and get to open it up inside the
> viewer screens, the serial number is 7742704. For years, I got concerned
> queries from my colleagues: "Did you ever find your camera?", but not one
> dime of recovery. Oh, yes, I actually had deductied it as a business
> expense on my 1040 (I was doing wedding photography on the side). There's
> a rule in business deductions that the item must have a certain useful life
> in order to depreciate it. The amount you deduct each year depends on its
> anticipated life. If it does not last for your business as long as you
> expected, then you have to reimburse IRS. To add insult to injury, besides
> losing the camera, I also had to *pay* IRS "recovery of depreciation" since
> the camera didn't last (for my business) the anticipated useful life, and
> was not a depreciable item!
> Its a serious problem. When you're new at the job you do anything you can
> to "please" your employer and show your commitment to the "company". So
> far, the ledger sheet is in my favor, but relative to other co-workers with
> no exposure, I am not so sure. My 2 cents worth. Just more bitchin'...
> Karl
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Question for Everyone,
> >> There has been some insurance and vehicle policy change
> >> here and my question to everyone is :
> >> Does your institution cover you when you use you car to run
> >> for parts and supplies in your community,
> >> or, are you only covered by your own car insurance and you'd
> >> have to pay for your repairs,
> >> or, you don't use your car and parts are delivered some other way,
> >> or, you are never asked or permitted use your car for work?
> >> Bottom Line : Are you assuming hidden risks with your private vehicle
> >> and reducing it for your institution?
> >> Please let me hear from you...
> >> LeRoy Frahm, Lawrence U
> >
> >
> >
> >--
> >Zigmund J. Peacock
> >
> >Department of Physics
> >
> >115 SOUTH 1400 EAST #201 Tel 801 581 6602
> >SALT LAKE CITY UT 84112-0830 Fax 801 581 4801
> >
> > "I am a scientist, you are a poet.
> > You must live with the consequence of my imagination,
> > as I must live with yours."
> > Jacob Bronofski scientist, to the poet Gwynn Thomas.
> Dr. Karl I. Trappe Desk Phone: (512) 471-4152
> Physics Dept, Mail Stop C-1600 Demo Office: (512) 471-5411
> The University of Texas at Austin Home Phone: (512) 264-1616
> Austin, Texas 78712-1081