The state of Montana Risk Management & Tort Defense Division (RMTDD) administers a cost effective and comprehensive property/casualty insurance program for state agencies and universities. The RMTDD insures the state’s risks through a combination of commercial and self-insurance programs. They work to investigate, analyze, evaluate and resolve claims on behalf of their client agencies.

The RMTDD requires completion of the official Report of Incident form within 24 hours for any catastrophic property loss (large fire, flood, hail incidents), vehicle accident, data incident or other loss that involves a fatality or bodily injury to non-faculty & staff. All other incidents that occur, or are likely to result in damage or loss to MSU must be reported to MSU Safety & Risk Management (SRM) within five business days. Reportable incidents include (but are not limited to) property damage, vehicle accidents, injuries to others not faculty or staff, and cyber/data security incidents. Incidents that are not reported promptly might result in the claim being denied and your department responsible for the loss. The Report of Incident should be completed even if you initially consider the incident minor or no/low cost. This helps to prevent future incidents before they subsequently become more serious, and is a way to identify potential causal factors associated with claims.

The Report of Incident is a multi-purpose form with different sections for property claims, vehicle accidents, injury to non-MSU faculty or staff (third parties who can be visitors, guests or students) and cyber/data security/other. Complete the first section and the section that is relevant to the incident you are reporting, then sign (digital signature OK) and date it and send it to SRM for processing as a potential insurance claim. Do not send reports directly to the state.

It is essential that SRM is notified as quickly as possible especially with water or smoke damage. The RMTDD may be able to salvage damaged property including water-soaked computer equipment and documents by promptly arranging for the services of qualified property conservation firms. Quick action is necessary for salvage efforts to succeed. Claim reimbursement may not be approved for damaged items that may have otherwise been salvaged if not for a delay in reporting. 

  • Immediately report all vehicle accidents to the appropriate jurisdiction. Ensure that you obtain the contact and insurance information of the other party involved and collect contact information from all witnesses to the incident. It is important to obtain the official police report that pertains to the incident and forward it to insurance@montana.edu
  • An employee who is involved in an accident while conducting MSU business must report it to his/her supervisor by the end of that workday or a soon as practically possible. If the MSU driver is at fault, the responsible department will be charged the applicable deductible of $250/$500 for repair of the vehicle.
  • The MSU employee with most direct knowledge of the incident must complete, sign and submit a state Report of Incident within five days (within 24 hours for catastrophic incidents) of the incident. Email the report to insurance@montana.edu.
  • The immediate supervisor must investigate to determine the cause of the incident and take preventative action to help prevent reoccurrence. Contact SRM if you need assistance.
  • The MSU department must prepare a list of all damaged property and anticipated repairs and costs, to include make, model and serial number when applicable.
  • The RMTDD will assign a claim number, which must be referenced on all correspondence, including the subject line of emails and on internal invoices (e.g., computers).
  • An independent adjustor may be assigned to the claim to conduct an on-site investigation and manage the claims process.
  • The MSU department will work with the adjustor and/or the RMTDD claims specialist to determine whether replacement cost or repair cost will be most cost-effective prior to replacing or repairing damaged items.
  • Repairs or replacements that are outside of approved expenditures, or are unrelated to the loss will likely not be reimbursed. The RMTDD replaces damaged property with items of like, kind and quality; they do not pay for upgrades.
  • Payment of all invoices is to be drawn on the responsible department’s budget. The department then sends copies of invoices to either the adjustor or the RMTDD claims specialist. Some invoices may be paid directly to the vendors by the RMTDD.
  • If copiers are damaged, replacement should be per the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) contract. A DPO will be required if not a lease; purchase requisition/quote if it is leased – contact Procurement Services to assist as needed.

The deductible for property claims is $1,000 and in most cases payable by the MSU department. Several departments could be involved if a series of losses arose out of a single event (e.g., earthquake, hailstorm) which can result in damage crossing many departments and would be considered one incident. In those cases, the $1,000 deductible will be applied once to cover the entire claim.

Any incident or accident involving an MSU owned, leased, or loaned vehicle that results in damage to MSU vehicles, vehicles not owned by MSU, or injury to those other than MSU faculty or staff, requires that a Report of Incident be filed within five days (within 24 hours in case of serious injury or fatality). The deductible for state vehicles with comp/collision coverage is either $250/$500 and is payable by the MSU department. There is no deductible for rented vehicles as the rentals have different coverage.

Once third-party liability incidents are reported to SRM the reporting department has very little, if any, direct contact with the individual afterwards. If individuals you have filed a report for contact you directly, please refer them to the SRM Insurance Manager. In any situation, university employees should not voluntarily assume liability or agree to compensate third parties for the loss.

For more information, contact the Insurance Manager with MSU Safety & Risk Management at (406) 994-6888 or insurance@montana.edu.

REVISION 06.29.2018