Commercial Property

The Risk Financing and Insurance department administers a Master Property Insurance Program providing general purpose insurance for financial loss resulting from loss or damage to University owned buildings and their contents on Harvard's U.S. campuses. The Program also extends coverage for loss or damage to ordinary contents located at leased premises for which written confirmation (evidence) of insurance has been issued by the Department. Additionally, the Program provides reimbursement of qualifying expenses incurred to maintain or expedite recovery of normal operations following loss or damage to property insured under the Program.  

The Master Property Insurance Program is complemented by several other insurance programs providing customized insurance for specific types of property and property subject to an elevated risk of loss1:

  • The Master Builders Risk Insurance program insuring capital (construction) projects;
  • The Collections and Exhibitions Insurance Program  insuring specific library, museum and herbaria collections and exhibition spaces, including materials on loan to/from the University;
  • The Goods and Equipment in Transit Insurance Program insuring Harvard property while being shipped/transported outside of a Harvard campus;
  • The Mobile/Movable Property Insurance Program insuring Harvard owned or leased contents located in buildings not owned or managed by the University, property that is customarily stored and/or used outdoors, property that is regularly moving between different locations within the United States, and property that must be insured for a specific value other than replacement cost (e.g. required by a lease or loan agreement);
  • Various specialty programs insuring Harvard located property outside the United States

Property insured under one of these alternative programs would not be eligible for coverage under the Master Property Insurance Program.

Program Structure and Coverage

The Master Property Insurance Program is underwritten by a syndicate of insurance companies and stipulated through negotiated insurance contracts that define the terms of the insurance.  The contracts are broadly written to provide insurance coverage for property loss or damage due to fire, smoke, wind, water, lightning, theft, hurricane, flood, earthquake, acts of terrorism, and other similar perils.

The insurance afforded under the Program doesn’t apply to financial loss resulting from loss or damage to property which is expected or intended, arising from faulty workmanship, settling, corrosion, mysterious disappearance, due to pollution, mold or asbestos, or which may be prevented by prudent business practices such as wear and tear. The Master Property Insurance Program Coverage Summary provides more comprehensive details about applicable coverage terms, conditions and exclusions.

Property Insured. Property Harvard owns or is legally obligated to insure, including leased locations and non-owned buildings Harvard manages. Additionally, the general contents of insured buildings, including but not limited to furniture, fixtures, MEP machinery and systems (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), specialty/scientific equipment (typically related to or in support of research activities), and permanently installed improvements and betterments are also insured under the Program. NOTE: only property at the locations listed in the most recent version of the Harvard CAPS Building Data Report (i.e. Insured Locations) or for which Risk Financing and Insurance has issued written confirmation of insurance applicability are insured under the Program.

Individuals needing proof of coverage for a specific location should submit an Evidence of Property Insurance Request Form in the Online Risk Management Self Service Portal

Property Not Insured. The Program doesn’t provide insurance for:

  • Property of Harvard faculty, students, staff, and visitors, including the property of contractors and vendors;
  • Land, water, currency, money, precious metals, and motor vehicles;
  • Property located outside of the United States;
  • Property insured under one or more of the alternative property insurance programs described previously

Program Premiums/Cost

The Master Property Insurance Program premiums are allocated (based on the replacement values listed in the CAPS Building Data Report) and billed annually in quarterly installments to each Harvard TUB and affiliated entity with property insured under the Program. Details regarding the cost allocation methodology and the amount charged to each TUB and affiliated entity are included in the Budget Letter published by the Office of Financial Strategy and Planning. Additionally, each TUB and affiliated entity is responsible for payment of the $25,000 program deductible, which applies to each and every property damage claim. For locations or property not covered under the Master Property Program (or under any of the alternative programs) the relevant TUB or department is entirely responsible for the financial impacts of any loss event.

Property Valuation

The valuation of the property impacted by a loss event will be determined as a part of the claim adjustment process. While it varies depending on the type of property, in general, the damaged property will be valued at the cost to repair, or if not repairable, the cost to replace or rebuild the property to like size, kind and quality. This is called Replacement Cost Valuation. In the event of a loss, success in negotiating a satisfactory financial recovery from the insurance company is directly dependent upon the completeness and quality of the information available to accurately establish the current value of the damaged or stolen University property. A complete inventory of business personal property (including pictures) should be maintained as well as any financial records which pertain to the property and business operations. DELAYS IN REPORTING A CLAIM IN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME AS WELL AS LACK OF DOCUMENTATION CAN LESSEN THE RECOVERABLE AMOUNT OR EVEN JEOPARDIZE RECOVERY COMPLETELY.

Claim Process

In the event of a loss you first should attempt to PRESERVE the remaining property to prevent further damage and for future inspection by the insurance company adjusters – PLEASE PROTECT AND RETAIN ANY DAMAGED PROPERTY AS THIS WILL NEED TO BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND THEN FOLLOW THE STEPS TO REPORT THE CLAIM. 

Next, you need to NOTIFY Risk Financing & Insurance within three days of your discovery of the damage to or theft of the property.  Notice of Loss using the Report of Property Loss Form is to be submitted through the Online Risk Management Self Service Portal

For each notice of loss that is submitted, all relevant and available information which identifies the building damage or damaged item(s) must be provided (e.g. make, model, serial number, description, age, and any other unique or identifying features) as well as documentation of the condition of the property prior to loss or damage, i.e. a detailed condition report including photographs (PICTURES SHOULD BE TAKEN TO ENSURE THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME) and, at times, a full inventory may need to be provided. In addition, any available documentation further supporting the value of the property will be relevant to support the insurance company’s determination of your loss.

The claims process can be time consuming and complex claims take a significant amount of effort, particularly if the loss involves costs arising from an interruption to your business operations. If it is anticipated there will be a cost impact to your business in any way due to delays to daily operations or extra expenses incurred until the property is restored, you will also need to definitively document these costs too. Thus, for large complicated property losses, particularly those that involve business interruption, it is important an individual be designated to support our claim adjusters with information gathering, loss documentation and site inspections to facilitate the claims adjustment process.

 Master Property Insurance Program Coverage Summary (PIN required)

(1) property insurance for the DoubleTree Suites Boston-Cambridge facility is provided under a separate package developed specifically for that operation.