5 St Helen's Place, London, EC3A 6AB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7847 8670

About Us

Mutual Ownership and Holdings

UMAL is a mutual organisation owned and controlled by its Member institutions – all of which have an equal vote in the affairs of the company.  It is a discretionary mutual which allows the Board, drawn from the Membership, to consider losses including those which traditional insurers would not pay.

UMAL is part of the collaborative purchasing agenda and Membership means that Member Universities and Colleges are effectively part of a powerful buying consortium.

The basis of UMAL is that it provides cover for claims for its individual members. It then places insurance against large losses into the traditional insurance and reinsurance market accessing over 25 insurers and reinsurers. All insurers supporting the mutual are no less than ‘A’ rated and exposure to insurer failure is diluted by the numbers participating. Reliance on one insurer is also eradicated.

The mutual has been able to sustain its competitive pricing for all Members and Member retention is extremely high year on year. All reserves and capital are held on behalf of Members and for their benefit. There is no exposure to an additional call of funds, indeed the constitution does not allow for such; the mutual’s capacity to pay claims is based on reserves (cash) and insurance. Reserves held are considerably in excess of exposure.  The company auditors are Moore Stephens; Coutts are the bankers.

Contracting Authorities (FE and HE) can join UMAL without going out to competitive tender via OJEU, or a framework agreement, under the Teckal Exemption. This is due to the fact that UMAL is owned and controlled by its Members all of which are Contracting Authorities, is managed by a Board of its Members, and can demonstrate that it meets the ‘control test’ which is fundamental to the exemption.

Operating solely in the best interests of its Members, designed to be both a time and cost efficient facility where all funds are utilised for the benefit of Members the accumulated surpluses are either returned to Members or retained as Members funds. All classes of cover are offered in a managed packaged solution, ranging from material damage and business interruption (including terrorism) to liability covers, including professional indemnity and clinical trials. Other classes include personal accident and travel with employers’ liability insurance arranged in partnership with insurers. Comprehensive claims handling and risk survey services are included.

Many of the services that would entail additional costs for Universities or Colleges  in a traditional insurance placement, are included as standard in the UMAL package. All of our risk support services are designed to assist Members in terms of containing/reducing cost by understanding and improving risk.

Over 150 FE and HE institutions participate in UMAL for 2014-2015. We invite institutions considering the mutual to approach any of these for a reference.

Hasilwood Management Services Ltd (HMSL), a professional insurance intermediary – which is owned by UMAL – operates alongside UMAL and has access to the entire insurance market; both are Financial Conduct Authority registered.

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Benefits of UMAL

The benefits of using UMAL to procure cover and insurance services include:

  • Timescales are reduced to the absolute minimum from both a Member’s and prospective Member’s position as there is no need to run an OJEU or Framework process.
  • UMAL Members have direct access to underwriters and claims personnel without the need to access insurers via a broker.
  • Best value is obtained in speed and efficiency of service delivery, consistent provision of the broadest coverage at the most advantageous pricing and transparency with no hidden charges.
  • UMAL is owned by the Sector and self-manages the pool of Members’ funds retained for possible claims, ensuring Members retain control of cover provision, underwriting and claims data, costs and pricing.
  • All classes of cover are available in a packaged solution, ranging from material damage and business interruption including terrorism, to liability covers, including professional indemnity and clinical trials.
  • Surplus profits generated in indemnity years are held for the benefit of Members and may be returned to Members, rather than being paid to shareholders in the commercial insurance market.
  • UMAL’s philosophy is one of retaining the benefits of robust risk management practices within Member institutions by collective self funding and administering claims within the group pool.
  • UMAL obtain preferential rates and unmatched cover improvements through their purchasing power.
  • Direct access to the mutual without the need to appoint an insurance broker.
  • HMSL arrange special category insurances with the added benefit of group purchase discounts.
  • Comprehensive range of added value services are included without additional administration charges to support Members such as:
    • full claims service
    • electronic payment of claims
    • technical risk surveys
    • business continuity planning
    • travellers’ advice lines
    • access to the insurance market for unusual risks

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Our Cover

We offer a packaged solution of coverage with categories ranging from material damage and business interruption (including terrorism) to liability covers, including public liability, clinical trials and medical malpractice.

Other classes include personal accident and travel, giving comprehensive and seamless protection. With employers’ liability insurance, motor and specialist insurances arranged through our subsidiary company, Hasilwood Management Services Ltd, our capability to provide protection is unique. Our wordings are both bespoke to the mutual and responsive to the risks and needs specifically relative to Higher Education institutions. Our Member institutions select deductibles which suit their own risk appetite, as well as limits of indemnity which reflect their individual risk profiles.

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The bespoke services we provide include

  • Cover: Extent and Limits – Broad wordings and limits of cover are designed for FEI/HEI exposures and improved upon year on year to the benefit of the Members. Feedback in recent tender experience across the Sector indicates that few insurers are able or willing to respond to tenders for individual Colleges and Universities, or to provide an adequate limit of property damage and business interruption cover for major institutions. (UMAL provides £400M per Member combined property damage/business interruption cover).
  • Business Continuity Management – Free ‘health check’ from Jermyn Consulting.
  • Business Interruption Self Assessment – This assists Members to accurately calculate business interruption values at risk
  • Claims Handling/Investigation – No additional charges, all costs being included in Members’ annual Contribution. Any recovery potential is always explored and uninsured loss recovery is undertaken by UMAL benefitting both the Member and the mutual.
  • Experts in specialist HE/FE areas of claim are engaged automatically when it is appropriate to defend our Members.
  • Health and Safety/Property Loss Control Advice – This is provided as part of the UMAL package by our Technical Risk Surveyor. Surveys are carried out at regular intervals and Members have access to this expertise on an ‘as and when needed’ basis.
  • Travel and Security Advice – UMAL’s travel cover, in contrast to other providers, does not exclude any territory in the world. Control Risks, a leading UK security consultancy, provides high quality advice to protect institutions, their employees and students to risk-manage overseas trips.In the event of problems, a specialist medical emergency service together with Control Risks provide a comprehensive support service to travellers and the institution.
  • Service Standards – UMAL prides itself on the level of its service. Informal feedback from a number of Sector benchmarking exercises consistently scores UMAL’s service as ‘first class’ or ‘five star’.
  • The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) Affiliate Membership – This allows Members to participate in IRM events, to network and to access risk management initiatives and best practice with other risk professionals from across industry and commerce.

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The Teckal Exemption

The ‘Teckal’ exemption is named after a case of Teckal SrL v Commune di Viano & Azienda Gas (1999). An exemption from the normal application of the Public Contract Regulations 2006 was established where contracting authorities award contracts to an “in house” provider.

The test was further clarified by the Supreme Court in the case of Brent London Borough Council and other v Risk Management Partners Limited.

This has more recently been included in the changes to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, Regulation 12 refers. In order for the exemption to apply there are requirements for a ‘control’ test and a ‘function’ test to be met.

UMAL meets these tests in that:

  • UMAL Members which are themselves contracting authorities jointly exercise control over UMAL
  • The majority of UMAL’s directors are employed by contracting authority Members and they represent all the Members in that their appointments have been subject to eligible Members vote
  • UMAL does not benefit from any private investment

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