Our structure
Under the rules and memorandum of association of UMAL, the mutual is owned by its Members, and its board is drawn primarily, though not exclusively, from the Membership. Each Member nominates a ‘Member representative’, who represents the Member institution and is entitled to vote on rules changes and at the AGM. The mutual entity, U.M.Association Limited, is a private company limited by guarantee without share capital.

Mutual Ownership and Holdings

We have no shareholders and the Members own the Mutual, essentially as custodians for their year of Membership. The rules and constitution of the association requires that the majority of directors are drawn from Members.

Our Member representatives

Each Member is represented by a Member representative, from whom the Mutual effectively takes its instructions and, in the event of a Member wishing to leave, their resignation.

Our financial dynamics and structure

UMAL collects ‘contributions’ (as opposed to premiums) from its Members and then retains a significant element of risk, primarily for attritional or predictable losses. The Association then buys reinsurance to protect its Members in excess of this retention, enabling it to pool risks and obtain significant purchasing advantages, in respect of both cover and pricing. Our commercial insurers/reinsurers provide identical cover to that given to Members by UMAL.

OJEU and the Teckal Exemption

In procurement parlance, any Higher Education Institute or Further Education College which is publicly funded is a contracting authority, and generally obliged to tender any contract in excess of a limit set down Europe-wide by the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). This limit is changed as procurement law changes.

However, the UK’s Supreme Court decision in 2011 confirmed the ‘Teckal Exemption’. This is named after the 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 can award contracts to an ‘in-house’ provider – which is what, in effect, UMAL is, given that it is owned by its Members.