Insurance Trend Update: Do Colleges and Universities Have Liability Exposures for Off-Campus Housing?

April 15, 2015

Originally published on the The Insurance Risk Manager blog by Mary-Pat Cormier.

The U.S. Fire Administration records 86 percent of campus-related fire fatalities since 2000 occurred in off-campus housing. Common factors in these fires are: lack of automatic fire sprinklers; missing or disabled smoke alarms; careless disposal of smoking materials; impaired judgment from alcohol consumption; and fires originating on upholstered furniture. Fires are not the only perils that may raise liability concerns: filthy units; pest infestations; electrical problems; illegal bedrooms in basement or attic spaces; inadequate ingress/egress; broken locks; blocked exits; and heating and plumbing issues are all common complaints. Another, rampant overcrowding, is commonplace in the nation’s college neighborhoods.

Please join Mary-Pat Cormier (Partner, Bowditch & Dewey) and Akiyo Fujii (Associate General Counsel, Tufts University) at URMIA’s Northeast Regional Conference on April 21.  Their informative discussion will examine evolving theories of liability against colleges & universities for damages arising in off-campus housing. With an emphasis on practical examples, this session will also look at risk mitigation strategies, including an insurance framework to address the exposures.

If you cannot attend the conference, but would like a copy of Mary-Pat’s and Akiyo’s presentation, please contact Mary-Pat at