10.01 Liability Protection


To notify the University community of liability protection provided by the State of Iowa.

Policy Statements

  • The University of Northern Iowa, an institution of higher education under the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, is subject to the Iowa Tort Claims Act (Iowa Code chapter 669). In general, under the Act, claims for monetary damages may be filed against the State or a State employee because of property damage or loss, or personal injury or death, caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a State employee acting within the scope of employment. Certain claims are specifically excluded, as provided by Iowa Code section 669.14.
  • Under the Act, the State of Iowa must defend any employee of the State, and, except in cases of willful and wanton acts, omissions, or malfeasance in office, hold harmless and indemnify the employee against any tort claim on account of damages allegedly caused by an act or omission of the employee acting within the scope of the employee’s office or employment. For purposes of the Act, State employees include faculty, staff, or other individuals acting on behalf of the University in a permanent, temporary, or full- or part-time position, whether compensated or uncompensated. The Act does not provide liability protection for a contractor doing business with the University.
  • The University of Northern Iowa, as a general practice, does not purchase commercial liability insurance. The University generally relies on statutory protection for claims against the University, its employees, and its agents. The University may purchase liability insurance or participate in self-insured liability pooling or other arrangements for motor vehicle liability or other liability if required or deemed appropriate by statute, contract, or special circumstance.


Tort  claims are handled as provided in Chapter 669, Iowa Tort Claims Act, by the State Attorney General’s Office. Under the provisions of a 28E Agreement with other state agencies, the University has authority to investigate and resolve certain small tort claims for settlements less than $5,000. Such a  small tort claim must be filed through the State before resolution at the University level. The University department responsible for such a claim being filed typically will be charged for any related settlement payment.

Claims should be referred to the UNI Director of Risk Management. Similarly, in the event of a motor vehicle accident while conducting University business, the accident must be reported to the UNI Director of Risk Management office (see UNI policy 9.63 Motor Vehicle Usage).

Additional information or assistance:

Requests for certificates regarding liability insurance and self-insurance programs, tort claim forms, insurance or other related liability or tort claim information: UNI Director of Risk Management , or University Counsel.

Office of University Counsel approved, December 1999
Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations (Last reviewed, December 2019) President’s Cabinet approved March 2000