Contract Reviews

Our job is to keep the university financially safe. To that end, Risk Management performs contract review services for insurance terms and requirements in agreements, contracts, leases, RFPs and other written communications. Reviews are conducted from both the perspective of NIU as the insurance holder (what is required of NIU) and as the party requesting insurance of its vendors, lessees or other third parties.

General contract requirements of third-party vendors

The university can be exposed to risk when using contractors, consultants, service providers and other categories of vendors to provide goods or services; or when outside organizations and individuals use university premises and/or facilities. Our policy requires that these outside parties maintain liability, plus other types of insurance, as necessary to reasonably protect the university’s financial interests, and in amounts deemed adequate by us. To protect the university’s interests – and other parties as necessary – the university must receive a Certificate of Insurance (COI) before the start of any work and/or scheduled event, from each contractor, consultant, service provider or other vendor that receives a contract from the university. The COI from vendors must be in effect, with replacement COI provided at least thirty (30) days before the expiration of the existing COI, for the period the vendor is performing work for the university.

Standard insurance requirements are noted in the matrix below, though limits and other requirements are subject to change, depending on the proposed activity.

Description of Activity

Insurance Requirement

Low Risk

  • Activities must not expose NIU and third parties to harm
  • Any driving on campus must be incidental to the performance of the service
  • Examples: art shows, event planning, non-profit fundraising/awareness events, guest lectures/speakers, movie screenings, panel discussions, seminar or workshop facilitation and translation or interpretation services

In general, insurance requirements will not be established for such low-risk partners. Should the department or any procurement officer feel an activity exposes NIU, its students, faculty, staff, volunteers or participants to any type of loss, insurance requirements may be instigated and enforced after a risk review.

Standard Risk

  • Activities or services performed on campus or for NIU in general that carry medium or high risk of bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, third-party liability, etc.
  • Any vendor required to drive extensively on the property: delivering products/equipment, switching locations
  • Examples: appraisals, athletic rentals, business consulting, catering (no alcohol), day camps, delivery of goods and services, equipment repair, facilities use (no minors), Greek organization events, HVAC work, landscaping services, photography, large-scale professional speaking/colloquiums, recreational sports, research and theater productions

Vendor, at vendor's sole cost and expense, will insure its activities and the activities of its employees, agents and any individuals working on behalf of Vendor in connection with this Agreement and obtain, keep in force, and maintain insurance as follows:


Comprehensive or commercial general liability insurance, including bodily injury, third-party property damage and contractual liability, with minimum limits as follows:

(A) Each Occurrence


(B) Products/Completed Operations Aggregate


(C) Personal and Advertising Injury


(D) General Aggregate



Business automobile liability insurance for owned, non-owned, or hired automobiles with a combined single limit no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence for autos used in connection with this Agreement


Workers' compensation and employer's liability insurance in a form covering vendor's full liability under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, as amended from time to time, with limits of $500,000 per occurrence


Umbrella liability insurance with limits of $5,000,000; can be used in combination with other policies to meet requirements above

Specialty Risk

  • Activities expose vendor, university or third parties to risk potentially not covered under insurance terms in standard language
  • Activity may require a risk review to establish appropriate insurance language
  • New or emerging risk not yet regulated
  • Examples: activities involving minors, activities involving alcohol, professional services, large concerts, drone use, media services, financial services, pyrotechnic work, IT services, construction, environmental services, security services and extreme sports

These vendors are asked to carry the standard insurance requirements in addition to the specialty items specific to the activity or service.

Examples may include: information security/cyber liability insurance, media insurance, professional liability/errors and omissions insurance, UAV coverage, crime insurance, medical malpractice coverage, environmental liability coverage, aviation coverage, fine arts coverage, liquor liability and/or raised standard limits.

For more specific requirements, please contact Procurement Services or Risk Management.

The Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University (“Board”) shall be named an additional insured in the insurance policies mentioned above (where permitted by policy terms and conditions). These policies shall include a waiver of subrogation in favor of the Board. All policies shall be written with carriers acceptable to the university and shall apply on a primary and non-contributory basis over policies held by NIU.

Risk Management may determine that exceptions to the insurance limits are warranted after they’ve conducted their assessment. In cases where little or no risk is involved, they may decide that limits can be lowered or removed. Conversely, if they determine that more risk is involved, they may require additional types of coverage or raise the standard limits amount.