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HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENTS


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The word "transfer" in the Insurance and Risk context means "to allow someone to assume your liability or chance of loss". Since the Diocese of Syracuse is Self-Insured which means that we bear the cost of losses as they arise, it is essential that all legal means of transfer be actively pursued.  The primary area of loss transfer which should be utilized by the Diocese is through the Hold Harmless Agreement and it is worthy of a thorough explanation.

The Hold Harmless Agreement is to be used when an outside organization or individual is using (renting or completing contracted work) Diocesan or Parish property. The law holds the owner of the property ultimately responsible for any accident and injury which occurs on their property.  Because the owner allows someone else to use and control the premises, does not waive this responsibility under the law.

The Self-Insurance Program does provide General Liability Coverage to protect the Diocese, Parish or any Parish Organization from loss arising from the ownership or use of their property.  The Self-Insurance Program did not anticipate assuming the liability and costs for the negligent acts of outside organizations using Diocesan or Parish Property.

If the outside organization does not have the financial ability to meet its obligations arising from a loss occurring on your premises while they have control of it, then the law holds the owner liable.  This goes back to the ultimate responsibility resting with the owner.

The contractual mechanism to respond to this problem is the Hold Harmless Agreement.  The Hold Harmless Agreement legally binds the outside organization to respond to its own negligent acts and assume the responsibility for extricating the Diocese or Parish from the legal entanglements arising from those negligent acts and based solely on the owners vicarious liability in owning the property.

The Hold Harmless Agreement without the financial ability to meet the agreed obligations is just a piece of paper.  This is why the Certificate of Insurance, with sufficient limits, is required to accompany the Agreement.

Utilizing the Hold Harmless Agreement is not something new, or original with the Self-Insurance Program or the Diocese of Syracuse.  It is standard procedure with most commercial and business property owners.  We must supply these documents when we use the property of others.

We suggest that before any outside organization is allowed to use Diocesan property, a Hold Harmless Agreement is completed, signed and on file with a corresponding Certificate of Insurance.  The Diocese Hold Harmless Agreement is below for your inspection, review and downloadable for you to distribute to parties that may be asking to use your property.

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