Operational risk management and insurance

The Operational Risk Management and Insurance team, which is part of the Office of the Chief Risk Officer, works with staff to identify and mitigate various risks that arise as part of the University of Ottawa’s daily operations. The team also champions a risk-intelligent culture and strategically manages the University of Ottawa’s insurance portfolio to safeguard the University’s ongoing safety, operations, and integrity.

Operational Risk Management

The University of Ottawa’s day-to-day activities encompass a wide range of complexities and risks. The operational risk management function focuses on identifying and mitigating risks arising from daily business activities, processes, systems, and personnel. We consult with staff and provide the support they need to identify, analyze, and manage the risks in a manner consistent with the University of Ottawa’s risk tolerance.

To not only effectively manage and mitigate risks, but also foster a strong, risk-aware culture, we emphasize proactive risk management, engage stakeholders in the preventative measures that resources allow, and promote an understanding of the nuanced role of insurance in transferring and absorbing financial risks.

This integrated, multifaceted strategy ensures that the University of Ottawa is not only prepared for current risks, but also resilient when presented with future challenges. Through these combined efforts, the University of Ottawa maintains its commitment to safety, integrity, and sustainable success in all its operations.


Insurance is a critical tool in Operational Risk Management: it serves to transfer certain risks from the organization to an insurance provider. Here’s how insurance functions within the framework of operational risk management:

  • Necessity of insurance: At the University of Ottawa, our insurance program is a vital component of our comprehensive risk management strategy, providing a robust defence against potential financial losses from unexpected events. Insurance is not only indispensable for business continuity, but also fundamental to our ability to navigate uncertainties with confidence.
  • Reactive nature of insurance: Insurance acts as a reactive mechanism within our risk management portfolio, offering financial restitution after incidents occur rather than serving as a preventative measure. It complements, but does not replace, the proactive steps taken to minimize risk exposure. Our risk management practices focus on a proactive approach to identify, assess, and control potential threats, while insurance acts as a financial backup when unforeseen events happen. This dual strategy underscores the importance of a balanced risk management approach in which insurance plays its part in the broader framework of safeguarding the University’s operations and assets.
  • Understanding coverage limits: At the University of Ottawa, we acknowledge that while insurance is a critical component of our risk management strategy, it is not a catch-all solution. Insurance functions to minimize the economic impact of incidents. It is important to recognize that insurance has boundaries: not every loss is insurable due to exclusions, policy limits, or the cost to insure. Our risk management team is committed to helping staff understand the intricacies of these limitations and navigate the specifics of policy terms. This helps ensure that everyone is well-informed about the extent to which insurance can protect against financial risks, promoting a culture of preparedness where the University is safeguarded as much as possible within the scope of our insurance program.

How can we help?

We are committed to supporting staff at the University of Ottawa to effectively manage and mitigate risk. Please check out our FAQs, and if you have any questions or requests, please send us an email.


Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled answers to some of the top questions that our department answers every day. If you can’t find the answer to your general insurance question here, please send us an email at [email protected].