Five College Risk Management

Student Internships and Insurance

Undergraduate Internships and Five College Risk Management – Insurance

All of the colleges participating in the Five College Risk Management Program (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith) support their students’ participation in internships with a variety of non-profit organizations and for-profit companies.

Insurance for Students in Internships

Liability Insurance

The college will extend its liability insurance to its students at host institutions when students are in a college- sponsored internship (i.e., an internship that meets at least one of the three criteria listed below) and the host institution or company requires such coverage by contract with the college (sponsoring institution). In consideration of the extension of its insurance to the student, the college will require a signed and completed Waiver of Liability (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith). Further, the college may not agree to any contract that releases the host institution or company from its liability for its negligence or deliberate acts. The college is required to submit all such requests to Risk Management for approval; please allow sufficient time to process your request. See Process below on how to request this coverage.

Health Insurance

All college students are required to carry health insurance when enrolled in an institution in the State of Massachusetts; therefore, we expect that all our students will have health insurance. Students who have graduated and who have insurance under the college’s health insurance plan will be covered only until August 15th of the year in which they graduated; they are responsible for making other arrangements for coverage after that date.

Travel Accident and Medical Evacuation

All students who are traveling on a college sponsored program and are more than 100 miles from their legal residence (usually their home address) are covered by the college’s Travel Accident and Medical Evacuation Insurance. Sponsored internships are considered to be a college sponsored program. Students who have purchased the college’s health insurance are also covered for medical evacuation by that policy.

Workers Compensation

Unless the student is receiving wages through the college’s payroll system or work-study program, the college cannot cover the student under its workers’ compensation insurance policy. Gifts, grants and stipends for internships at other institutions or companies are not considered to be wages.

Sponsored Internships

The colleges consider an Internship at a third party organization or company (Host) to be “College Sponsored” when they meet one of following criteria:

  1. Academic Credit is Given for the Internship

    It is very unusual for an undergraduate to receive academic credit for an internship unless the internship is directly connected to a course, e.g., a teaching practicum. Any student receiving direct academic credit for an internship is automatically covered under the college’s liability insurance policies.

    In some cases, students may arrange in advance with a professor to obtain academic credit in connection with an internship by completing papers or other research or academic work upon return to campus from the internship or to complete such academic work during the internship if the internship is during the school term. If the college agrees in writing to an advance arrangement for credit for an internship we consider the internship to be sponsored by the college and will cover the student under the college’s liability insurance policies if required by the Host.

  2. The College Pays the Student a Stipend or Wages

    A student may be given a stipend for the internship if the internship is unpaid by the host institution. Stipend amounts will vary and are dependent upon many factors.  Students who are given a stipend are NOT considered to be employees of the College unless they are working at the College. If the college pays the student a stipend for an internship we consider the internship to be sponsored by the college and will cover the student under the college’s liability insurance policies if required in writing by the Host.

    In limited circumstances, with only local community service organizations or community based learning programs, the student may be paid for services at the host organization through the college’s work-study program. In such instances, the student is insured by the college as any other temporary, casual employee or student worker.
  3. The College Arranges the Internship

    The college may arrange an internship by “matching” students to employers; or it may advise a student to participate in a specific internship and take active steps to place the student in the internship. Arrangement of an internship is defined by the following characteristics:  there must be (1) identification of the internship possibility by the College; (2) advice to the student regarding the internship opportunity; and (3) the college must take active steps to enroll or place the student in the internship.

All students who participate in a sponsored internship are expected to sign a waiver and release in favor of the sponsoring institution.

Sponsorship guidelines do not apply to the Smith School for Social Work which is a graduate program. All SSW internships are for academic credit and other coverages may be provided.

Internships at the College

All internships offered by our participating colleges are paid internships. Students participating in a college internship are insured under the college’s policies as any other non-benefited employee (i.e., the student is not eligible for the college’s employee health insurance but must rely on their own health insurance).

Non-Sponsored Internships

Many, if not most, student internships are not college sponsored. The host intuition is responsible to pay the student for his or her wages (if it is a paid internship), supervise the student’s work and activities and assume responsibility for the student while he or she is on the premises as for any other employee.

Most internships are posted on electronic bulletin boards which the college does not directly control – such postings are not considered to be “arranging” an internship for the student. Students who arrange their internships without any direct support from the college (as defined above), who receive no financial support and/or who do not receive or reasonably anticipate academic credit are not “sponsored” by the institution.  Students participating in non-sponsored internships are not eligible to be covered by college insurance, and should reasonably expect to be included under the employer’s policies.

Process for Students Requesting Insurance Coverage for a Sponsored Internship (this may also called an Insurance Waiver by the Host)

  1. The internship Host, i.e., the company or organization with whom you are interning, must request in writing (by contract, letter or form) that the college confirm that you (the student) are covered by the college’s general liability insurance policy. Smith students follow this process. All other students should give this form to the office that is sponsoring your internship (i.e., the office is paying you a stipend, has arranged the internship on your behalf or is arranging academic credit for the internship) and have them send it to Risk Management.

  2. The Sponsoring Office must confirm that your internship is sponsored. This can be done by e-mail or form accompanying the Host request for coverage.

  3. Risk Management will advise you if the Host request for insurance coverage can be met. If so, you will be asked to complete, sign and return a Waiver (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith). Upon receipt of the waiver, Risk Management will forward the necessary insurance confirmation to the Host and copy you and the Sponsoring Office on the communication. All communications will be done electronically and in English. International, non-English requests may not be accommodated.

Process for Sponsoring Offices Requesting Insurance Coverage for Students for a Sponsored Internship

  1. Forward the written request (contract, letter or form) from the Host that requires a college signature confirming that its insurance covers the student participating in the internship to Risk Management. Electronic transmission (e-mail) of scanned documents is preferred. Faxes may be rejected as they are often unreadable.
  2. Confirm to Risk Management that the internship is sponsored by your office. Please include the reason why the internship is sponsored (e.g., stipend, arrangement or academic credit).
  3. Risk Management will review the documents and advise you and the student if the college’s insurance may be extended. Please note, we cannot cover students for workers compensation insurance at third party organizations. If the insurance is extended, we will obtain a signed waiver from the student. Upon receipt of the signed waiver, Risk Management will forward the signed documents to the Host with copies to you and the student. 

This process may vary from time to time depending upon the specifics of the request.

Smith College Process

  1. Complete and sign the form: Request to Extend College Insurance to Intern.
  2. Complete and sign the required Waiver.
  3. Scan these two documents together with the Host Form (Insurance Waiver or request for coverage) and e-mail the file to Risk Management.
  4. If the Risk Management Office approves the insurance extension, you will be notified by the receipt of the signed form, or you will receive an e-mail advising that the form cannot be signed.

Please allow at least five (5) work days for processing. Incomplete files will not be processed. Not all Host forms may be approved. Only one internship may be submitted per form.