The MJ Sorority Insurance Program is designed to provide comprehensive coverage to owned property that is currently housing chapter members. Any leased properties must be assessed on a case by case basis to determine coverage eligibility.
Our current policies presume third party tenants have their own property insurance coverage, which should be recorded in conjunction with the executed lease agreement.
To assess continued coverage eligibility under the your insurance policy, MJ Sorority needs to have a copy of the current lease agreement attached to the property in question. Reviewing your lease agreement will provide us with the necessary information to determine continued eligibility under the current insurance program.
In addition to a copy of the Lease Agreement, we will need to determine if the following risk management guidelines are in place:
Tenant is a single sex organization: ___ Yes ___ No
Adult employee/supervisor is living on the premises: ___ Yes ___ No
Open Flames are prohibited ___ Yes ___ No
Alcohol is prohibited ___ Yes ___ No
Property Manager hired to oversee property ___ Yes ___ No
Also, please provide the following information:
- How long has this location been rented to a third party?
- When does the lease term end?
- What are the future plans for this property and when? (e.g. sell, demolish, rent, house chapter members)
If you have a leased property, please provide your Client Executive with the information requested above.
As winter arrives, it is important that we consider the potential of freeze claims, especially during breaks for the upcoming holidays. Preventing frozen pipes is probably the most important consideration over the winter breaks, but closing the chapter house before Thanksgiving and winter breaks involves several additional tasks to ensure that everything is in order and secure. Here’s a checklist we’ve developed to help:
- Schedule a house-wide cleaning. Make sure all common areas are clean and tidy, and that all personal belongings are removed from shared spaces.
- Unplug all non-essential appliances. This includes electronics, lamps, and small kitchen appliances.
- Keep the heat on. Set the thermostat at or above 60 degrees during breaks to ensure the pipes don’t freeze.
- Dispose of perishable items in the kitchen.
- Close all windows and doors securely. This will help to keep out pests and drafts.
- Lock all doors and windows. Make sure all windows and doors are locked.
- Notify the police and fire department that the house will be vacant. This will help to ensure that they are aware of the situation in case of an emergency.
During the break:
- Have someone check on the house regularly.
- Shovel snow and ice from the sidewalks and walkways. This will help to prevent slips and falls.
- Clear any fallen branches or other debris from the yard. This will help to prevent damage to the house or property.
- Check for any leaks or damage to the house. Contact Heather Cox, MJ’s Claims Service Manager, if you notice any damage.
- Turn up the thermostat and let the house warm up.
- Leave a list of emergency contact information in a visible location. This could include the names and phone numbers of the House Corporation President, house director, and local police and fire department.
- Consider having a professional plumber winterize the house for longer breaks. This will help to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Consider installing a water detection/heat monitoring system. Learn more here.
- Review our resource on preventing frozen pipes. Be prepared before cold temperatures arrive by reviewing our resource on preventing frozen pipes in the first place.
Review and implement the following steps as needed.
- Turn on headlights while in a parking garage (during daytime too) to reduce the risk of an accident and to better see people and other cars.
- Park in areas that are well lit.
- Refrain from walking in the middle of the lane in a parking garage, do not text while walking, and make use of marked crosswalks.
- If walking by yourself, get off your cell phone.
- Drivers entering a parking lot keep an eye on a vacant spot and often neglect to watch for other drivers and pedestrians who are on the move.
- While backing out of a parking space in a parking garage, blind zones created by vehicles parked alongside the spot obstruct the driver’s vision.
- Traffic laws aren’t enforceable in parking lots, which can create reckless driving and confusion.
- One thinks that being on the phone is safe because the person on the other line can call 911, but that rarely works out.
- Chatting can distract you; it’s better to be aware of your surroundings.
- If walking alone, hold your cell phone and be ready to make an emergency call.
- Many phones now have a button on the screen to dial 911 immediately.
- Go one step further and preset one of the buttons on your phone to call the emergency number.
- Look underneath your car before approaching it in a parking garage or lot at night.
- If you return to your car and see that a van is parked right next to the driver’s side, enter through the passenger side.
- Predators often use vans and will disguise it as a family car, even using “Baby on Board” decals.
- If you return to your car and it has a flat tire, back away, return to wherever you came from (restaurant, store, etc), and call for help.
- Once assistance arrives, approach your car. If someone comes up to you and wants to offer help, politely say, “No thank you.”
- When you are checking in to a hotel room, ask the front desk staff to write your room number down privately so that no one hears what your room is. Your room number should be your business only.
- Before entering your hotel room, make sure no one is lingering in the hallway.
- Always immediately lock your hotel room door after you enter.
- When traveling, do not walk with your map in your hand. It is a dead giveaway that you are a tourist. Therefore, you are an easy target.
- If you call for room service, and you get a knock on your door, do not immediately open. Ask: “Who is it?” Make the person on the other side of the door tell you who they are before you open it.
- When asking for directions and someone offers to show you the way by having you follow them, do not go. Just ask for them to point you in the right direction.
- If someone tries to grab you, twist your arm up and down and yell, “Stop!”
- Do anything you can to draw attention to yourself.
- If someone is chasing after you, run away in a zig-zag pattern which is known to exhaust attackers.
- Before booking a hotel, make sure that guest-room doors have multiple locks, including a deadbolt.
- Consider using a valet, or park your car in a well-lit area as close as possible to the hotel lobby.
- Before getting out of the car, scan the parking lot for any possible assailants. Lock the car and do not leave any valuables inside.
- In high-rise hotels, request a room on the third floor or above.
- If hotel personnel mention your room number during check-in or another time during your stay, ask for another room.
- Don’t enter an elevator if someone inside seems suspicious.
- Don’t open the room door to anyone without verification from the front desk, and do not use your name when answering the phone.
- Place all valuables in the in-room safe.
- Hang the “do not disturb” sign on the door and leave a light and radio or TV on when leaving.
- At night or any time there’s concern about safety, request a hotel staff member to accompany you to your room to inspect it.
As you enter the summer months there are several things that should be done to ensure the property is protected while vacant:
- Make sure preparations for any summer projects have been completed and a plan of action is in place.
- Check all rooms and areas of the house to determine if security deposits should be returned or kept to pay for damages. You should refer to the move-in form you used at the start of the year. You should have the tenant sign the form on move-out also.
- Clean all areas of the house and make sure all food has been removed or properly stored. Be sure all trash is removed from the property.
- All hallways should be cleared of debris, clutter, and\or furniture and all fire doors must be closed.
- Thermostats should be set to appropriate levels and hot water heater should set to “pilot” position, but not turned off. The boiler pump switches should be turned off for the summer.
- Unplug all appliances, open refrigerators and freezers and empty ice makers if they are unplugged.
- Secure and\or store all awards, composites, trophies, and any other valuables.
- The outside of the house should be cleaned, including making sure the gutters are clear (we would recommend a professional who is properly insured). Be especially aware of any combustibles that may be stored against the exterior of the house. This should be properly disposed of.
- Check interior and exterior lighting and all external doors to ensure proper security of the property and set any lighting timers to dusk to dawn setting.
- Ensure that all broken windows have been repaired and are locked and blinds\drapes are closed.
- All shrubbery should be trimmed to prevent easy hiding by anyone who may try to break in to the property. The landscaping should be properly maintained during the summer months.
- The university police and/or local police should be notified whether anyone should be or will be at the property during the summer. Ask them to patrol regularly if possible.
- An alumnus or responsible other party should have a key to access the facility if needed and check on the property at least weekly. Remember to disable resident, chapter members’, and employee key\swipe access and\or collect all keys from them. House corporation representative and\or house director, if applicable, should be the last people to leave the house.
- Discontinue all services not needed during break, including mail, newspapers, food deliveries, garbage, etc.
- Create and distribute list to house corporation members, chapter leadership, house director, if applicable, and headquarters contact the names and contact information for house corporation and chapter leadership, all staff members, important vendors and service providers, and appropriate emergency phone numbers.
We recommend that you complete a House Inventory Checklist and review it once a year (note about this resource: we have made this resource available in Excel because it has built-in formulas for easy manipulation and calculation. Once you click on the link, you can click on the download link in the upper righthand corner to edit your own version). For more information about the property coverage, please click here.
Use the Chapter House Self-Inspection checklist to review your property and life-safety risk management.
This guide from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, provides information on incorporating best practices and a prevention plan to help reduce the risks of slips, trips and falls at your business and on your premises.
This guide from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, provides step by step instructions on how to develop a fire safety plan for your building.
This guide from Travelers, the insurance company for MJ Sorority clients, provides information for property owners on liability regarding sidewalks.
The close-knit nature of sorority life can foster strong bonds among members, but it also creates an environment where contagious illnesses, like the flu and Covid-19, can easily spread, especially during the winter months. To maintain a healthy and thriving community, it’s crucial for sorority chapter houses to implement preventive measures.
The risk for infection can be reduced through a combination of actions. No single action provides complete protection, but a combined approach can help decrease the likelihood of transmission. To aid in pandemic contingency planning, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suggested the following steps that every employer can take to reduce the risk of exposure to pandemic influenza in their workplace, which also applies to our chapter facilities:
- People who are sick with an influenza-like illness (ILI) (fever plus at least cough or sore throat and possibly other symptoms like runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea) should stay home or in their rooms and keep away from others as much as possible, including avoiding travel, for at least 24 hours after fever is gone. (Fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.)
- Encourage employees and members to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or with hand sanitizer if there is no soap or water available. Also, encourage employees and members to avoid touching their noses, mouths, and eyes.
- Encourage employees and residents to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeves if tissues are not available. Employees and members should wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer after they cough, sneeze, or blow their noses.
- Employees should avoid close contact with their coworkers and residents. They should avoid shaking hands and always wash their hands after contact with others. Even if employees wear gloves, they should wash their hands upon removal of the gloves incase their hand(s) became contaminated during the removal process.
- Provide extra tissues and trash receptacles and a place to wash or disinfect hands for all guests, employees, and residents.
- Keep work surfaces, desks, computers, and other frequently touched surfaces clean. Use only disinfectants registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and follow all directions and safety precautions indicated on the label.
- Discourage employees and members from using other people’s phones, desks, laptops, or other tools and equipment.
- Minimize situations, such as in a meeting, where groups of people are crowded together. Use e-mail, phones, and text messages to communicate with each other. When meetings are necessary, avoid close contact by keeping a separation of at least 6 ft, where possible, and assure that there is proper ventilation in the meeting room.
- Reduce or eliminate unnecessary social interactions, which can be very effective in controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Reconsider all situations that permit or require employees, members, and visitors (including family members) to enter the facility. Chapters may want to consider restricting/eliminating guest visitation options during an influenza pandemic.
- Promote healthy lifestyles, including vaccination for seasonal flu and Covid, good nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation. A person’s overall health impacts their body’s immune system and can affect their ability to fight off, or recover from, an infectious disease.
- Encourage Rest and Self-Care: Emphasize the importance of self-care during the flu season. Encourage employees and members to prioritize sufficient sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and stay hydrated to boost their immune systems.
- Modify Social Events: Temporarily modify or limit social events that involve close contact during flu outbreaks. Consider virtual meetings or events as alternatives to prevent the rapid spread of the virus.
- Communication Strategy: Develop a clear and transparent communication strategy. Keep members informed about any flu cases within the chapter house while respecting privacy. Encourage an open dialogue to ensure that everyone feels comfortable reporting symptoms.
- Emergency Preparedness: Have an emergency plan in place in case of a flu outbreak. This should include protocols for seeking medical attention, communication channels, and strategies for supporting affected members.
Preventing virus outbreaks in a sorority chapter house requires a collaborative effort and a commitment to creating a healthy living environment. By implementing these proactive measures, sorority members can enjoy a vibrant and supportive community while minimizing the risk of contagious illnesses. Remember, the key is early education, open communication, and a collective dedication to the well-being of all members and employees.
More detailed planning information is available from OSHA in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic (OSHA 3327-02N). Information is also available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) at PandemicFlu.Gov. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a planning guide for small businesses.