Mr Jon Apted, Partner of Munro Leys during his presentation at the 89th USP Council meeting in Suva.
The 89th Council Meeting of The University of the South Pacific (USP) commenced on Wednesday 6 November at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji.
In opening the Council meeting, the Pro-Chancellor and Chair, Mr Winston Thompson, welcomed the members and acknowledged them for attending the meeting. A minute of silence was also observed for those who have been associated with the council including Lily Vesikula, Secretary to the Council, Fulori Selai, Assistant Lecture of Education and Simon Tabuto from the Kiribati Campus, who have passed during the year.
The USP Council is the highest decision-making body that meets to discuss the affairs of the University. The meeting provides the members with a platform and opportunity to discuss a range of important issues that affect the University such as its strategy, learning, governance and accountability.
Following the introductions, the meeting then commenced with a workshop facilitated by the Assurance and Compliance Section of the University on the Risks and Responsibilities of Council members conducted by Mr Jon Apted of Munro Leys and the Directors & Officers and Employment Practices Liability Insurance presented by Mr Shaun Sellwood of Marsh.
Mrs Doras Traill, the Director Assurance Compliance USP, introduced the session by iterating that the workshop served only to provide a refresher to the members on the cover and protection of what is already in place at the University in terms of risk and assurance.
In his presentation Mr Apted emphasised the importance of liability under Fijian law by stating, “In Fiji, you can end up in court or might be stopped from leaving Fiji for a Corporation’s (alleged) misdeeds. If you are in the position of a “director” or “manager”; even if you do not know what your junior staff are doing; and even if the corporation has not been found guilty.”
Jon went further to explain “Fiduciary duties”, duties owed by someone in a recognised position of the trust and added that firstly the responsibility to act on good faith and secondly the duties to act with reasonable Care, Skill and Diligence.
“The duties of Good faith is that you must act in good faith in what you believe to be best interests of the University, must exercise powers for proper purpose and not extraneous purpose and must not surrender or place restriction on discretion to exercise powers in good faith and proper purpose,” said Apted.
Council members were also reminded of their Duties and Liability to Third Parties and were briefed on the Fijian Competition Commerce Commission Act 2010.
Mr Sellwood of Marsh then presented on the Directors & Officers and Employment Practices Liability Insurance. The presentation covered a number of key areas including: liability cover, exclusions, when to engage, material disclosures, claim, best practices, market conditions and future predictions.
Mr Shaun Sellwood, Broker Manager of Marsh during his presentation at the 89th USP Council meeting in Suva.
He emphasised that before entering into, renewing or altering a contract of insurance you have a duty to disclose all material facts to insurers and reminded members of the importance of completing the Individual Declaration Form.
“It is extremely important that the Individual Declaration Form is completed by all directors prior to the renewal of USP’s insurance cover. New directors should also fully complete the form prior to taking up their position.”
Following the workshop, members then proceeded with the Council meeting that will conclude on Thursday 7 November with a dinner hosted by the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts.
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