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The Claims Culture – A New Consideration For The UK Events Industry

The events industry in the UK is constantly reinventing itself; organisers are increasingly challenged to find new and exciting ways of entertaining clients. Corporate events represent a huge investment, from which most organisations are keen to a see a reasonable return from. The events industry is changing and so is society. There is a growing claims culture in the UK, so, now more than ever, there’s another consideration to add to the long list of prerequisites when organising an event: Insurance.

Organisers, protected by the right insurance, are in a position to handle the financial and legal consequences of most incidents with complete confidence. Event insurers have seen just about everything that can happen to cause problems before, during and even after an event. On many occasions a fire or bad weather has put client’s venue out of use, causing them to have to switch to another at the last minute; some have even had to cancel their event completely, which could have cost them thousands of pounds if they had not had the right insurance in place.

No-one can predict the future, but you can be prepared for it. It is the insurance industry’s role to react to the changing world and predict possible needs for cover ensuring that appropriate products are on the market. To meet this challenge, event insurers have improved their product offering an event insurance portfolio, which can be tailored to the needs of individual event organisers. It combines three core products: cancellation and abandonment, property damage, and public liability. Customers can choose from one or more of the core products or add optional extras such as travel insurance.

When taking out insurance organisers might find they are covered for risks that seem unlikely – until they actually happen. Take this example for instance; a large corporate function was severely disrupted because the date of the event clashed with a visit by President Bush that had been organised at short notice. Police cordoned off a sizable area that included the venue. Guests were not allowed in or out of the venue, so a curtailment and partial cancellation claim was paid to the event organiser.

Equipment and property, either the clients own or hired in, can also be covered against theft or damage. The example of projectors stolen from a crime conference demonstrates exactly why they should be. The projectors at the conference held in a London hotel were locked in a room whilst the delegates went to dinner. On their return to the conference to continue the session, they discovered the projectors had been stolen. Insurance covered the replacement value of the projectors.

When a visitor injures themselves at an event, they are increasingly likely to make a claim; organisers especially need to cover themselves against this by taking out sufficient public liability insurance. It is important organisers check for slipping and tripping hazards at the venue as a significant proportion of accident claims involve attendees, visitors or sub-contractors simply falling over.

Here are our top 10 insurance tips for event organisers:

1. Insure early – as soon as you are committed to the venue. This is to ensure maximum cover and best rates. Insurers can’t cover incidents that have already happened.

2. There is an opportunity to reduce your premium by carrying out a full risk management exercise.

3. Identify the susceptibility of your guests to be affected by disrupted transport. If this is likely, insurance may be needed to protect against any enforced reduced attendance at your event. For example, if most of your guests are flying in from overseas your event could be severely affected by an airport closure.

4. Ensure the site of the event is secure and all attendees, visitors, and sub-contractors are readily identifiable. Don’t rely on the venue to know who is walking into your event.

5. Check the venues for slipping and tripping hazards.

6. It is paramount that you negotiate and check your venue contract closely. Make sure you understand it as the terms can be beyond your normal legal obligations. Your venue will rarely provide you with the insurance cover you need.

7. Make sure you have adequate public liability insurance. Usually venues expect a public liability limit of indemnity of a minimum of £2million any one occurrence. Some venues require as much as £25million. Sub-contractors must have a similar limit.

8. Ensure your sub-contractors receive your terms and conditions so they are aware of their responsibilities.

9. Consult your legal department or lawyers when you issue your contract and terms and conditions, and when you sign your venue contract. Make sure you take out adequate insurance with a proven and acceptable event insurer.

10. Obtain the best cover you can afford; plan ahead to make sure you have enough money in the budget to get the best cover available to you.

This article was kindly contributed by Elizabeth Seeger of Specialist Event Insurers Insurex Expo-Sure
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