Sector Focus: Insurance, and terrorism

March 29, 2018 4:11 PM

The insurer's angle

Responsibility is at the heart of insurance disputes, and a stark example is given by Luker Rowe Chartered Insurance Brokers' Peter Tilsed, who for 40 years, has specialised in the trade, av and events industry, recently examining the terrorism threat.

Who's liable? Is a key questions. I was at a stadium in Cardiff where they took the view that they should scan everyone but they didn't have enough staff to do it. People get there early, and outside each gate you have a thousand people all of a sudden. This ironically is an ideal terror target and possibly far worse than what could've happened in the stadium. Would organiser's be liable should an attack happen at this moment? Possibly. Injury to public and their own employees is a risk.

Tilsed advises organisers to do their own risk assessment, because prevention is better than cure. Insurance comes in when something goes wrong. Commercial insurance doesn't include terrorism, but while attacks were previously in city centres, now they're anywhere. It's changing all the time and so are the insurance implications. During [recent terror attack site] Borough Market, there was no actual damage. But, the terror attack could be the end of your business, aside from the human cost.

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The head of production

There is a lot of paper work before the festival is built, and this is crucial for insurance purposes, says Dave Steele, head of production, Isle of Wight Festival.

When Manchester happened your whole life changes. We got a call from promoters asking: What are we going to do?'. Never has an incident galvanised the industry more.

Organisers have the visitor experience to consider. You must assess plans, and ask if they are too onerous, or too weak? My initial counter terrorism strategy was lauded, but later I realised it was not specific enough, and the one critic I had was right. So we worked on a tighter plan.

At the Isle of Wight, we benefit by being on an island. The ferry port makes referencing people easier. On the mainland you can apply checks and have pinch points, and off site accreditation.

The style of terror attack is also changing. The London Bridge attack was a vehicular scenario, so on site at the festival every vehicle was searched, back doors opened. But we found people trying to get in without accreditation. The search opened up new avenues and benefits.

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The security specialist

Risk prevention strategies are changing in line with new terror methods. General manager of The Event & Exhibition Partnership Garry Jupp says: I'm realistic, we could make your event 100% secure, but you'd never get anyone in. Look at the whole cycle from opening to breakdown.

A 100% bag search may sound sensible, but when I asked a planner what he was looking for, he was unsure.

Remember, you're a customer, and the police are a supplier and they don't always have the right answer., they will give you a range of options, but they will come at a cost. They can't make you accept certain resources.”

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Tom Hall

Editor