Two leading insurance companies chat to Access about issues they manage for the events industry
Insurance is a hazy area for many in the events industry. It is often cloudy and confusing when it comes to insuring a festival and more importantly, how do you go about minimising the risk of insurance claims from an event? Access speaks to two event insurers to find out.
“Our initial business was with Audio Visual hire companies and we have been dealing with companies like them for over 25 years,” says Kyranjeet Sanghera, the marketing brand leader for Luker Rowe Insurance Brokers.
“We supply tailored insurance products to all types of organisers,” adds Chris Westwood, senior account manager at Worldwide Special Risks.
Both insurance companies work to provide a strong foundation for events and festivals all over the country by advising on the best course of action in situations that may seem daunting and troubling to the industry. Events can come under fire for not following correct protocols with policy areas such as environmental disasters, event cancellation and injuries, so the importance of insurance within the industry can never be understated.
“Due to our experience and contact with a range of insurance companies, we now provide annual cover to almost any company in the industry,” continues Sanghera. “We continued to grow through recommendations to other AV companies and those connected within the events sector, which has resulted in us having a wide range of clients throughout the industry.”
However, with insurance, it is hard to know exactly what these companies do unless you witness the difference they make first-hand. “Whether it be public liability, cancellation, including terrorism and, non-appearance and event property cover, we can meet the needs of any organiser,” says Westwood.
“We can cover the organiser and all the suppliers to the event too,” explains Sanghera. “From AV hirers, barrier suppliers, toilet providers, and lighting companies to power and generator supply. This covers their equipment and the liability insurance; almost anybody who needs a policy on an annual basis. There are specialist companies who arrange single event cover and we would normally recommend one of these if it is best for the client.”
Westwood adds: “We cover anything from a 40th birthday party to a multinational company’s annual conference, a school’s summer fete to an international superstar on a world tour.”
During the preparation leading up to an event, these insurance experts often deal with the backlash of providing insurance and advice to organisers. For the most part, the way to cover your back is right in front of your eyes.
“At the Event Production Show we hosted a seminar at Access All Areas’ Access Sessions called ‘Terms & Conditions: Why the small print is a big risk to your company’ because there are no standard terms throughout the industry,” explains Sanghera.
Organisers and event creators don’t necessarily pay attention to the small print when all the other factors of creating an event are more exciting. However the small print is evidently what organisers need to pay attention to.
“Failure to be fully aware of the risks or underestimating potential repercussions of something going wrong is a big issue,” says Westwood.
The biggest problem with providing insurance for events appears to be, by far the fact that event organisers often overlook the high probability of something going wrong, such as a cancellation or injuries that could occur to a visitor.
“We find clients make presumptions about their responsibilities, which don’t always match the written requirements,” says Sanghera.
However Luker Rowe assures Access that it is always happy to provide bespoke individual advice to clients. “We also find that companies do not have a specialist policy designed for their business and they therefore have gaps in cover. We can often arrange much wider cover at a similar premium to their existing policy.”
“A cancelled event can cripple businesses,” adds Westwood. “As well as on-going legal expenses, which can haunt companies for years because of an injury to a visitor. It’s an old adage, but if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to not have it.”
The small print
“We have settled a whole range of claims from a simple dropped screen to serious floods, substantial fires and expensive goods being damaged in transit,” explains Sanghera.
Westwood explains that one of their most interesting experiences affected hundreds of people worldwide from all professions.
“When the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, erupted in 2010, it caused travel chaos worldwide. International pop artists could no longer make it to their performances. Attendees as well as event equipment could no longer make it to events.”
Natural disasters are something no one can prepare for, along with the amount of damage or disruption they are going to cause. Environmental disasters can have a huge impact on the industry around the world. But companies and event organisers can help themselves by reading the small print and ensuring that the insurance they are buying will cover them in the event of a natural disaster occurring.
“Having to explain to prospective clients that if they do not obtain the correct insurance, it could be the closure of their business if something went wrong,” says Sanghera. “These are the challenges that push insurance providers to their wits end constantly. We aim to keep it simple and use our experience in the industry to explain everything to our clients.”
Westwood agrees saying: “It may seem a noticeably dull thing to have to consider when creating and directing your own event, especially when other areas you are planning will vary between the alcohol you want to supply or the musical acts you are trying to get on board, but people need to fully understand the benefits so that they don’t just focus on the cost.
“Most people just see the price, think it won’t happen to them, and take the gamble. It is viewed as something required in order to tick boxes, whereas it brings real benefits and security to a business.”
“Clients make presumptions about their responsibilities, which don’t always match the written requirements”
-Kyranjeet Sanghera, Luker Rowe Insurance Brokers
Due to the significant increase in festivals and other outdoor events over the past decade, Access is keen to know if the work-load has increased or whether the insurance broker business has become easier or more difficult as organisers seek help to manage a greater variety of events.
“We find the bigger events are getting more complex as they have more and more working parts and newer elements can add complications,” Westwood responds. “Therefore, they take up more of our time.
“To help with this we have recently introduced a buy-online system that allows clients to purchase cover quickly and efficiently so it leaves us more time to work on the more complex events,” says Westwood. But according to Sanghera,“the process is still the same for an event of any size.”
But the fear of losing money and damaging a reputation can all be saved with just one phonecall with these companies. Event organisers are risking it big time if they don’t consider the bigger picture. The insurance brokers we spoke to all suggest to check the T&Cs.
“Ensure all Health & Safety has been checked and complied with,” says Sanghera. “Speak to us for advice. Why would you not want to speak to a specialist?” Westwood adds: “Allow enough time to fully discuss and provide information about your event to ensure that the cover that is being received in a policy fully meets your needs.”
For these insurance brokers, the most significant factor they want organisers to take away from this conversation is that not everybody is the same.
Each event requires a different type of attention to ensure that they are safe for the company and the visitors, as well as being financially secure. So when it comes down to picking a policy, they need to know that it is the right one for them.
“All companies are not the same, we are a chartered Insurance Broker with highly experienced staff who understands the industry,“ explains Sanghera.
“We have many years of experiences in insuring events and this experience allows us to tailor policies to fit your exact needs,” adds Westwood. “However odd or unusual an element of your event is, you should discuss this with us. Not everything is insurable but it may well be more than you think, there is not one size that fits all.”
When it comes down to it, insurers are here to help assist you and save you money and panic. Luker Rowe and Worldwide Special Risks are both here to help and ensure that organisers and suppliers are protected against risk.
“All we need is a conversation to understand your needs and we will do the rest,” Sanghera concludes.