Your Guide to Event Insurance: Different types of event coverage and the questions you should ask.

Courtesy of Richard Fortin / Knox Insurance – Tour Cover (MCL Member)

Question: What’s the purpose of insurance for live events? How does event insurance work?

Answer: Everything you can imagine and more could go wrong at an event or outdoor festival site – from adverse weather, accidents involving staff or public, non-appearance of headliners, equipment failure and even criminal gangs on thieving trips.

Events and festivals big and small bring together crowds of people, often equivalent in size to anything from a small village to town, needing all the sustenance, utilities and other facilities of that community. Whether you’re a large venue, small club or anything in between inevitably, something somewhere is likely to go wrong.  

No matter the size or scope the considerations of event insurance to take into account are the same.

And that’s where the insurance sector comes in. Specialist brokers who can advise on the risk and what policies best suit the situation, with no one-size-fits-all insurance package – cover depends on the festival, the organizer, its history, the site and a lot of specialist knowledge.

These are 4 essential considerations for events:

1. General Liability Coverage: It may seem obvious but the place to start with your insurance is with the General Liability coverage. Not only will the venue where the Event is being held most likely require it but it is the cornerstone from which all other coverages are built.

Your General Liability protects you if you damage someone’s property or someone is hurt during your event. Your policy will cover the cost to repair damages as well as pay medical expenses and legal fees.

Key discussion points:

-How many people will be in attendance?

-What exact coverage and limits are required by the venue?

-What is the average age of the patrons?

-Is the event held inside or outside?

-Examine the demographics of the attendees.

2. Vendor Insurance Coverage: Most if not all festivals and events have food and merchandise vendors. It’s important that they each take responsibility for their own activities and the possible claims that might come up.  For example, food vendors might accidentally servie contaminated food or a merchandise vendor might leave something in a walkway that a patron could trip over. If the vendors don’t have their own General Liability then you might have to pay for damages or injuries. In order to avoid having to be responsible for the actions of others it’s important to make sure all vendors carry their own insurance coverage.

Key discussion points:

-Ask each vendor for a Certificate of Insurance.

-Ask each vendor to name you as an Additional Insured on their policy.

-Do you require limits equal to yours or something else?

-Do you have a contract in place with each vendor? If so, does it outline the insurance requirements?

-Does your General Liability policy offer a sub-policy for vendors?

3. Liquor Liability Coverage: There is no coverage in a standard General Liability for claims that come about from the sales of alcohol. In other words, if a patron gets drunk and hurts themselves or another person and blames you, there’s no insurance coverage available to pay those claims. If your event includes the sale of alcohol the Liquor Liability coverage should be in place. The person that has the liquor license and sells the liquor is the one who needs to have this coverage. If that’s you, the producer, then the best thing to do is ask that it be added to your General Liability. If it’s a vendor then the vendor can either add it onto their own General Liability or purchase a separate policy.

Key discussion points:

-Who is buying the liquor license and selling the alcohol?

-What training have the servers had?

-What is the Limit of Coverage?

4. Event Cancellation Coverage: There are many circumstances which may result in the cancellation of your event. For example, performers may not show up due to travel issues or there might be a civil action which prevents it. If you have to cancel (or move) your event this coverage will help make up the costs incurred.

Key discussion points:

-What is the likelihood that your event could be cancelled?

-How easy or difficult would it be to move your event?

-Do you need Event Cancellation coverage including adverse weather?

There are several other types of insurance coverages to be considered but these are the most critical. Having a safe festival or event is not only about creating the right insurance program, it’s also about proper risk management and awareness of overall safety.

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