There have been numerous changes in the special events insurance industry. Here are three ways agents can assist clients to become better prepared.
The special events industry is not expected to fully recover until 2023. However, there have been numerous changes in the special events insurance industry that may help insureds become better prepared, more aware and able to find coverage for future risks.
“We understand that events, entertainment, amusement and sports may be different going forward, but maybe this will not all be in a negative way," says Patrick Gavin, managing director, Alive Risk. “We believe this has made for a more well-informed insured, one that truly understands anything could go wrong."
“The pandemic has shown it is better to be prepared, informed and fully insured for any of the unknowns," Gavin adds.
And while “insurance can sometimes feel like a burden, it's there to protect the client and requirements are there to ultimately help run a safe event," says Aristotle Moulopoulos, production specialist, Alive Risk. “There is a huge value when the insureds, agents and underwriting facilities communicate and understand the value each role plays in a partnership."
Here are three ways independent agents can assist clients when seeking special events coverage:
1) Address the worker shortage. In the evolving market, agents may need to start considering themselves a coach, as well as a risk manager for their clients. They can do this by “providing input about things such as Event Safety Access Training (ESAT) for new live event workers or for experienced workers who have not worked a live show for some time," says Scott Carroll, vice president and program director of Take1 Insurance.
Every industry is being hit by worker shortages, increasing the risk of accidents. Coupled with these shortages, “we also have to recognize and deal with 'rust' that has set in with those [workers] experienced in live events and grant time and energy to remove that rust," Carroll says.
By asking their clients to detail the experience of workers employed for the event, agents can alleviate a very real concern for carriers as the industry looks to meet pent-up demand for live events in 2022.
“The value of experience cannot be underestimated and do not be surprised if more and more questions are posed by the carriers in this regard than in years past," Carroll says. “This is a huge concern for all industries who deal with the general public and the live event industry is right at the top of that list."
2) Identify new safety requirements. While safety is a huge concern for live events, underwriting requirements due to COVID-19 and other threats for event organizers and planners have evolved.
“The CDC, safety organizations such as the Event Safety Alliance (ESA), and internal risk control assisted carriers with implementing the appropriate health and safety requirements," says Debbie Spinner, underwriting manager, Alive Risk. “Requirements include, but are not limited to, extensive safety and emergency evacuation plans, active shooter protocols and COVID-19 protocols, which have included wearing masks, hand sanitizing, spacing and limited capacity. Some venues and artists have required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test."
The tragic events that occurred at the Astroworld Festival in 2021, the Mandalay Bay shooting in 2017 and COVID-19 have all had an impact. “Insurers are reevaluating the types of events that they are willing to cover," says Robert Holmes, president, Spectrum Weather and Specialty Insurance.
However, new health and safety requirements and “individual state requirements have not only assisted promoters to ensure attendee safety, but create a well-run event," Spinner says. Identifying these changes and ensuring clients can meet updated underwriting requirements as they emerge can help clients acquire the coverage they need at a price they are willing to pay.
3) Become an expert in emerging trends. “To advise your clients on the options available, become an expert—and not just in the insurance coverage available, but in the industries that one serves as well," Holmes says. “You need to invest the time and energy to better understand the risk management goals of your clients."
The industry continues to be innovative in its response to changing risks by providing coverage for emerging markets, such as drive-thru events, esports and gaming.
“While esports has a much lower risk of spectator liability because the events are usually limited in attendance, the risk associated with equipment is significantly higher as the computer equipment used at these events can far exceed the value for a normal concert," says Marcus Paxton, underwriter and broker, Take1 Insurance.
Other areas agents can provide their expertise on is event cancellation insurance. Event organizers were significantly impacted when events were canceled because of the pandemic. Many “have seen their financial position weakened and the impact of another cancellation may very well deplete funds," Holmes says. “This coverage has been increasingly coveted by event organizers."
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.