As carriers introduce new targeted exclusions and restructure existing special event policies, agents who want to grow their business must stay up to date.
Live events have always required special attention and unique insurance coverages to cover a wide variety of potential liabilities. Today, current trends and circumstances have created an environment where attaining coverage can be even more challenging and complicated than in the past.
As carriers introduce new targeted exclusions and restructure existing policies to reflect updated risk calculations, agents who want to grow their business and provide clients with comprehensive coverage must stay up to date. Here are three ways to stay current:
1) Find out what you don't know. As carriers adjust their offerings, proactive agents should determine if any of their existing clients' policies are affected and learn about any major changes that will limit their ability to secure coverage for future events. For instance, clients carrying a general liability policy for daily operations may incorrectly assume they are covered for a special event regardless of whether it's on-site or off-site, creating a situation where an incorrect assumption could lead to a calamitous result.
Even a policy that does discuss special events may only provide coverage for events that are declared to the policy. Typically, in this scenario, a declared events exclusion may exist on the policy, making it clear that events are not covered unless declared.
Another crucial live event coverage is spectator liability. Some policies can exclude spectator liability. As the name suggests, it applies only to guests, and not to staff, performers or other paid participants.
It's also vital to review policies for exclusions, which may list items such as tents, bleachers or thrown objects as non-covered incidents. These could leave clients open to major liability if, for example, a guest suffers an injury from a collapsed tent or from a vendor throwing Mardi Gras beads into a crowd.
2) Get ahead of the game. Insurance carriers review live event policies with a fine-toothed comb and now expect more detailed information. Providing all the required information often takes more time and preparation than past policies, so agents must schedule their work accordingly and ensure clients have enough time to fully evaluate their needs and exposures.
For existing clients, agents can prove their value by identifying any changes to open policies and communicating them with suggestions on how to limit potential exposures and liabilities.
Any agent branching into live events for the first time is advised to speak with their partners to determine which carriers and policies offer the best mix of protection and value, and any policies that are untenable due to exclusions or coverage limits.
3) Ask about everything. The threats facing live events range from violent assailants and crowd stampedes to cancellations due to weather or local health regulations. With more variables than ever before, the market for cancellation coverage has tightened significantly.
To ensure proper coverage and help event organizers succeed once they are on-site, it's vital to ask questions, including some that may not have been as important in the past.
Whether the event is a large concert, a town fair, a 5K walk or a political rally, here are some questions to ask:
- How many entrances and exits are there?
- What security is being provided?
- Is the security company insured?
- Is security staff trained for this specific type of event?
- What are the evacuation plans if the event needs to be canceled?
- How long will it take to evacuate the venue?
- Are all the vendors appropriately covered through their own policies?
- If a vehicle drives through a parade route, is that covered?
- Are you prepared for an active shooter situation?
These questions can help shine a light on missing coverages or lead to more in-depth planning and coordination of on-site activities. Carriers with specialized policies for live events may provide better protection against the unforeseen, which can make a huge difference for clients hosting multiple events.
For on-site events hosted by businesses, questions should include:
- Was the event declared to their policy?
- If it's a monthly event, was each one specifically declared with the date and relevant details?
Set the Stage for Success
Everyone from performers to venues to staff to insurers are excited about live events coming back after two years of cancellations and delays, but running an event may never be as simple as it once was. A variety of new threats to event operations and attendees have pushed insurance carriers to alter how they evaluate events and what coverages and prices they offer, limiting options for agents and their clients.
Acquiring insurance coverage now requires detailed information about every facet of an event, so agents and their clients will likely need to invest more time to identify all the relevant facts.
It's up to agents to make sure clients are aware of these changes and any potential coverage gaps they create. By staying informed about new policies, reviewing existing policies and needs, and working closely with clients to generate rock-solid event details, agents can help live event hosts and organizers once again spread joy with the peace of mind that robust insurance coverage provides.
Scott Carroll is senior vice president at Take1 Entertainment Insurance.