Event Planner Insurance
Before being badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, event planners were part of a fast-growing new sector of social and company life, and event planner insurance was an important part of every event.
We are slowly getting back to the old routines, and people, organizations, and companies are making up for all the opportunities they missed over the past 18 months, making the job of the event planner now busier than ever.
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What work does a good event planner do?
Offering perfectly scoped and detailed events, a good event planner creates memorable happenings, weddings, baby showers, events, meetings, and conferences for customers from the initial request right through to final execution.
Acting in this role requires an expert in cost containment, venue location, multiple areas of logistics for equipment, people, and consumables.
A good event planner manages the little details while keeping the big-picture in focus to ensure truly beautiful experiences.
Some of the more essential aspects of event management for large weddings and other social parties, conferences, trade shows, sporting events, festivals, and concerts, are:
- Focusing on meeting strict deadlines
- Managing budgets so that there are no shocks at the end both for you and for your customers
- Building solid relationships with others in the field, like venue managers, service suppliers, vendors, etc to implement all the logistical aspects
- Keeping up-to-date on the latest trends in event design and trends
- Staying proactive with developments that will affect the execution of events you manage
- Quickly identifying operational challenges
- Establishing standard procedures and training staff to execute them
- Complying with all insurance, legal, safety, and health requirements at all times.
What are an event coordinator’s job responsibilities?
Planning an event may come down to the responsibility of a single individual.
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Still, almost every event requires a team to become involved, and no matter how good the plan, in the end, your level of customer satisfaction depends on the actual execution.
Handling temporary staff becomes a big part of an event planner’s job, along with customer liaison, supply-chain management, and maybe even up to the level of negotiating with local or state-government bureaucracies.
This is especially important in the world of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many cities and states have placed limits on the number of people who can participate in events, and these are complex and can change at short notice.
For example, the City of Philadelphia imposed detailed guidelines on indoor and outdoor capacities in October 2020 that are still in effect.
You need to consult with the relevant health authorities in the state where the event will be held, for example in California, or Florida, or Texas, there are portals where you can get the addresses and contact numbers of the appropriate individuals who can help you, and in some cases may have to authorize your event.
The need for event planning insurance coverage
In general terms, businesses need insurance as protection from unexpected events.
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A well-run business has budgets, forecasts, and projections.
As long as everything is going according to these carefully laid plans, then nothing can happen to prevent you from reaching your goals.
But – there’s always some “but”. Accidents can happen to the event patrons, your workers, your customers, onsite, on the way to work, or on the way home.
Every business that provides some kind of service to the public is at risk of being sued.
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There are several specific risks relevant for event organizers:
- Accidental injury to a member of the public at the event
- Accidental damage to property located at the event
- Improper or inadequate provision of your services
Something entirely outside your control can take over, like a natural disaster, an earthquake, or a massive fire in the buildings around you.
The particular risks associated with your event planning business come from the high level of exposure to the general public.
The whole purpose of an event is to bring many people into one place where they can interact.
In just such an environment, your risk is elevated both because there is an unusually high number of people in the place, and because they are unfamiliar with the location and are generally doing things that are not part of the daily routine.
The potential in such an environment is for accidents to happen, from small things like someone bumping into a badly-placed stool and cutting their leg, to a possible major incident such as the breakout of a fire or collapse of a platform.
The most important thing to remember is that as the event organizer, you carry the responsibility as well as the risk and are the person who is likely to be sued.
For any such possibility, you need to take out general liability insurance.
Public liability insurance helps protect you and your business from claims in case there’s some accidental bodily injury or property damage to someone, and they sue you for compensation.
There are two types of legal damages people may sue you for that are typically covered by a public liability policy:
- Compensatory damages: financial losses they claim to have suffered as a result of your business activity. They may also be able to claim for future losses that they might suffer resulting from an injury.
- General damages: indirect losses the injured party suffers, such as “pain and suffering” or “mental anguish.”
The policy also pays for legal costs associated with your defense of a lawsuit related to the claim.
For the third kind of risk, to cover you, if a customer claims that you were in some way negligent in the performance of your job and they suffered some monetary damage, you need E&O insurance, sometimes called professional liability insurance.
An example is when you are engaged by a company to hold their annual awards night, in front of an audience and TV cameras.
On the night, if something has happened that stops the event from happening, the customer could claim all of the run-up expenses for advertising, promotion, etc., plus damages for loss of reputation and other such ancillary losses.
In the same way as for general liability insurance, if a court decides against you, you will have to find the money out of your own pocket.
The work that planners do is totally and immediately visible to your customers and their guests so that clients can feel the results of whatever you are doing and react very quickly.
Sometimes a very friendly client can turn into an irate person in front of a judge and testify against you in court if there is any dispute about any aspect of the project.
It could be something as simple as a missed step in the program, or it could be a technical complaint that the music you organized didn’t match the conference’s theme.
These are highly subjective complaints, and if you let it get before a judge, relying on your own feelings, then you could be in for some very expensive surprises.
Insurance is the way you protect yourself and your bank account.
Should you get short-term insurance for individual events?
Temporary insurance may be a good option for an event planning business where you don’t have enough continuous business activity to justify full insurance cover for a whole year.
The nature of the business is highly sporadic, and can also be very seasonal, with far more weddings taking place in spring than in the winter, so that it makes sense to shut up shop for a few months rather than sit around and wait for the snow to clear.
The problem here is that most insurance companies sell their cover on an annual basis and calculate the premium for their policy to cover their exposure over 12 months.
For focused work like event planning, the cost of a full year’s cover may not be justified, but that could lead you to make a bad decision to ignore the real risks just to save a few dollars when the possible damages, if something does go wrong, can be massive.
If a court decides against you, the settlement could run up into tens of thousands of dollars or even more.
Fortunately, some insurance companies have begun to offer special policies where you can nominate a specific period when you want to be covered.
By only paying for the period of cover you need, you will save by having lower premium costs while still having the same risk cover.
Suppose you’re offering your services as an event coordinator to a large corporation planning a product launch.
They will only give you the job if you have proper public liability insurance and E&O insurance, but the work on site will take only a few weeks in total.
Even if your customer didn’t insist, you certainly should have proper coverage to protect you while on the job.
But if this is the only contract you have for the period he wants you, you don’t want to have to pay for a whole year, or even a shorter block of time if you can avoid it.
This is when temporary event planner insurance works for you.
You can take out cover for the days or weeks you’re working onsite because short-term liability insurance keeps you covered over that specific timeframe or activity.
Another example – if you specialize in large weddings and similar events, you only need cover for the work period before the actual event, with a few weeks on either side to protect you during the set-up and take-down.
What you need is a policy that can be scheduled to start on a specific date and run for a nominated number of days.
The key feature of short-term insurance is that you purchase the cover for a specific and defined period – a date on the calendar, or a week starting on a specific date, or a month – for example for 30 days beginning on the specified date.
Please take special note – insurance for “mornings only” or such is not available. It must be anchored on calendar dates.
Temporary insurance coverage can provide you with all the usual protection from risk in the same way as regular annual cover.
So it’s essential to find a policy that covers all of the risks that you are taking on when you start the work.
What type of insurance should an event planner have?
Every event planning business needs the essential elements of Public Liability Insurance and Professional Liability Insurance.
If you have permanent or temporary workers, you are required by most states to carry Workers Compensation insurance.
What is liability insurance for an event?
General liability insurance covers an event planner against accidental injury to members of the public attending the event, or damage to the property, buildings, gardens etc, where the event is being staged.
Professional liability insurance protects you in case a client claims that your execution of the event was in some way improper or insufficient.
How much liability insurance does an event planner need?
The level of liability changes for each event. There are no strict rules.
For example, an event attended by a few family members will carry far lower levels of risk than a corporate fair for employees, where there may be hundreds or even thousands of adults, children, and the venue may be filled with rides and sports venues.
You should consult with qualified insurance agents, brokers, or company representatives.
What should you expect to pay for short-term event insurance?
Every insurance company loads its policies with “front-end” costs relating to the expenses that it has to carry in administration, like creating, marketing, registering, and processing the policy and any claims that arise from it.
This means that a policy for one week starts off with a “base” premium of 10-15% of a standard annual policy even though it’s only giving 2% of the actual risk cover.
Think of what happens when you hail a cab. Immediately, the “flag-fall” charge starts at a few dollars, and you then pay on top of that for the mileage and time.
Insurance policies come with a built-in “flag-fall” cost that is the same regardless of the length of the coverage.
You only begin to notice it when the period of coverage is very short, like a day or week or month, so that the difference between the cost and the period of cover becomes a factor.
What temporary insurance coverage means for event planning?
Temporary insurance coverage is a policy that provides insurance for a specified time period, which could range from a single day through a week, a month, or several months.
There are individual policies for each type of insurance, such as public liability, general liability, and professional liability.
Can you get business insurance for a single day?
Business insurance by the day is a special sector of the commercial insurance market.
Not all companies offer it, so you may have to hunt around to find one that sells temporary insurance policies. It’s also worth your while to talk to your friendly insurance broker because they may be more aware of what’s available in this particular field.