Commercial Events Insurance

What is happening to events in the UK and can you be a part of this growing market? We caught up with Nick Smith, from Graham Sykes to find out more.

Significant changes have taken place over the last 5 years or so to accommodate a demand for home-grown entertainment, political uncertainty in some European countries, the decline of the value of the pound (from 1.42 to 1.08 since August 2015 according to poundsterlinglive) and of course Brexit have all had an impact on people making decisions to go away on holiday or stay at home. The warm summer of 2018 and the need to support local business has helped to fuel an army of committees set up to feed the demand for communities to attract visitors to their towns and cities and of course the money they spend while they are away.

According to Eventbrite Pulse Report 2018, 36% of respondents work for a charity or not for profit organisation, yet 46% have budgeted nothing for insurance in their event plans and those that did budget, 81% expect premiums to remain unchanged at next renewal. Security costs at events, again according to Eventbrite Pulse Report 2018, are expected to remain unchanged for 87% of respondents, 72% expect to pay nothing for security.

As brokers you are best placed to help clients in the local community and event insurance is a great way to show support and of course your expertise. Many organisers are teams of passionate individuals who put their hearts into making their event a success, whatever the event, from a village fete or perhaps a charity concert. We work with Graham Sykes Limited to offer an event insurance scheme, and with their years of experience in the event insurance market they certainly have many stories to share, some of which I am sure you will be aware of. We caught up with Nick Smith who shared with us a few tips to help you on your way.

“I am sure there is an ancient law somewhere that says that any gazebo that leaves the ground must head straight for the nearest Ferrari, in the same way that a stolen generator will be sold for parts on an online market site, and you may have even better theories! Whilst these views might be subjective, as a broker, these could be a claim waiting to happen.

So, what should we be looking out for when quoting for the business? 

In the first instance I would suggest good organisation skills in the committee are a good indicator; many leave the insurance until the last minute and then struggle to provide a fair assessment of the risk simply because they are not experienced in buying commercial insurance. Encourage your clients to start talking to you sooner rather than later, not forgetting to strap down those gazebos and lock up the generators, it is a great stress reliever for everyone!

Movement of vehicles around the site is likely, on many occasions, to be accidents waiting to happen. Some large vehicles may need four or five marshals to look after them whilst moving around a site, covering blind spots for lorries will reduce the chances of a claim provided the driver is kept informed and can take the right action. Injuries, even at low speed, for heavy vehicles can and do result in very large claims.

Looking after employees and employers liability is a very common query from event organisers and brokers. Public liability is not a legal requirement but employers liability could be, failure to have this insurance can result in significant fines. Employees do not necessarily have to be paid; they can be volunteers and helpers, if the organiser tells them what to do, for example: "go and check the car park" or "help put up those signs" then they are very likely to need employer's liability.You should also check with policy wording to see what policyholders need to do in order to comply with the terms regarding subcontractors and employees. Many clients are not aware that they should be checking to make sure any third parties are adequately insured.

The latest, of course, is the high winds and stormy conditions last weekend, cancellation of events due to bad weather is an insurable event but for the inclusion of weather as a risk the policy needs to be on risk at least 14 days prior to the event. Cancellation is never an easy option for any committee or business, including this in risk assessments should be encouraged, whether it is about high winds or flooding committees should consider the impact on the financial stability of the event and its ability to repay ticket holders and other debtors should the worst happen. In many cases mitigation of the risk is largely possible if it considered as part of the risk assessment discussions at the outset of the event.

Whilst the surfing at Boardmasters was able to go ahead and to some extent the weather added to the excitement of this sport, the actual music side of the event had to be cancelled and the temporary infrastructure to support the visitor experience was less able to cope with the poor conditions. We all feel for those people who spent endless hours in preparation, many of them are volunteers from the sport and local community, who have to explain that they needed to cancel, it must have been heart breaking! I am sure that every one of those committees who have had to cancel or postpone events across the UK this year, will come back fighting in 2020 with bigger and better ideas and plans, after all, the show must go on!”

At Graham Sykes Limited they have a significant number of years experience in insuring all types of events, many of which you can buy on line 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If your event is not there then give them a call on 01395 255100, they are also good at helping you safely underwrite and get the business as well!




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