What is Event Insurance?

Event Insurance

Having worked in and around events for the last 20 years, I understand the importance of having different kinds of events insurance to cover you for possible eventualities. Let me tell you; even with the best planning, things can go wrong and often they do!

This information covers the UK events industry, so while similarities exist with other countries, you should carry out due diligence for the region where your event operates. 

What is Event Insurance?

Event insurance covers things that go wrong with your event or operations, causing accidental loss or damage to persons and property, for example. The main types of event insurance that an event organiser will need to consider are: 

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Employee Liability Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Event Cancellation Insurance

There are specific event insurances that can also be purchased. For example: 

  • Christmas Lights Insurance
  • Street Parties Insurance
  • Exhibitions Insurance
  • Conference Insurance
  • Sports Event Insurances
  • Stallholders Insurance
  • Wedding Insurance
  • Catering Insurance
  • Festivals Insurance
  • Firework Insurance

Claims services have notoriety (certainly in the UK) for an aggressively marketing their “where there is blame, there’s a claim” services. For this reason, it makes sense to ensure you have sufficient cover for all eventualities. 

There is a multitude of insurance companies offering insurance packages for events. These packages will likely have options for different types of insurance. So you need to understand what these types are and why they might be necessary for your event. 

Let’s look at the main types of insurance most events will need to include.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability Insurance is not a legal requirement for UK events. Still, it covers the policyholder for things like:

  • accidental damage to property,
  • accidental loss of property,
  • accidental bodily injury,
  • accidental injury or death, 

… concerning members of the public attending your event, your client or other customers. 

Without this in place, the event organiser would find themselves liable for the costs incurred through any claim. Costs could turn out to rise very quickly with various legal and medical bills, so it is something to consider seriously. 

If any incident occurs at your event, this type of insurance covers your legal liability to pay for damages incurred. A typical example at events is people claiming for trips on uneven surfaces such as cables or uneven floors. 

If your event is taking place on a publicly owned site, such as a town square or park, then the local Government (as the landowner) may insist on you holding Public Liability Insurance.

Public Liability Insurance can be included to most event insurance policies, and you will need to determine what level you required. Competent insurance or financial advisors will be able to talk you through this. It can range from £1million to £20million depending on:

  • the size of your event
  • the nature of the event or activity
  • the number of people attending. 

Employee Liability Insurance

In most circumstances, Employee Liability Insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, and it covers the cost of compensation claims due to employee injuries or work-related illness. 

Employer Liability insurance will cover any costs of settling and defending claims that employees bring against you. For example; compensation payouts and legal fees if a court is involved. 

In the UK, the Employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 makes it a legal requirement to have a minimum cover of at least £5million. 

There are some exceptions to this, such as small businesses who employ close family members, however again it is best to practise to have it in place. 

From an employee perspective, it can be reassuring to know their employer takes safety seriously and has protections in place for when accidents happen. 

You should also consider how you are complying with Health and Safety legislation as this may invalidation any Employee Liability Insurance policy. 

As is common in the events industry, a policy must be in place to cover temporary, part-time or seasonal staff. This legal requirement also extends to volunteers who will be working at your event. 

If you are the sole employee of your business, like a freelancer, there isn’t a legal requirement to have Employers Liability Insurance in place. Still, some clients or customers you work for may request you have it. 

If you fail to have Employee Indemnity Insurance in place, you could incur a fine of £2,500 a day until you arrange the correct cover. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance 

Professional Indemnity Insurance or PI protects your business if a customer or client alleges that there are mistakes in your work. While you operate with no intention of doing so, mistakes can still happen, and you need to consider how to protect your business in these situations. 

PI covers legal costs and other expense that are involved in defending you against any claim brought from the customer of the client. They may allege that you have given inadequate advice, services or designs that cost them money. 

Without PI insurance, you could be liable for thousands of pounds of legal costs and compensation payments. You may also lose income from the time you have to spend defending any claim.

You should consider PI if:

  • You provide professional services or advice (e.g. You work as a safety freelancer for various events).
  • You provide designs to your client (e.g. you design site plans for events).
  • You work as a contractor, consultant, or are self-employed, and your client requests it as part of any contract.

How much does PI cost? It can depend on several factors, including the amount and range of work you undertake. Insurance policies can start from just a few pounds per month, so it is worth considering to make sure you have the peace of mind in place. 

Event Cancellation Insurance

You’ve spent a year planning your event only for something out of your control to happen at the last minute, forcing you to cancel. Cancelling is every event managers worst nightmare and can be extremely costly to your event business and reputation. 

Event Cancellation insurance will cover irrecoverable costs and expenses that you incur through having to cancel your event. They compensate you for any financial loss for:

  • cancellation of your event
  • disruption of your event
  • postponement of your event
  • relocation of your event

…beyond your control. So it needs to be something that you had no role in controlling!

Event Cancellation insurance covers cancellations for things like:

  • Terrorism
  • National mourning
  • Adverse weather
  • Transport disruption
  • Industrial disputes like strikes
  • Non-attendance by guests or performers
  • Ongoing or delayed building work
  • Personal bereavement

NOTE: During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, many insurance providers took the stance that their event cancellation insurance policies did not cover contagious diseases. As the majority of events were cancelled during this time, organisers were left to cover the cost of their cancellation. Looking ahead, it may be worth asking your insurance provider if your policy covers cancellation specifically for contagious diseases.

When Should I buy Event Insurance?

Keep in mind that you should make event insurances one of the first things you buy when you start planning your event or committing funds towards the cost. There may be restrictions on how close to the event any insurer will allow you to purchase it so not worth delaying on. 

Further Infomation:

Here are some event insurance providers based in the UK who you can speak to about a quote for insuring your next event: 

Mark Norman

Mark has over 20 years of experience in the events industry from working in live music venues through to major outdoor events like the Olympic Torch Relay and the Tour de France. He now works as a feelancer, consultant and Senior Lecturer in Events Management.

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