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April 4, 2008

Elizabeth Seeger: Weighing up the cost of summer flooding

Two months on from this year’s torrential downpours, event organisers are counting the cost of the wettest summer in history. With 14,500 insurance claims in June and July, the total overall cost to British businesses is estimated to be around £1.3 billion (Association of British Insurers, September 2007), with the events industry in particular hit hard by the adverse weather.

The summer flooding resulted in many organisers’ events being washed out and cancelled leaving them, in many cases, with substantial cancellation costs. For organisers whose events went ahead, many had to pay out additional costs to repair flood-damaged ground to allow them to set up for their event.

As an event organiser you can often be at the mercy of the weather and this summer has taken its toll on the industry. Even those hosting indoor events can do little about flooding that, even if it leaves the venue intact, could prevent people travelling or might even result in the loss of electrical power.

And even if you managed to get your event successfully staged, it is not only the weather on the day of the event itself that can cause problems. Organisers also need to be aware that they could face significant reparation costs to return the ground to the venue owner in an acceptable condition following their event.

To help ensure an organisers’ event does not turn a healthy profit into a financial loss following bad weather or any other unforeseen circumstances, I’ve outlined my top 10 risk-management tips to consider when planning an event:

1. Take cover early – insure as soon as you start incurring costs for the event such as venue deposits

2. Know your risks – carry out a full risk management exercise

3. Travel plans – identify possible disrupted transport

4. Who goes there? – ensure the site is secure and all attendees, visitors and sub-contractors are readily identifiable

5. Slip and trip – check venue for slipping and tripping hazards

6. Read the small print – it is paramount to read the small print carefully and negotiate if necessary

7. You’ll need more than you think – ensure you have adequate Public Liability insurance

8. Communicate – ensure your sub contractors receive your terms and conditions so they are aware of their responsibilities

9. Talk to the lawyers – ensure you issue your contract terms and conditions properly

10. Buy the best – obtain the best insurance cover you can afford. Carefully check it covers everything you need, sometimes buying the cheapest policy may be a false economy

Elizabeth Seeger is product expert at Insurex Expo-Sure.

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