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April 7, 2008

Event organisers continue to ignore cancellation insurance

Nearly two thirds (62%) of event organisers do not buy cancellation insurance for their event despite a year of unprecedented weather disruption in 2007, which led to widespread cancellation and postponements of events across the UK.

The survey of 220 event organisers, conducted by Hiscox UK’s Event Insurance division during November last year, also found that 33% of event organisers were unaware of what insurance protection was in place for their event and the specific risks that can be covered.

“Take up of cancellation cover continues to score poorly despite the weather disruption of last year and the significant financial losses that many event organisers would have suffered,” said Mark Trevor, managing director of Hiscox UK’s Event Insurance division. “Of equal concern, however, is that 33% of organisers were unaware of exactly what type of insurance cover was in place to protect their event. This is often the case in larger companies where the actual insurance buyer is separate from the event organisers ‘on the ground’, potentially exposing their organisation to allegations of weak management.

“It is positive to note, however, that 90% of event organisers do see risk management as integral to planning a successful event, although 36% do not conduct formal risk assessments, which are a legal requirement. As well as the legal exposure, this leaves organisers vulnerable to unnecessary risks and without effective contingency plans should the unexpected happen.”

Awareness of what exactly can be covered against is also low, with 78% of organisers unaware that event cancellation losses can be insured against should an unexpected national event, such as a state funeral, happen to fall on the same day. Over half (59%) also failed to spot that you can also insure against cancellation costs and a loss of profit in the event of industrial action stopping visitors getting to your event, while 52% did not realise that you can insure against the non-appearance of a key speaker or celebrity.

“The recent high-profile cancellation of the Golden Globes event due to the ongoing writers’ strike illustrates how disruption can come from the most unlikely sources and can be very difficult to anticipate,” continued Trevor. “The subsequent losses would have been significant and this shows how important it is to be aware of what risks can be insured against, and that sufficient insurance is purchased as early as possible in the planning stage of the event.”

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