With in-person exhibitions and events on the increase, insurance should now be top of mind. Mark Clayton, Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) board director and managing director, InEvexco, discusses why it’s time to make sure your policies are brought up to date…

Live events may be back, but we are not fully out of the woods with Covid yet, and new threats such as the Russian-Ukrainian war are creating further uncertainty and risk for event organisers, contractors and suppliers as the industry recovers from the impact of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the Covid crisis was just one negative event that has hit the general insurance market in a long line of catastrophes and circumstances which have forced many insurers to re-evaluate the business and sectors they insure.

We are in a hard market, which means that insurers are being more selective about the risks they will underwrite, and premiums are on the increase. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has only added to the pressures on the insurance sector, which means premiums are likely to continue to rise.

During the height of the pandemic, InEvexco, an ESSA partner and specialist event industry broker, understood the terrible plight of the sector and negotiated reduced premiums with insurers based on greatly reduced revenues, saving our clients hundreds of thousands of pounds. Many of these policies were then renewed on lower estimates, and again much lower premiums were charged as there simply wasn’t the same exposure to operational risk.

This level of premium reduction meant that brokers and their insurers’ income was also significantly reduced, and we were faced with many of the same challenges as our clients in the events and exhibitions sector.

Now, in our exuberance to get back to live, we mustn’t forget to bring insurance policies back in line with new forecasts and business projections. As operational risk returns in line with exhibitions and events, ESSA’s advice to planners, contractors and suppliers is to make sure your annual policies are up to date and have been scaled back up to represent your increased exposures. Failure to represent your risk fairly will reduce the cover you have and could invalidate your insurance policy coverage completely.

If you are insuring individual events, don’t delay. Buy as soon as you possibly can because the further along the timeline you are, the higher the risk and the more you could potentially lose if something happens. Plus, with rates not showing signs of reducing anytime soon, buying your cover sooner will enable you to get the best possible value from your policy.

Ask questions and seek to understand the cover you are purchasing, and where that cover ceases, to be sure you are effectively insuring your event. We are in a period of potential political disruption and there are new risks, from terrorism to political protests, which may not be included in standard cover. Consider purchasing extensions to standard policies to give your event maximum protection.

In addition to working closely with insurers, InEvexco has lobbied hard on behalf of ESSA throughout the pandemic, talking with UK government representatives to get extra support and protection, resulting in the launch of the government-backed Covid-19 reinsurance scheme.

The government’s decision to provide this historic insurance facility was huge step forward, not least that business events and exhibitions were recognised directly by the Chancellor and HM Treasury, but in helping to boost organisers’ confidence.

Gaining crucial government recognition of the value of our sector has in turn given us more credibility and clout when negotiating with insurers to keep rates down. We have been able to pull on our standing of being ESSA insurance partners and have managed to hold onto the reins of premium increases so organisers, contractors and suppliers can still expect considerable value for money while obtaining insurance protection.

In these times of continued uncertainty, organisers, contractors and suppliers must prioritise risk management, have a good understanding of how insurance works and review and renew policies so they can safeguard both their events and their organisations. Protecting your events against potential risk is now more important than ever and ESSA is committed to supporting our members with this ongoing challenge.

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