As summer kicks off, it’s likely that your tribe or tribal enterprise may experience an increase in the number of special events you may be hosting or participate in. While these are likely a calendar highlight to be looked forward to, these types of events carry their own unique burdens of risk. Protect your organization and reduce your special events liability with the following information.
What is a special event?
A special event can usually be classified as a gathering or set of activities outside the realm of an organization’s usual operations, either to celebrate, collaborate or accomplish a specific purpose not addressed in day-to-day affairs. Ensuring the appropriate safety measures and insurance coverage are in place is a vital part of a successful planning strategy. Common examples of special events include fundraisers, sports, entertainment, trade or business shows, fairs or festivals, educational events, powwows, and so on.
Plan for safety
The first step to reduce your special events liability and protect your enterprise is by doing everything possible to mitigate risk during the planning process. This could include:
- Inspecting the venue ahead of time for potential safety hazards
- Considering potential accessibility requirements of disabled attendees
- Flows of traffic and the anticipated volume of attendees
- Supervision or security requirements
- Any special equipment needs (stages, sound systems, etc.)
- Any required emergency equipment and procedures
Preventing injury and complying with applicable laws and ordinances should be top priorities of any special events planning committee.
Common hazards of special events
Fact is often stranger than fiction when it comes to the types of mishaps that might occur during a special event. While it’s impossible to compile an exhaustive list, the following are common scenarios that can lead to costly property or liability damages:
- Slip, trip, and fall injuries
- Disorderly conduct of intoxicated patrons
- Food poisoning from food vendors
- Property damage
- Cancellations due to weather events or other unforeseeable circumstances
Related: Food safety during COVID-19
Reduce your special events liability with the right coverage
Don’t assume that your regular insurance automatically provides coverage for your special events. Inform your insurance broker or risk manager ahead of time for all events you plan to hold, so you can determine the extent of your regular coverage in advance. Some carriers may only provide coverage by endorsement, or they may have specific exclusions for certain events or activities that are classified as high-risk. In either event, securing an endorsement or a separate special event policy is a critical way to reduce your special event liability. When securing coverage, you’ll likely need to provide information on the following items:
- Alcohol use
- Physical activities
- Waivers of liability
- Number of attendees
- Recreational rides, inflatables or other mechanical devices
- Indoor or outdoor activities
- Facility usage
- Sale of merchandise or food
- Potential advertising or media publicity liability
- Political activity
- Amplified sound
- Presence of animals
- Use of fire, explosives or other combustibles
Related: Tribal fireworks display safety tips
Don’t Forget Facility Use
The converse scenario to consider is whether you allow your facilities to be used or rented for the special events of others. If so, you should require them to obtain adequate levels of coverage and to maintain appropriate risk control measures. We also recommend the following best practices:
- Implement a user agreement with thorough indemnification language that holds your organization harmless in the event the user or renter is negligent on your premises.
- Require the user or renter to obtain a special events liability policy (also known as tenant user liability insurance policy).
- Require that your organization is named as an additional insured on their policy and obtain a certificate of insurance as proof of insurance and additional insured status.
- Minimum policy limits should include $1 million per occurrence and $2 million annual aggregate. For events that are higher risk or that host large numbers of attendees, you should consider requiring higher limits.
Related: Tribal park maintenance safety tips
Proper planning and coverage are essential steps to reduce your special events liability this year. To learn more about how to prepare for special events, please contact your broker or your Arrowhead Tribal risk manager, Mark Sherwood, at firstname.lastname@example.org.