When your tribal entity may need special event liability coverage
Summer is a common time of year for large gatherings and festive occasions, due to the beautiful weather and, for many, long-awaited vacation time. Though the day-to-day operations of a tribal enterprise may remain largely the same, many organizations usually have one or several occasions a year for activities and events that are out of the ordinary. These are generally classified by insurance providers as “special events” and may require specific special event liability coverage. Some examples of these types of events could include:
- Community events
- Fairs and festivals
- Sporting events
- Music concerts or other live entertainment
- Trade or business shows
- Educational events
With the unique nature of a special event, also comes a unique set of risks and liability that needs to be considered beforehand. Read on for some helpful safety and coverage tips to make sure that your event is not only successful, but also safe for everyone involved.
Special Event Risk Management Tips
The first step in protecting your enterprise from special events liability is to mitigate risk during the planning process. Events like these usually have elements in common that contribute to overall risk levels. They may utilize special venues or spaces such as meeting halls, fields, churches, fairgrounds, and other tribal property such as parks and community centers. There may be high volumes of people in attendance, food or beverage vendors, or intoxicated participants, if alcohol is being served. There could be a lack of supervision or known security measures, especially if the venue being used is not owned by the enterprise. Special equipment or rentals that require specialized handling may be utilized. The biggest risk, however, is if the event is out of the ordinary, then hosts and participants may not be as familiar with recommended or appropriate safety procedures.
Any combination of these factors greatly increases the opportunity for unforeseen hazards and accidents. For instance, if the grounds or facility are not inspected beforehand, hazardous conditions could be present. Without the appropriate security, there could be heightened risk to patrons during an event. With participants and vendors coming and going at will, it can be difficult to predict all possible scenarios. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead with the following risk management practices and have the appropriate special event liability coverage in place.
When planning a special event, a tribal enterprise should keep these goals as top priorities:
- Preventing injury and securing appropriate resources to handle any injuries
- Ensuring the event complies with all applicable laws (e.g., sound ordinances, operational permits, health codes, etc.)
- Obtaining the proper special event liability coverage
- Establishing a team to direct and coordinate operations, safety, logistics, finances and other elements of the event, plus clearly defining the duties and responsibilities of each team member, both before and during the event
Special Event Liability Coverage Tips
After you’ve considered your special event from a risk management standpoint, the next step is to make sure your enterprise is protected from any liability rising out of your event. No matter how thoroughly we plan for risk, it’s still possible for accidents to occur. That’s why appropriate coverage is critical. This is an important subject to address when planning a special event, because the coverage you need might fall outside the scope of the regular coverage your enterprise already purchases.
If your enterprise is hosting your own special event, check with your insurance broker or risk manager to make sure you’re covered for all planned activities. Some insurance carriers may not automatically include coverage, or they may have specific exclusions for certain events or activities that are classified as high-risk. For example, your regular policy may exclude activities like carnivals, rodeos, races, fireworks, liquor, etc., which may constitute a key element or the primary function of your special event. However, in the event that your regular coverage excludes a planned activity, you can add coverage or purchase a special event policy to supplement coverage for these items.
In addition, your tribal enterprise should consider the following questions as a quick guideline in making appropriate safety provisions for the event, anticipating the levels and types of risk that may be involved. These are likely questions that special event liability coverage providers will also ask to help them determine your appropriate levels of coverage, though it is by no means an exhaustive list:
- Will alcohol be served?
- Is there a possibility of intoxicated participants?
- Is there any chance of minors obtaining alcohol?
- Will minors be present?
- What types of transportation are being used for the event?
- Is physical activity required by any participants?
- Do you require signed waivers from participants?
- How many people will be participating in the event?
- Are there any rides, inflatables, or other mechanical devices being used for the event?
- Is the event occurring outdoors or indoors?
- What kinds of facilities are being used?
- Will the sale of any merchandise or food be conducted?
- Is there any advertising or media publicity liability?
- Will there be any type of political activity?
- Will there be amplified sound?
- Will animals be present?
- Will there be fire, explosives, or other combustibles utilized?
Conversely, appropriate levels of coverage and risk control measures should also be obtained if you are allowing others to use your facilities for their special events. If you are renting out facilities, make sure you have the following in place (see our article on Contract Liability for additional information):
- Have a user agreement in place that includes thorough indemnification language holding your organization harmless in the event the user/renter is negligent
- Require the user/renter to have a Special Events Liability policy (also known as Tenant User Liability Insurance Policy)
- Require that your organization is named as Additional Insured and obtain a copy of their certificate of insurance showing that, prior to the use of your facility
- Require a minimum of $1 million per occurrence, $2 million annual aggregate limits on the policy as a minimum. For higher risk events or largely attended events, you should consider and require higher limits
A successful event is a safe event. 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.