With more events making the switch to virtual, event organizers are having to deal with a whole new set of risks. Many of the factors involved in running in-person events still apply but there are others that you may not have considered.
One area that’s often overlooked is insurance. So, I spoke with experts at Event Insurance Services Ltd. Here’s what you should know before taking your next event online.
Traditional events have always required comprehensive insurance policies. With many different cogs turning at once and so much going into a single occasion, there’s a lot that can go wrong. The situation isn’t all that different for virtual events; however, the insurance policies required diverge.
Some aspects of live event coverage are redundant. For example, public liability isn’t usually needed as it covers risks involving damage to third-party property or persons, which is unlikely to occur as a result of a virtual event. However, event liability insurance still applies as accidents can occur.
Certain components of cancellation policies are also not necessary. Virtual events are unlikely to be cancelled as a result of bad weather, for instance, so this can often be safely removed from policies.
Employers’ liability remains a statutory requirement for all companies and organizations for virtual events. But this is something that professional companies should already have in place, so it is generally not cause for concern.
Knowing the Risks
At first glance, virtual events appear to be relatively risk-free. However, they can fall foul of certain exposures and if such situations arise, it can quickly mean the end of the event.
Typical risks include lawsuits, especially in the case of virtual athletic and sporting events, no-shows and transmission disputes. As a result, contingency policies for live events are now being adapted to meet the needs of their virtual counterparts.
Speakers have always been one of the main attractions of conferences and events, and this hasn’t changed with the switch to online. If anything, they’ve become even more important.
If the speaker isn’t able to ‘attend,’ the entire virtual event may need to be cancelled or postponed. So, it’s imperative that policies are secured in advance to protect organizers from the financial repercussions of such a circumstance.
Historically, insurance coverage for live events has tended to include clauses to protect against speaker cancellations and no-shows, so these may well still be applicable to virtual events. It’s worth looking into whether or not any agreed policies cover no-shows for online events and if additional coverage is required.
In most cases, contracts signed with speakers will also include clauses protecting against cancellations or no-shows on the day of the event.
The quality of transmission is a huge concern for those organizing virtual events. If any problems arise during transmission resulting in inadequate sound, video or both, then attendees could soon be clamouring for a refund.
Transmission failure insurance is a relatively new form of coverage, which has emerged in response to the recent upsurge in online events. The coverage comes into play if an event is cancelled or disrupted as a result of any transmission failures, whether they cause short hiccups in live streaming or the complete collapse of the transmission.
Policies relating to transmission failure provide financial protection from the impact of first-party losses, such as organizational costs, expenses and revenue ticket sales. These are now proving vital for large-scale, paid-for virtual events like corporate conferences.
Getting the correct insurance coverage is an important part of organizing any event, whether it’s in-person or virtual.
Insurance policies for online events should be written to provide full coverage for the specific risks that apply to these occasions. While it is possible to hold some virtual events without insurance in place, this is never advisable.
A huge amount of time, effort and money goes into organizing a virtual event. If something doesn’t go according to plan, insurance policies can potentially save the day. So, make sure your next virtual event is fully covered and protected from every possible risk.
Ian Webb is head of business development at Eventsforce. The company’s customizable web-based software provides a complete end-to-end management solution for virtual, hybrid and in-person events, from event planning, marketing and registration to on-site check-in, virtual content delivery, mobile apps, abstracts and awards management, reporting and data management.