Almost every charity will choose to have a public event at some point during the year. Running an event can boost the finances and reputation of your charity, but it is important to recognise the kinds of risks that it brings, and how the right insurance cover can help.
If your charity is planning to hold events this year, the peace of mind that comes with getting the right insurance cover in place will mean you and your team can reduce your ‘to do’ list and focus on making your events a success. With good planning and management, the chances are that your event will run smoothly, but there are always things that might happen which are outside of your control, such as bad weather, a piece of equipment breaking down, or a headline celebrity not turning up. This is where your insurance policy will help to prevent serious financial consequences for your organisation.
Organising your event – keeping things safe
Assess your risks
As soon as you have decided on the kind of event you’ll be having, it’s a good idea to start sorting out a risk assessment. Careful attention to identifying the risks, keeping records of them, and showing you have evaluated the controls that need to be in place are all elements of the risk assessment process. More information on completing risk assessments can be found on the HSE website.
Have a safety plan
An event safety plan will have details of all your health and safety arrangements and should be shared beforehand to everyone involved in your event. This can include training procedures for staff and volunteers, first aid facilities, emergency procedures in the event of fire, flood or bomb threat, and insurance arrangements. The plan should also include information on communications: how to convey information, or update each other and members of the public, during the event.
Inspect the site
It’s important to check the site before, during and after the event, and to keep records of the inspections. Weather conditions may have made some areas of the site unsafe to use, or there may be changes to the layout which need to be noted. After the event the site should be checked to make sure it is returned to the land or property owner in a safe condition.
What insurance should I consider for my charity event?
Public Liability insurance will cover you and your charitable organisation for potential costs in defending any injuries to attendees or damage to property during your event. It isn’t a legal requirement in the UK but it may well be required if you are using land, property or facilities owned by a third party.
If you employ any staff at your event, it is a legal requirement to have a minimum of £10 million cover of Employers Liability insurance. This will cover physical and mental injury, or fatality to employees which happens at or through work or because of workplace conditions. Employers Liability is almost always needed for any volunteers at a charity event as they are defined as representatives for your organisation, which makes you, the event organiser, responsible for their wellbeing.
If you hire vehicles to transport equipment, rubbish, water and so on then these need to be properly insured, as will any cars, vans or minibuses used to carry people at the event.
Donations at events are often made through collecting tins or buckets, or through the sale of things like clothing, food and drink. Money cover will protect cash kept in safes and cash boxes and whilst in transit to a bank.
Electrical equipment like laptops and sound equipment can cost thousands of pounds to replace. Business equipment insurance can help provide cover against damage when setting up, during and after the event.
An event can be cancelled for a number of reasons: the event venue goes into liquidation; the venue or key performers are double booked, or there is a power cut or flood, and the location is out of action.
Live Event Reinsurance
This cost indemnification scheme has been brought in by the UK government to offer insurance against the risk of a live event being unable to happen because of Covid restrictions. The scheme started in September 2021 and will run until 30 September 2022. Cover must be purchased at least eight weeks before the event, and the amount policyholders can claim will depend on the total limit purchased on their non-Covid insurance.
Not all insurers are offering this cover, and events organisers need to show they have non-Covid insurance in place – in other words you can’t buy this insurance in isolation. Cover applies to UK public events such as festivals, music and sports events but not to private events such as weddings and private parties.
There are a number of specific conditions for cover from this scheme and your broker can talk you through the terms and conditions, and help you apply for the scheme.
Other event insurance you may need:
- Non-appearance by a key featured person (such as a celebrity who fails to show up)
- Adverse weather such as high winds and rain which can shut down the event at short notice
- Terrorism cover, should your event be targeted by extremists
- Fireworks –bonfires and firework displays can easily go wrong if the wind changes direction, or bad weather occurs
And finally, a word to the wise:
Do you need a bouncy castle? Recent years have seen several accidents involving bouncy castles at public events, and there are now very strict guidelines from insurers that charities and other organisations need to comply with. Failure to do this can result in significant costs and awards to pay which could cause catastrophic reputational and financial damage to a charity. We recommend that you think carefully before deciding to hire this equipment.
Whether your charity is holding a coffee morning, a Pride march or a three-day music festival, you will need appropriate insurance to cover you for potential injuries, damages or unforeseen cancellations.