When nothing goes to plan

Event insurance is a must for anyone planning an event that the public will pay to attend, says Apio’s Caron Whitfield.

When global star Sam Smith recently had to cancel his Cape Town concerts due to vocal strain, the first thing mentioned was how to get a refund if you were a ticket holder. But there’s far more to event insurance than ticket refunds.

From Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg

Event insurance is specialised cover – if you’re throwing a cocktail party for clients at your office, or inviting some mates over for a birthday party, you can stop reading now. But, if you’re planning an event – a concert, a festival or a sporting event, you’ll need event insurance cover in place. It’s essential if you have fee-paying members of the public attending your event, as this cover allows you to refund costs should the unthinkable happen.

It’s not just good business sense. In South Africa, the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act 2 of 2010 states that a controlling body, an event organiser, stadium or venue owner must have insurance in place for an event. Large public events cost huge amounts of money to stage – not only for the performers and ticketholders in the case of a concert, but for the equipment, venue hire, security, food and beverages and first aid. The event organiser must be in a position to refund costs for these and other eventualities, for example the possibility of a fire or pollution caused by the event.

Claims arising for this type of insurance could include incidents like a stampede at a concert caused by insufficient security, equipment falling on a concert-goer and causing injury, or damage to property by unruly spectators at a sports event. What the insurance doesn’t cover is disgruntlement – if a ticketholder went to a Sam Smith concert as a spectator and simply didn’t enjoy it, the event organiser is not going to refund their ticket using event insurance.

Natural disasters are also covered by event insurance – think back to the Cape Town Cycle Tour in 2017, which was cancelled due to dangerously high winds on the course. For sporting events where bad weather holds inherent perils, it’s important to mitigate these risks.

Event insurance is something that every event organiser needs to include in their planning, but there are many different aspects to consider. This specialised insurance is tailored to meet the requirements of the individual event, so work with your advisor to get liability advice that ensures your cover meets the needs and specific risks of your event.