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An event that doesn’t have a back-up plan is heading for trouble. If you are wondering what a back up plan is, you could have a problem. But don’t worry we will help with that. Just read on.

This blog post was originally based on the impact of the volcanic ash cloud crisis that happened in 2010. Since then we have experienced more disasters that have affected events, the current one being Covid-19.

When the ash cloud occurred a number of people planning events requested event insurance coverage to help them pick up the costs resulting from the crisis. This was not a new or unusual request especially at a time of crisis. It happens often. A crisis occurs and some event planners think about insurance cover but by then it’s too late. The crisis is no longer unexpected, it’s happened and insurance companies will not be able to provide cover.

Looking at the Wider Picture

For those event organisers that had bought insurance coverage in advance of the disruption there would have been some assistance.

Unfortunately the volcanic ash disruption was not and will not be the only challenge that will be faced by companies when planning and delivering events.

In previous years, insurance companies have seen; businesses going into liquidation, swine flu outbreaks, snow disruption, unexpected strike action and deaths of Heads of State. The list is a lot longer but you get the idea.

What happens at a time of crisis is that other issues likely to put an event at risk tend to be forgotten. But it is important that you do not just look and focus on the crisis in isolation but rather keep reviewing the wider picture and the risks that could affect your event.

Do Not Rely on Insurance Alone

Our advice is for you to review event critical issues and establish what can be done to prevent or minimise your range of risks.

We recommend that you consider how insurance could help but don’t depend on it as the only answer. Insurance companies work on the same basis as any other profit producing entity so it is rare that they will underwrite cover for what is a known problem (pre –existing condition).


Risk Management Thinking

In your (Risk Management) Plan B we recommend that you consider the basics-


How are your attendees, exhibitors, suppliers and speakers likely to be affected if there is a crisis? How will you make sure they remain safe and as importantly how are they going to be able to travel to your event? What are the travel options?


If your kit was lost or damaged on the way to the event is there a local supplier that could help you at short notice? If you are hiring equipment make sure you understand where the insurance responsibilities begin and end.


What are your costs? When do you have to pay contractors/speakers? If the event doesn’t run are you still going need to pay suppliers?

Have you considered event cancellation insurance as protection (check with your insurance advisor or broker or company for full policy information) for your money? What is your cash flow looking like? Is there a danger of going out of business if you get the money side wrong?

In Summary – 3 Key Points

1) One crisis is not the only risk that is likely to affect your event.

2) Insurance should only ever be part of your overall Risk Management planning.

3) Disruptive crises are always present – so consider always the bigger picture.


For those organisations that have invested time in event and business continuity thinking their success is likely to continue in the face of adversity.

They have already undertaken risk analysis planning and mitigation measures and can really benefit as they are more able to deal with the inevitable changes that come along.


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