You might be surprised to learn that many insurance companies who offer general liability coverage for event planners are not what they seem.
Do you know what your policy covers? Do you know what your insurance company considers allowable risk? Are you aware of restrictions in your policy that may require you to change the way you do business?
I have owned my own company for nine years. I bought general liability insurance and professional liability insurance from the same company since 2006. However, when I completed the application for renewal this year, I was rejected.
WHAT, NO COVERAGE? First, I was informed that because we sign contracts directly with vendors and venues, our company was no longer eligible for general liability renewal. What?!?
To my knowledge, most companies in the world sign contracts with vendors and venues at some point. I pointed this out and gave many specific examples and was told that no insurance company would offer us coverage and that we “needed to change the way we run our business.” What?!?
Second, I was told that the general liability I had only covered my planning services like a consultant and did not cover the events themselves. What?!?
I explained that general liability by definition should cover issues that may arise during an event such as someone falling. Our planning services are covered by professional liability insurance. They explained that I was mistaken and I was sick to learn that for nine years, my events had not been covered as I thought they were.
NOPE, NO COVERAGE I launched into a five-day research project, contacting more than 20 insurance companies that offer policies for the event industry. Each company told me the same thing: they only cover a planner’s “consulting”--not the event--and planners cannot sign contracts and be covered. I was floored!
I emailed my event planner friends across the country asking them who they use for insurance and received many responses. As I contacted those insurance companies; many said the same thing or they explained that they were dissolving the event industry insurance plans in 2015. Finally, I found a great company who answered all my questions and wholeheartedly agreed that I could run my business as I wanted, sign contracts with vendors and venues, and purchase general liability insurance that covers the events and not just my planning services! Yahoo!!!
Needless to say, I purchased a $2 million general liability policy and a $1 million professional liability policy with the company. And--it was $200 cheaper per year than I paid before for no coverage! I read every detail of the policy contract to ensure I wasn’t being “sold” and it confirmed exactly what I needed.
Please take time to read your policy and contact your insurance agent to ensure you have the correct coverage you need. I thought I did and although it was a hassle, I am so glad for this experience. I learned a lot and now I have the peace of mind that I am properly insured! If you have more questions, contact me…I’m happy to share!
Tami Forero is a strategic event planner and CEO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based company Forté Events. With 22 years of event planning experience, she helps clients meet goals using experiential events and is a sought-after speaker across the U.S. on the subjects of sales, work-life balance and profitability.
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