Public liability insurance is a smart safeguard against the various risks of running an event.
Public liability insurance is one of the many forms of business insurance offered to business owners. It provides an essential form of cover against claims of legal liability resulting from negligence.
When you run a business that deals with clients and/or the general public, you are exposed to a unique range of risks. For example, a customer could slip on a recently mopped floor and injure themselves, and then decide to sue you for compensation. Defending yourself against these claims can be time consuming, stressful and very expensive.
Receive liability insurance quotes from these direct insurance brandsBut this is where public liability insurance for events comes in. If as a result of your business’ activities a third party suffers an injury or property damage, public liability insurance covers any legal and medical costs that may arise. Importantly, this type of cover will also look after any compensation that you are liable to pay.
Liability lawsuits are becoming more common and some compensation payouts can be in excess of a million dollars. Public liability insurance is essential cover for many businesses, offering the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have adequate protection in place should you need it.
Taking out public liability insurance for events
If you work in event management, taking out public liability is a wise financial decision. Events can be crowded and all it takes is one thing to go wrong for you to find yourself the subject of an expensive lawsuit.
However, many insurance providers offer public liability and other insurance policies that are specifically designed for event managers. If you are legally liable for any injury or property damage suffered by a third party, these policies can provide the protection you need. In fact, some venues make it a mandatory requirement for event managers to have some form of liability cover in place before they can put on an event.
If a member of the public is injured at an event due to your negligence, public liability insurance for events will cover you. As well as legal and medical costs, this type of policy will also cover any compensation you are required to pay.
Some of the following people and events can be covered:
- Event promoters
- Event project managers
- Market organisers
- Events such as concerts, conferences, parties, functions, sporting events, expos, cultural events, etc
- Dance and drama
- Recording studios
- Stage managers
- Live workshops
- Martial Arts and Contact Sport events
Planning on holding a one-off event in the not-too-distant future? You can buy single-event public liability insurance cover to provide protection for the duration of your festival, meeting, fundraiser or exhibition. If you only organise an event occasionally, this type of cover allows you to find affordable protection.
The types of single events you can cover include:
- Annual general meetings
- Award functions and presentations
- Business conferences
- Charity balls and gala dinners
- Charity breakfasts, lunches, dinners, morning teas and afternoon teas
- Corporate functions
- Art exhibitions
- Community fairs
- Community markets
- Concerts and musical performances
- Food and wine festivals
- Cultural festivals
- Trivia nights
If you work as an event manager or stage manager and you organise more than one event per year, it may be more cost-effective to purchase annual event cover rather than a policy for each separate event.
Annual policies provide public liability cover for all the events you manage over a 12-month period. Even if those events only take place during a short space of time, such as if you hold a few events over the summer months, buying an annual policy still works out cheaper than buying separate cover for each event.
Annual public liability cover also provides increased flexibility. If you decide to add an additional festival or meeting to your regular events calendar, it will already be covered by your annual policy.
If you want to add extra coverage to your public liability insurance in order to tailor protection for your event, you have the flexibility to include the following additional options:
- Event cancellation cover. If your event has to be cancelled, interrupted or postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, this policy option covers your expenses and lost revenue. For example, if you need to cancel a festival due to poor weather, this policy can provide cover.
- Equipment cover. This option provides worldwide cover for event-related equipment such as sound and lighting, audiovisual, and entertainment and musical equipment. You can cover the relevant equipment while in use, in storage and in transit.
- Voluntary workers cover. If the success of your event depends on the help and assistance provided by volunteer workers, this optional extra provides personal accident cover for those volunteers.
Do I need public liability insurance cover for events?
You might think that public liability insurance is an unnecessary expense, something that eats up money that could be better spent elsewhere.
By their very nature, events expose you to a wide range of risks — any event where you’re in close contact with members of the general public, especially in large numbers, you increase your level of risk.
Even if you think you have eliminated all the possible risks, all it takes is a minor error or omission and you could find yourself in a difficult situation. A customer could slip and fall or machinery could malfunction and injure a passer-by.
If you think the money you’re required to pay for public liability insurance premiums is too much, think about how much a protracted legal battle might cost. What about if a court ruled that you had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to a third party? Would you be able to continue trading?
In some parts of Australia, public liability insurance for events is required by some organisers. Similarly, some event venues will also make it a requirement for organisers to have cover in place to protect themselves from financial loss.
It’s possible to take out public liability insurance cover for a wide range of events including:
- Food and wine festivals
- Community fairs
- Art exhibitions
- Garden shows
- Car shows
- Cultural festivals
- Sporting events.
What protection does public liability insurance provide?
Public liability insurance offers essential cover for a wide range of events, from flower and garden shows to music festivals and business conferences. The NSW Government’s Office of Fair Trading defines this cover as, “Insurance under which the insurer agrees to indemnify the insured for legal liability owed to another person who suffers loss or damage by reason of the insured's activities.” In other words, if your negligence causes injury or property damage to a third party, this type of cover protects you against any costs which may result.
How much cover do I need?
Policies typically have limits of indemnity of $10 million or $20 million, offering ample cover for legal costs. Having public liability cover in place means that instead of needing to have a sizable emergency, you simply pay your insurer a much smaller annual sum to manage the risk for you.
What is covered?
If a customer or event attendee claims that your negligence resulted in them suffering a loss and decides to sue you, public liability insurance covers your legal and associated costs. In addition, if you are deemed legally liable and have to pay compensation, your policy will cover that as well.
Product’s liability cover
Many policies will also include product’s liability cover, which is important insurance if you are selling any products at your event. This type of cover protects you in cases where a product you sell causes injury or property damage to a third party, for example if an event attendee gets food poisoning after chowing down on a dodgy hot dog.
Things to know when choosing public liability insurance for events
As mentioned above, public liability policies include a limit of indemnity. You can choose how much cover you want when taking out a policy, with typical limits including $5 million, $10 million and $20 million. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re aware of any excess you might have to pay when making a claim, as this can obviously contribute to the overall cost of your insurance policy.
Just like with any other form of insurance, public liability policies also feature a range of exclusions. Fireworks or pyrotechnics are often excluded from cover, while claims relating to injury or property damage caused by amusement rides will also typically not be paid. In these cases, it may be necessary to sub-contract fireworks and amusement rides to reduce your risk. Make sure to read the fine print when taking out cover so that you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Finally, it’s also essential your event has been planned and designed in a way that minimises public risk. If deliberate neglect means your event is not a safe environment, your policy will be void.Back to top
Steps to manage an event properly and minimise risks
A crucial part of planning a successful event is ensuring you have effective strategies in place to minimise risk. A risk management plan is designed to identify all the potential risks your event is exposed to and then suggest how the organisers can lessen the likelihood of those risks occurring.
You’ll need to consider a range of issues when putting together a risk management plan including:
- How many people will be attending the event?
- Are there any inherent risks present at the event venue?
- Will there be infrastructure brought onto the event site?
- Will there be any moving vehicles on the event site?
- Is there anything at the venue that could become dangerous in the event of inclement weather?
It’s also important to develop an evacuation an emergency plan. This will include determining who is responsible for ensuring a safe evacuation, as well as where to evacuate to and whether emergency services need to be notified of any possible risks in advance.
Planning and running an event exposes you to a wide range of unique risks. However, finding the right form of public liability insurance cover for your needs will ensure that you have adequate protection in place should something go wrong.Back to top