Will coronavirus impact my event?

March 6, 2020

It’s likely you’ve heard all about coronavirus and its potential impact on events in the UK and abroad. With more and more people reluctant to travel and attend events which could expose them to crowds, it’s no wonder event professionals are wondering how much the virus will impact them. In some cases, Governments and health organisations have cancelled events that bring large gatherings of people together.

Unfortunately, your insurance policy will not cover you for low ticket sales, loss of attraction or decreased footfall. If a manifestation or occurrence of coronavirus happens at your event and you are forced to cancel, or a competent authority shuts down your event, you may be covered. However, you should check your individual policy wording and speak with your insurer or broker if you have any questions.

What happens if my event is cancelled?

If you need to cancel an event, your customers will be entitled to a full refund. Additional costs, such as postage and booking fees, may not need to be reimbursed.

Whether your insurance policy will cover the cancellation will depend on the circumstances. For example, some policies may cover you if a Government or competent authority shuts down your event or enforces a cancellation. You may also be covered for communicable diseases if they occur at your event – though coronavirus is likely to be excluded. It’s important to check the Terms & Conditions of your policy, and speak to your insurer or broker directly if you have any questions.

Instead of focusing on the ‘what ifs’, focus on the ‘what nows’

You can’t predict what’s going to happen, or how coronavirus will impact your event. Instead, you should focus your energies on creating a risk management plan:

  • Communicate with your employees

Anyone working at your event, including volunteers or suppliers, should be aware of what to do if they become ill whilst working at your event, are advised to self-isolate or contract coronavirus.

You should also ensure all contact details, including emergency contacts, are kept up to date. Key individuals should be responsible for remaining updated on the latest reports and advice, and responsible for cascading this information to the rest of your team.

  • Take health precautions

This applies to both staff and attendees. Signage should be displayed throughout your venue / site clearly stating good hygiene practices for guests. You should make sure you have adequate facilities to support this practice, such as hand sanitiser and tissues available.

You should also remind both staff and attendees to stay at home if people feel unwell, and to isolate themselves immediately if they believe they are at risk. Staff, particularly those handling food or drink, should not work if they feel unwell and should take the advice of NHS professionals by calling 111.

  • Prioritise risk management

Display hygiene information in communal areas, such as advising staff to regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Provide hand sanitiser and tissues, and regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

  • Prepare for changes

You may need to operate your event with fewer members of staff, provide additional break out areas or even change venue or suppliers last-minute. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place that clearly states what your back-ups and alternatives will be should the worst happen. You can’t always plan for every eventually, but it’s important to be prepared.

  • Working remotely

It’s obvious your event can’t happen remotely but planning for it can. Put measures in place to allow your team to work from home to plan and organise your event.

Looking for more information on coronavirus and its impact on insurance policies?

If you have specific questions about your policy or would like to chat to the team, get in touch!

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