Any event organiser, promoter or ticket seller ought to consider event insurance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re charging money for tickets, running a Halloween event for charity or keeping the whole thing low key. If members of the public are attending your event, or you have volunteers and staff members on hand to help, you need to make sure you’re covered.
We don’t mean to be scaremongers, but without a comprehensive insurance policy in place you could be left liable for hefty compensation fees and legal costs.
We spoke to Caitlin Potts, an event organiser based here in the UK. She tells us how her Halloween charity event turned into a real-life nightmare…
My Halloween event gave me a real scare
I was hosting a Halloween open mic event for charity a few years ago. As I am just an independent event organiser – I don’t host huge events, just one or two small charity events each year – I didn’t think I needed insurance. To be honest, I didn’t even consider it.
As a local pub allowed me to hire their upstairs function room for free, I assumed the event would be covered under their insurance policy. I now know that, because I was responsible for risk assessing, promoting and organising the event, I was also liable for arranging my own insurance – or at least checking with the venue what I ought to do.
About the event
Around 200 people attended the event throughout the event, which ran from around 7pm until 11pm. It was a great night! People dressed up as ghosts and ghouls and took their turn on the mic. We had spooky stories, stand-up comedy, classic Halloween songs and even a bit of poetry. Everyone supported one another and we saw plenty of people socialising and making new friends.
As with every event held in a pub, I expected a few people to be a little worse for wear. I was pleasantly pleased to discover most people I spoke to had driven in, so the majority of event attendees were sober. Still, that doesn’t stop accidents from happening.
I’d set out the chairs in cabaret style. Tables of six dotted around the room, with the main stage area the focus of the event.
Looking back, the tables were far too close together which made it difficult for those at the far end of the room to access the bar and toilets without shuffling past people. And, of course, guests moved the chairs around a little bit so they could get the best view.
What happened next…
When we took a break, one of the event attendees tripped over a chair leg that had been left stuck out. He took a nasty fall and spilt his drink all over the floor and a bit of the wall behind him. Luckily it was white wine rather than red, so it didn’t take too long to clear up and the venue didn’t charge me for it! I did learn afterwards that, if they’d had to redecorate, replace carpets or call in a professional cleaning company it would have been my responsibility to pay for it all!
Of course I made sure the guest was okay. But he was struggling to walk so one of his housemates came to pick him up. I gave him my number and recorded the details of the accident. Fortunately, it was just a sprain and he didn’t decide to sue me for compensation.
If both the venue and the guest in question had have pursued a claim I could have been liable for tens of thousands of pounds. Physical damage, compensation, legal fees… the list goes on. All because another one of my guests didn’t tuck their chair back in when they went to the bar.
Though I’d obviously considered my event’s risk to be very low, I hadn’t put anything in writing. There was no risk assessment or documented evidence to suggest I’d done my due diligence. I’d simply placed the chairs out where I saw fit, and hadn’t considered potential consequences. It’s almost certain that, if the situation had escalated, I would have been found negligent and required to pay out.
Thankfully I wasn’t sued. But I still had many sleepless nights and intense anxiety over the future and what could have happened. If I’d had insurance from Insure Our Event, I would have had peace of mind.
Now, I’m confident my future events are covered. I complete a risk assessment and make sure I’ve done all I can to keep risks to a minimum. Hopefully an accident won’t occur but, if it does, I won’t be personally liable for any of the associated costs. I can rely on my insurance provider to look after me.
Don’t be left with a Trick this Halloween
You mustn’t be complacent when it comes to arranging insurance. Are you planning small-scale events this year, or even looking ahead to 2021? You can always rely on Insure Our Event to provide the event insurance you need.