A salutary lesson for ticket promoters

December 8, 2020

The relationship between ticket promoters and venues has always been a complex one. Whether the venue or the promoter is responsible for arranging insurance can be hard to determine. 

Who needs to arrange insurance?

Ticket promoters are responsible for arranging the event. They put the whole thing together, including selling tickets and delivering a great experience. So, if something unexpected happens, it’s natural to assume the promoter would be responsible for arranging adequate insurance. 

However, many ticket promoters assume this falls under the responsibility of the venue. They’re hiring out the space – so surely this is accompanied by public liability insurance too? 

This all depends on what’s written in your contract. The contract should specify who’s responsible for purchasing each different type of insurance

Insurance policies to consider

Of course, public liability insurance is often the biggie. If a guest causes damage to the venue, or suffers an accident themselves, both parties should know who is responsible for the insurance cover. If this isn’t explicit, venues may argue that it’s the liability of the promoter – and vice versa. In many cases a venue won’t work with a promoter who doesn’t have adequate insurance in place. 

You should also think about who’s responsible for handling event cancellation. If the event is cancelled due to a problem with the venue, they should have the correct insurance policy in place to cover the event’s irrecoverable costs. However, promoters should also consider purchasing event cancellation insurance to cover themselves against other unforeseen circumstances. 

Event equipment is particularly important for both venues and promoters. If equipment is damaged by a staff member or guest, both parties should know who is responsible for liaising with their insurance company. Unless specified in a contract, venues may not be too keen on triggering their policy and paying a hefty excess for an event organised by and promoted by an external party. 

There are plenty of other different types of event insurance both venues and promoters should consider too. 

Case study: how ticket promoters can lose out without an insurance policy

Around a year ago, I was responsible for promoting tickets to a bonfire night event at a large corporate hotel. It was being arranged by a local charity that I’m a committee member of. We’d hired out the hotel’s outdoor space and a few of their function rooms. 

I used an online ticketing platform to sell tickets to the event, and within just a few weeks we’d sold out! 

The day of the event was a bit of a disaster. The charity and the hotel had both worked together to conduct risk assessments and we were confident the event would be able to go ahead safely. 

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side. We were caught in the middle of a storm and there was just no way we could safely light a bonfire or start up a firework display. The outdoor space was sodden and certainly too wet for people to congregate. 

Yet, at such short notice, we were in a pickle. The hotel had already accounted for additional staff members, who were ready on site. We’d ordered the food and drink we needed to serve our customers. The fireworks were at the venue ready to be lit. But, as we had to cancel the event, we were obliged to offer full refunds to all ticket purchasers.

This left us thousands of pounds in debt. We had, quite wrongly, assumed the venue would have their own insurance policy to cover them for their irrecoverable costs such as staffing or function room hiring fees. They were lovely and empathetic but, unfortunately, as we were in their view an external event provider, their insurance cover wouldn’t step in to foot the bill. Had it been an internal event, their insurance policy would have covered them. 

Looking over our contract

We checked over our contract with a fine tooth comb and the venue was right. The contract stipulated that we were responsible for arranging adequate insurance. We’d purchased public liability insurance. The venue required we show them a copy of our policy ahead of the event. But we never considered what would happen if bad weather hit. As we discussed it, we realised a lot could have gone wrong that we wouldn’t have been covered for. If one of our volunteers was injured during the event, or the equipment we’d hired in had been damaged, we would have been left footing the bill.

Learning from the mistake

The venue was particularly understanding. We were lucky. They allowed us to postpone our event hire to the following year, so we didn’t need to pay them the full costs of our hire. We did, however, have to use our own money to pay for perishables. It was an expensive mistake, and one we could have avoided if we’d known about Adverse Weather insurance. 

Check your contract

There isn’t a right or wrong, as long as you know where you stand. Whether you’re a ticketing platform, promoter, event organiser or venue – your contract should stipulate what your responsibilities are when it comes to arranging insurance. 

If you’d like to receive a quick, efficient insurance quote please use our easy online form. This’ll give you an instant idea of how much a comprehensive policy will cost – simple!

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