Archive for the ‘Event Insurance’ Category

Special Events May Require Special Coverage

Safety should be priority No. 1

Many for profit and not for profit organizations hold special events throughout the year. These can be tournaments, banquets, marathons, fundraisers, award ceremonies or simply family days that include fun activities and entertainment. A lot of planning and organization are required to ensure these events are successful. One element of the planning stage that should never be overlooked is determining whether your insurance program includes the coverage needed for a safe event for everyone involved – hosts, participants, volunteers, vendors and guests.

There are risks involved in hosting and managing special events that may require either added short-term or annual coverage. Beyond checking with your agent as to whether your event is adequately protected, below is a list of areas that require particular attention during the planning stages.


Vendors can include caterers, tent and equipment rentals, concessions, security, and parking attendants. It’s important to research your vendors well because poor service or a mishap on their part can spoil an entire event – think of the potential consequences of a collapsed tent or food poisoning. It’s critical that each of your vendors provide you with a valid certificate of insurance evidencing General Liability with a limit of at least $1 million each occurrence and that they can add your organization as an additional insured on their policy.


It’s not unheard of for the actual venue of an event to be a factor that causes an accident or injury claim. Stages can collapse, fire exits get blocked, and severe weather can trigger the need for fast evacuations. The more knowledge you have about the number of people attending the event, the electrical equipment needed, and potential for severe weather, the better prepared you will be. For indoor events, make sure you know the emergency protocols of the building, which includes knowing where all the fire extinguishers, exits and stairwells are located. For outdoor events, be sure the terrain and any light/sound rigging are properly installed. Monitor the weather in the days leading up to the event as well as during the event – storms can pop up unexpectedly with disastrous results. There are weather apps for smartphone that can alert you to severe weather watches and warnings.

Emergency Planning

Every event should have a unique emergency plan which all staff and volunteers receive and sign that they have read it. The emergency plan should include who has the authority to shut the event down or ask a vendor to vacate. Sudden storms, a shooter in the area, or a vendor with a lapsed permit are only a few examples of when someone may need to make an on-the-spot decision.  The emergency plan should also include a protocol for announcing a closing or changes in the event programming. It goes without saying that all event staff and volunteers should be familiar with the event emergency plan, to include medical emergencies, lost children, crime and severe weather.


Security often is something that tends to get “overlooked” because it doesn’t generate income. However, security should be considered an investment that reduces your risk of liability, which is just as good or even better than income. Below are some security tips that can make for a much safer event for everyone involved.

  • Volunteers are a great resource, but don’t use them for security enforcement purposes, such as dealing with unruly people, enforcing parking or alcohol regulations, or providing first aid. It’s best to have trained medical and law enforcement professionals handling these duties.
  • Using teachers, senior/varsity athletes and other community leaders is also not a good idea when it comes to maintaining order in the crowd. These temporary-authority figures aren’t always respected by others when they’re out of their element.
  • If you pay for professional security, don’t scrimp. Going with the cheapest security service may not be your wisest decision. Are their employees simply hired staff or trained personnel? Ask what types of sports events and what size crowds can they handle. Ask for examples of situations they managed to control and get references.

Sadler offers Special Event insurance and one of our insurance experts would be happy to help you determine what coverage your event needs. Call us today at (800) 622-7370 or simply request a quick special event insurance quote online now.

Food Safety in Concessions (Infographic)

Are you cooking up trouble?

Ants, bees, flies, rain, or wind can be annoying when enjoying a hot dog and soda at the ballpark. However, all of those pale in comparison to food poisoning, another outdoor food risk!

Indoor and outdoor sports organizations face liability risks from food poisoning incidents resulting from improper food handling at concession stands. These incidents should be covered by General Liability insurance. However, preventing such risks is preferable. Here are some tips for reducing the risk.

Management and purchases

• Concession stands must adhere to all local food licensing and permit laws and regulations.

• All concession workers should receive training in proper food handling by management.

• Only purchase food from reputable, good-quality sources.

• Do not purchase or serve any food past the expiration date.

• Avoid serving food prepared at home, other than baked goods.

Food Safety

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Food Handlers

• All concession workers must wash hands with soap and warm water after potential contamination events. These include but are not limited to using the restroom, sneezing or coughing,  touching counters and garbage cans, dumping garbage, touching cash register and money, and touching your face, mouth or hair

• Use of gloves and hand sanitizers offer hand additional protection, but are not a substitute for frequent hand washings.

• Food handlers be symptom-free of illness (coughing, sneezing or sniffling, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) or open wounds when handling food.

• Food handlers must use appropriate utensils, gloves, or deli paper when handling food.

Insects and Vermin

• Store all food off the floor.

• All food should be covered and spills/drips continually wiped down to discourage insects.

• Keep trash cans covered at all times?? with tight-fitting lids.


• Foods requiring refrigeration to be held at 40° F or lower until being served.

• Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator/freezer to ensure fridge is maintained a 40°F and freezer at 0°F.

• Perishable food should not sit out of refrigerator longer than two hours.


• Disposable utensils and paper products should be used to reduce cleaning and contamination.

• Do not wash or reuse disposable products.

• Sanitize and wipe down all food preparation surfaces and concession equipment frequently.

• Do not overfill garbage cans, and empty them frequently.

For more detailed food handling information, you can download our food risk management report.

Protecting your organization from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all sports and recreation organizations? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right sports and recreations insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Finding the right insurance coverage doesn’t have to be difficult. We at SADLER understand the specific needs and unique risks associated with your sports or recreation organization.

If you would like to learn more about liability prevention or are ready to get a customized insurance quote, you can apply online now or call us at 800-622-7370.

There are no obligations and most quotes are sent in just a few hours. With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, what have you got to lose?

  • Stadium Foods Present Unique Food Safety Risks: Part 1 And Part II; April 19, 2010; Richard J. Arsenault.
  • Food Safety Hints for Non-Profit Organizations and Schools; Fort Wayne-Allen County Department Of Health; Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
  • A Quick Consumer Guide to Safe Food Handling; University Of Minnesota; Feb. 4, 2009; Parts Adapted from Your Safe Food Handbook, USDA, Feb. 2008.

New Technology Enhances Event Security

Game Changers

We all know about game changers. Sometimes it’s a certain player, a momentum swing, the venue or fans, and other times it’s an event that makes us stop and rethink our views on one particular topic or another. The bombings at this year’s Boston Marathon qualify as a game changer.

It’s often a catastrophe that makes us re-evaluate our priorities. In the case of the Boston Bombings, we have been forced to address our personal safety and the safety of participants at sporting events.

Increasing event security

In attempts to strengthen event security at its football games, the NFL recently banned spectators from bringing in purses, coolers, backpacks and other miscellany. Some view this as overkill, while others view it as the natural evolution in the continual ramp up of security measures in a volatile setting.

The tech revolution

The technology boom is also helping to strengthen event security. While closed-circuit television is still the industry’s main method, it is the use of cellphones that has been most beneficial in enforcing safety regulations at sporting events, and not just among event staff. Many venues advertise a number for spectators to text or call if other patrons become unruly or are acting suspicious. And did you know there are apps available for reporting security issues? Fans may now anonymously submit complaints/observations using ISS 24/7 (or other) software. Game changer!

In addition to security hotlines, social media has helped to police patrons at sporting events. People love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many sports teams and event management companies have learned to use these tools to their advantage. They post on their accounts to spread the word of inclement weather, evacuation notices and other pertinent information.

Smartphones are good for more than just checking your Twitter feed. They are also important in documenting fan behavior at games, both good and bad.  In a world where anyone can be famous on the Internet, staying on your best behavior can mean the difference between YouTube fame and infamy.

Source: Kelly Martin,  “Safety and Security: Changing your game for the better,” Sports Destination Management. Sept./Oct. 2013.

Aftermath of the Boston Attack

Looking at the impact on Sports Event Insurance

The Boston Marathon terrorist attack has sent shock waves through the sports event insurance industry, creating uncertainty about whether certain event coverages will be offered and at what limits. At a minimum, terrorism premiums for high-risk events are expected to skyrocket.

After the 9/11 terrorist attack, underwriters responded with enhanced risk management for arenas and stadiums. However, closed venues are much easier to secure than open events such as a marathon that has a 26.2 mile course.

The 9/11 attacks also resulted in private insurance carriers excluding terrorism coverage under General Liability policies, which was picked up by the federal government for a buyback of less than 5% of private insurance premiums in most cases. After 9/11, the terrorism coverage buyback was typically only purchased by larger event promoters in major population centers. However, the Boston attack has given rise to speculation that the terrorism buyback will become much more expensive and many smaller event promoters outside of the major population centers will be interested in its purchase.

The next question is what type of liability event promoters and organizers have in the first place to prevent terrorist attacks. At first glance, event security against terrorist attacks would primarily be a matter for law enforcement. However, event promoters and organizers can have liability for not implementing risk management controls and coordinating with law enforcement. The industry will undoubtedly respond with enhanced risk management requirements based on the lessons learned from the Boston attack.

Source:  “Boston Attack Leads Sports-Event Insurers To Reassess Business,” Aaron Kuriloff and Mason Levinson.  April 17, 2013.

The Athletic Participant Exclusion

Difficult to understand in context of special events or competitions

General Liability policies often include an Athletic or Sports Participants to exclude exposure for sports activities that may occur at special events for nonprofit associations and corporate picnics. However, the wording in this exclusion is unclear and can lead to surprising results when interpreted by claims departments and courts.

The exclusion states that the insurance policy does not cover “bodily injury to any person while practicing for or participating in any contest or exhibition of an athletic or sports nature sponsored by the named insured.” The two most common issues are determining whether a particular activity is an athletic or sports contest and what is meant by Athletic Participant Exclusion“practicing for or participating in.”

Unfortunately, most policy versions of this exclusion do not define these terms, and court decisions are all over the board in rulings. Here are examples of how various courts have ruled:

  •  A rodeo event where participants attempted to remove ribbons from a bull’s horn was found to qualify as a contest of an athletic or sports nature since the participants were engaged in physical activity for pleasure. The Oklahoma court instructed that the word “contest” means a competition or struggle for victory and “sports” is defined as physical activity engaged in for pleasure.
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that cheerleading activities during a football game did not constitute a sports contest since cheerleading was ancillary to the real sporting event – the football game.
  • A New Mexico court ruled that a jockey was not practicing for a horse race while exercising a racehorse. The court reasoned that “practicing” means the same act or acts required for success in the sport in question or at least so similar as to develop the particular capabilities and skills essential to success. Furthermore, the risks accompanying practice must be the same as those faced by a participant in an actual competition.
  • A Louisiana court ruled that a football team’s school-supervised, off-season weight-lifting program was not practicing football since practicing for football involved running of plays, passing, blocking, tackling, etc.
  • A Michigan court ruled that a referee was not a participant in a hockey game because a participant is “actively involved in the contest either individually or jointly with team members, but the referee has “an uninvolved role and is responsible for the application of the rules to the contest.”

Where the exclusion is present, what would the claims department of the insurance carrier or the courts decide in the event of an injury at a company sponsored fishing tournament? This question was recently posted to the Big I University faculty in their April, 2012 online publication. The faculty members were divided on the predicted outcome.

Based on the lack of definitions in the Athletic or Sports Participants Exclusion and the unpredictability of the above rulings, policyholders should always assume that the exclusion removes all coverage for anything similar to an athletic event or practice unless written clarification has been received from the underwriter or claims department of the carrier.

 Source: A Closer Look at Tricky Coverage Issues; Robert Redfearn, Jr.; Insurance Journal; Sept. 3, 2007

Super Bowl Insurance and Risk Management

More at risk than the main event

Special sport events insuranceSuper Bowl fans are likely unaware of the risk exposures of the event and those extending far beyond the venue’s gates. Planning of an event the size and scope of a Super Bowl begins years in advance. The types of insurance policies typically needed for a Super Bowl-type of event are spread among multiple insurance carriers and include the following:

  • General Liability and Excess (limits may exceed $100 million)
  • Property
  • Media Liability
  • Event Cancellation
  • Weather Insurance

And there are Super Bowl exposures that require risk management controls:

  • The event itself, including field, stands, and surrounding parking lots for the normal exposures of slip/trip/fall, crowd management, and security
  • Preparation for potential terrorist attacks, including prevention and response
  • Halftime show with all the people on stage and fireworks
  • Pre-game airplane flyover
  • Adverse weather that prevents participant and ticketholder arrivals and departures, including postponement and cancellation contingency plans.
  • Surrounding activities such as pep rallies, parties, entertainment events, etc.
  • Collapse and other liability resulting from temporary event structures such as stages, bleachers, platforms, tents etc.
Source: Planners Tackle Super Bowl Risks, Rodd Zolkos, Business Insurance, January 30, 2012

Marathon, Triathlon, Walkathon

Expect the Unexpected

I came across an excellent article entitled Insurance: Expecting the Unexpected on the sports insurance and risk management considerations of hosting a sporting event such as a marathon, triathlon, or walking event. The article is presented in a way that is easy for the layperson to understand and includes plenty of real life injury examples.

The insurance coverages discussed include Accident, General Liability, Workers’ Compensation,  Equipment, Business Auto, and Event Cancellation and Weather insurance.

The risk management techniques discussed include participant waiver/release forms, collecting certificates of insurance from vendors, first aid stations, EMT, and review of contracts.