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Aug 26, 2011

Event Insurance - Part 1

IEEE maintains General Liability Insurance which provides coverage for IEEE Financially Sponsored and Co-Sponsored Conferences. This insurance coverage is maintained by IEEE to protect its financial interest in the event of a claim in which IEEE is found to be liable. The policy is automatically extended to cover your conference as soon as the Conference Information Schedule is approved by IEEE. IEEE does not carry event cancellation insurance; however conferences can purchase individual policies.

Event Cancellation Insurance was a hot topic in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The meeting planning and insurance industries worked together to develop products and services to make sure PCOs and the organizations they represent have the kinds of protection they need. Since then there have been many changes.

In light of the recent natural disasters and political upheaval around the world, the topic of event insurance has become popular again.

What will event insurance cover?

Event insurance can cover everything from lost revenue and out-of-pocket expenses to refund attendee and exhibitor registration fees. In some cases event insurance could cover attrition penalties as well as nonrefundable expenses. The circumstances that event insurance protection would cover any or all of these expenses are very few.

As disasters have stimulate demand, insurance providers have narrowed the scope of what a event cancellation policy includes and put caps on the amount of damages that can be collected. Insurance companies are more careful, for instance, since the SARS epidemic happened, you can no longer get coverage for epidemics. Also, cancellation policies usually have limitations that do not cover meetings held after a certain amount of time has elapsed following a disaster. A conference scheduled to occur in a location hit by a hurricane more than 12 months prior will not be protected even if the hotels are gone and the airport is unusable.

Event insurance that applies to meetings derailed because of terrorist acts has come under especially close scrutiny. Many policies are written so that they only cover a disaster happening in the meeting locale. The problem is that a major terrorism event in Europe can affect a U.S. meeting if it makes people disinclined to get on airplanes.

Cancellation policies have become more specific in regard to terrorism, usually offering several levels of coverage, ranging from no coverage to full coverage that pertains to any act of terrorism, whenever and wherever it takes place.

Full coverage is preferred, but it is very expensive; partial coverage is a more popular option, albeit one with a lot of restrictions. For example with partial coverage, the act of terrorism must occur within 25 miles of the meeting venue, the meeting must be scheduled to take place within 30 days of the terrorism event and there is a $250,000 cap payout.

SPS conferences have not purchased additional insurance in recent years because IEEE maintains General Liability Insurance and because the cost of additional insurance can be very costly.