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With more and more events making the switch to virtual, event organisers today are having to deal with a whole new set of considerations and risks. Many of the risk factors involved in running in-person events still apply to virtual events – but there are also many other things organisers may not have considered before.
We spoke to the experts at Event Insurance Services to understand more about the top insurance concerns around virtual events and what key areas organisers should think about before taking their next event online.
Coverage for Virtual Events: What Do I Need?
Events have always required comprehensive insurance policies. With so many different cogs turning at once, and so much going into a single occasion, there’s a lot that can go wrong. With virtual events, the situation isn’t all that different. But the core insurance policies required are. Here’s why.
Virtual events require their own specific insurance policies, which differ from the ones that would’ve ordinarily be taken out for traditional, live events. Some aspects of live event coverage are redundant when an event goes online. For example, public liability isn’t usually needed as this covers risks involving damage to third party property or persons. Something which is unlikely to occur as a result of a virtual event.
Some aspects of cancellation policies might not be required, either. For instance, virtual events are seldom cancelled as a result of bad weather, so this can usually be safely removed from policies.
Employers’ liability remains a statutory requirement for all companies and organisations, however. Any company organising its own virtual event would still need this coverage, but this is something that professional companies should already have in place, so it should not be cause for concern.
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Knowing the Risks Involved in Virtual Events
Virtual events might, at first glance, appear to be a relatively risk-free exercise. But that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, virtual events can fall foul of certain exposures, and if these situations do arise it can quickly mean the end of the event.
Typical risks involved in organising a virtual event include lawsuits, especially in the case of virtual athletic events and other online sports. Other problems might include no-shows. If a virtual event’s main draw is a speaker, and the speaker then isn’t available on the day, then this can be devastating for all involved.
Transmission disputes are another key concern for virtual event organisers, and these are hugely important. If any problems arise during transmission resulting in inadequate sound, video or both, then ticket holders could soon be clamouring for refunds.
Contingency Policies: What are They and Do They Apply to Virtual Events?
We often hear talk of contingency policies in relation to live events, but these are now being adapted to meet the needs of virtual events.
Contingency policies designed for online events tend to target the subject of transmission failure, particularly if this results in the disruption or cancellation of an event. These policies are now proving vital for large-scale, paid-for virtual events, such as corporate conferences, comedy shows and online gigs.
Speakers have always been one of the main attraction of conferences and events, and this hasn’t changed as a result of the switch to virtual events. If anything, it’s become even more important.
For many events, the speaker is absolutely key to the entire occasion. If the person in question isn’t able to speak, the entire event may need to be cancelled or postponed. So, it’s vital that policies are secured in advance to protect organisers from the financial repercussions of such a circumstance.
Historically, insurance coverage for live events has tended to include clauses to protect against speaker cancellations and no-shows, so these policies may well still be applicable for virtual events. But it’s worth looking into whether or not any agreed policies cover no-shows for online events, and if any additional coverage is required.
In most cases, contracts signed with speakers will also include clauses protecting against cancellations or no-shows on the day of the event.
Traditional event cancellation insurance tends to cover a whole range of factors which could cause the cancellation of an event, from damage to the venue to bad weather. Other risk factors covered usually include threats posed to the venue itself, and threats targeting the audience. Of course, for virtual events none of these exposures will apply, which means that traditional cancellation insurance isn’t ordinarily required for such occasions.
Transmission Failure Insurance
The quality of transmission is a huge concern for those organising virtual events, and it’s vital that insurance policies properly protect against any issues relating to this.
Transmission failure insurance is a relatively new form of coverage, which has emerged in response to the upsurge in online events we’ve seen recently. The coverage comes into play if an event is cancelled or disrupted as a result of any transmission failures, whether they cause short hiccoughs in live streaming or the complete collapse of the transmission.
Policies relating to transmission failure provide financial protection from the impact of first-party losses, such as organisational costs, expenses and revenue ticket sales.
Event Liability Insurance
Event liability insurance applies to virtual events, just as it would to live ones. Accidental damage and injury can occur in some virtual events, so it’s worth looking into the risks involved in this and making sure your event is properly covered.
Virtual races are a potentially risky occasion, and will therefore require full event liability insurance. Public liability insurance may also be applicable, particularly if organisers are concerned about potential third-party damage.
Virtual Event Insurance: Best Practices
Getting the correct insurance coverage is a vital part of organising an event, and this hasn’t changed with the switch to virtual events. While virtual events do have fewer exposures than large-scale live conferences, festivals and gigs, they aren’t without their risk factors.
Insurance policies for virtual events should therefore be written with online events in mind, ensuring that they provide full coverage for the specific risks that apply to these occasions. It is, of course, entirely possible to hold some virtual events without insurance in place. But we would never advise this!
With the huge amount of time, effort and money that goes into organising a virtual event, there’s plenty that can go wrong. And if things don’t go according to plan, insurance policies can potentially save the day. So, make sure your next virtual event is fully covered and protected from every possible risk. That way you’ll be free to unleash your creativity and put on a next level virtual event, safe in the knowledge that every possible outcome has been planned for.
Considering virtual events? Eventsforce VCD is a fully integrated virtual event platform that can support you with registration, live streaming, remote speaker management, networking and engagement with virtual sponsors and exhibitors. Book a demo or get in touch with the team to see how we can help!