Insurance for Event Organisers – What do I need to know?
  1. Screen_Shot_2013-10-14_at_2.49.41_PMPublic Liability cover is always needed – The main insurance you will need is public liability insurance. There may be a requirement placed on you by a county/town council to have a certain level of cover if you are using public land for your event but the standard “limit of indemnity” is €6,500,000 which covers you for all accidents arising from a single event which affect members of the public. The cost of this insurance will largely be dictated by your turnover or the number of people attending and for how long, as well as your claims record. This figure should always be accurately declared as under-stating it may jeopardise your insurance cover.
  2. Employer’s Liability, double check if it’s required – If you have any employees you will need employer’s liability insurance. Even if you are not paying the people working on your behalf Irish insurance law may dictate that you have the same responsibilities towards them. You should discuss this with your insurance broker if you are unsure. The cost of this insurance would be based on the wageroll or number of people working for you, as well as your claims record, and should always be accurately declared.
  3. High risk activities may not be covered – If you have any activities which are particularly high risk such as mechanical rides, horse-riding, bouncing castles or fireworks these may not be covered by your insurance policy. These should be operated by responsible third party contractors and you should ensure the contractor has appropriate insurances in place and that an indemnity is provided by their policy.
  4. Conditions and exclusions read your policy! – All policies are issued with conditions and exclusions. You should be able to recognise these stated on your policy schedule or within your policy document. Ask your broker to highlight anything they feel is particularly relevant to you as if you do not comply with conditions your cover may be invalid and if you are unaware of exclusions you may allow activities to proceed which your insurance will not cover you for.
  5. Information – send as much as possible – Your insurance cover can often by jeopardised by failing to declare accurate information to your insurers. When arranging cover provide as much information as possible, event management plans, safety statements etc as the information will then be with your insurer and the onus is on them to advise you if they have an issue with anything proposed.
  6. Hiring equipment can be more expensive than you think! – Hired in equipment, stands or other high value items may only be lent to you on the condition you arrange appropriate insurance for them. Discuss what you are looking to hire and the terms of the contract you may have to sign before agreeing to do this as some requirements it may not be possible to insure leaving your festival liable.
  7. Limit your liability – Where possible incorporate your organisation so as to limit your liability. If a group has simply come together to organise an event and do not form a limited company if a claim against the group is not covered by the insurance policy arranged then the individuals involved could be found personally liable.
  8. Ensure people know what they’re doing – The largest single cause of claims is that people are made responsible for activities that they do not fully understand and as a result mismanage them. If qualifications are needed or recommended for running certain elements of your event then bring in people with the appropriate expertise. Do not accept half measures as ultimately this is not just about insurance and finances but about ensuring the safety of the people attending or involved in your event.

 

imagesGareth Ball – ODON Insurance

 

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Process for applying for an Event Licence

The Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 require Event Organisers (Promoters) who intend on staging a ‘large’ event to follow the following steps when applying for an event licence:

1.    Place a public notification in one local and one national newspaper – this must be done no more than two weeks before the submission of an application to the Local Authority.
2.    Submit the application to the relevant Planning Department in the Local Authority – applications must be submitted at least 10 weeks prior to the date of the event.
3.    The application must be accompanied by the following:
a.       An actual copy of each public notification.
b.       Written consent from the Landowner (if the event is not taking place on public property).
c.       Draft Management Plan which must be prepared in accordance with the appropriate codes of practice.
d.      Statutory €2,500 fee.

Why should you apply for a licence?

If you believe that your event attendance is going to exceed 5,000 attendees (at any one time) you should absolutely apply for an Event Licence.  It has been common practice for Event Organisers (Promoters) to avoid applying for a licence by stating that they are expecting an audience of under 4,999 at any one time – this can lead to dire repercussions.  In the case that there is an incident at your event and it is proven afterwards that there were 5,000+ attendees on site at the time it can affect your insurance policy and the Event Organiser (Promoter) could be found to be negligent.

When should you apply for a licence?

While the regulations state that you should apply for an event licence a minimum of 16 weeks in advance of the event some local authorities e.g. Dublin CIty Council will accept applications up to 12 weeks in advance of the event.  You can, of course, apply for the licence well in advance of 16 weeks for larger events that will require a longer consultation process.  This is particularly applicable if it is a large scale public event taking place in a public space.

What are the costs?

The standard costs are as follows:

  • You will have to pay an Event Licence application fee of €2,500 (as stated above) to the relevant local authority.
  • You will have to place an advertisement in the planning sections of both a national and a local newspaper – €2,200 (approx).
  • You will most likely need to employ a Fire Safety Consultant along with an Event Controller, Safety Officer, Medical Officer and, possibly some additional personnel depending on the event requirements.

Any additional costs will depend on the size and type of event.  It is advised that Event Organisers arrange meetings with all the relevant stakeholders no later than 6 months prior to the event. When Event Organisers are preparing event budgets they have to consider the potential costs that will be associated with requests from the relevant stakeholders. For example, an Event Organiser / Controller may believe that a certain amount of toilets are sufficient while a representative from the Health Service Executive may request additional facilities. Similarly, An Garda Síochána may request more crowd control barriers, security personnel etc.

If Event Organisers have not taken potential additional costs into consideration they may overrun their budget. This poses particular risks for amateur Event Organisers as they may not be familiar with all the public safety requirements for their event in advance of the application process.  They may also not be aware of the time and resources that are required by their event management team in order to comply with Statutory Agency and Prescribed Bodies’ requests. As such, Event Organisers should initiate a series of pre-planning, pre-event, and post event meetings between the relevant stakeholders and the Event Organiser’s key personnel from the event management team (e.g. Event Controller and Safety Officer). Each of the Statutory Agencies and Prescribed Bodies has a public safety remit with regard to events and have a particular interest in the provision of certain services (e.g. public welfare facilities).

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