26th May 2010
Event organisers 'reassessing insurance options because of ash cloud'
The consequences of the ash cloud have greatly changed how organisers are thinking about events, according to Mark Blair, divisional director at events insurance provider Towergate Coverex...
The consequences of the ash
cloud have greatly changed how organisers are thinking about events, according
to Mark Blair, divisional director at events
insurance provider Towergate Coverex.
A couple of months ago, few people would have
considered how an erupting volcano could grind
to a halt. Yet, as the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull spewed ash into the air
leaving the continent a no-fly zone, many event organisers were left assessing
the fate of planned conferences and festivals. Some, such as Showtime Music which had hoped to stage a music festival in
but to cancel out of the fear that people would not be able to get to the
The effects of the volcanic ash will have a
long-lasting impact on the events industry, according to Mark Blair, who works
as a divisional
director at events insurance provider Towergate Coverex.
"I think the biggest thing that happened with the
volcanic ash was that if you asked an organiser to list anything that could
possibly go wrong when they were arranging an event, this certainly would never
have featured on anyone's list of things that they may wish to either manage
against or insure against in the past," he noted.
Previously, organisers considered issues such as the
"venue not being available" or a "fire just before the
event", but the volcanic ash cloud and the big freeze have changed this.
"This has really highlighted the amount of things
that could actually go wrong and they should consider everything maybe even if
it has never happened before," Mr Blair added.
The consequences of the ash cloud have greatly changed
how organisers are thinking about events, he noted.
"I think organisers have now started to look at
this area of cancellation and abandonment as being a key issue for them in the
future. And, yes, it has meant that we've actually seen a number of people who
previously hadn't considered the insurance now coming to us and asking us some
really interesting questions."
"[Events organisers are thinking that] maybe we
should just reassess the risk and that there could be more than just an issue
at the venue," Mr Blair stated, noting that the volcanic ash and the
snowfall earlier this year have ensured that more and more event
organisers are now considering the transportation and logistical elements.
"We've also seen that people are actually looking
to talk about their insurances earlier rather than later. As soon as a contract
is signed they are actually coming to us, rather than maybe in the past they
would have waited for a little bit of time before they put the cover in
place," he noted.
While there has been widespread confusion about how
the ash cloud affects people's insurance claims, Mr Blair said that Towergate
Coverex was able to cover claims relating to the ash, so long as the policy was
taken out before the volcano erupted.
"The insurance policies before this happened all
provided cover for this event because it was…sudden and unforeseen and
therefore it would have been covered."
"There is a perception that insurers exclude
anything as a relating to an 'Act of God' and while this might apply to certain
insurance policies we were pleased to inform our clients that they actually did
have the cover. It was great to give them peace of mind that their event was
fully covered," he stated.
However, as the cloud continued to affect
occurrence, meaning many new policies did not cover incidents relating to the
volcano. "It may be possible for this cover to be bought back into the
policy cover although this needs to be negotiated by the insurance
broker," he added.
Although the events industry has had a difficult
couple of years with the recession, the big freeze and the ash cloud, Mr Blair
is optimistic about Towergate Coverex's and the industry's prospects.
"Many people are still launching shows and
looking to replicate their brand overseas and that is something we see as very
"We're actually quite encouraged about the rest
of this year and we look forward to helping our clients come out the other side
and work towards a successful 2011," he concluded.