Insuring against a range of potentially disastrous events – not just natural disasters – is essential for PCOs, according to Jason Holmes, of H2 Insurance Solutions.
“What can you do to protect the financial investment of your client in the case of, for example, a fire at the venue you have booked?” he asked delegates at the PCO Association conference.
With the recent history of so many natural disasters – the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan, floods and cyclones in Queensland, hurricanes in the United States and floods in Thailand – PCOs should be thinking of how to best protect themselves and their clients if the worst happens.
Potential risks include damaged venues, gas leaks, death or serious workplace injury, airport closures because of bad weather, adverse weather at outdoor venues (including marquees) and the non-appearance of key speakers for your client’s conference. Circumstances may also prevent overseas delegates from getting to the conference.
Holmes said other issues include communicable diseases such as bird flu or SARS also need to be considered, and insurance cover for terrorism events is also being asked about more and more.
He said PCOs should make their clients aware of the need for insurance, assess the risk and establish how high it is, then decide whether to accept that risk or to insure against it.
The next decision is how much to insure for, whether that is gross revenue, costs and expenses or net profit. The minimum should be insurance for full costs and expenses, he said.
PCO businesses need professional indemnity, public liability, business package (property theft, vehicles) and general property (laptops etc) insurance, he said. All PCOs should at least have liability insurance so they are not responsible for something that is the responsibility of the conference owner or promoter.
“Insurance does matter,” he told delegates. “Protect the finances of your conference and make sure your client knows it.”