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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Jul 14

The Real Financial Cost Of Accidents At Events

I worry sometimes that people think we're scaremongering when we're telling them the types of insurance payouts that result from accidents at events. Here are some figures on ACTUAL event insurance payouts, in Ireland, in 2013.

O'Driscoll O'Neill are an insurance company which specialises in events and festivals and such things. 

They also do a lot of work with AOIFE (Association of Irish Festivals & Events) and provide a group scheme to AOIFE members too. 

The nice folks in AOIFE sent a mailer out a couple of weeks back featuring some interesting info from ODON, highlighting the importance of insurance and Event Management Plans for events and festivals.

The numbers

ODON say these are "real-life examples of accidents, that have turned into claims, which have happened in 2013 that the team in ODON have dealt with. 

  • A child cut their hand climbing on a fence. This cost insurers €147,000
  • An adult slipped on wet floor & broke their wrist. This cost insurers €72,500
  • An adult slipped & fell down stairs, soft tissue damage. This cost insurers €45,000

In our own experience of accident claims in this country, those figures don't surprise us. 

Generally speaking, people who don't run events for a living, are shocked by the size of payouts arising out of simple accidents at events. 

You need an Event Management Plan

The mailer goes on to point out the importance of an EMP and the organisers' duty of care to all:

"Safety at your event is vitally important.  You owe a duty of care to all people who attend or working at your event.  You should ensure they are attending or working in a safe environment.  Preparing a detailed Event Management Plan, will pinpoint areas of exposure and help you to eliminate these possible areas of risk."

The duty of care to those attending and working is key here too.

Many event organisers don't recognise the importance of providing a safe work environment for the staff as well as the customers. Often the staff are there in advance and afterwards for builds and breaks and a lot of risks exist during these periods in particular. 

Accidents happen

This is something we tell people regularly.

Irrespective of how good your Event Management Plan is and how experienced and competent your Event Management Team is - accidents can, and will, still happen. 

ODON points this out too, saying:

"Sometimes, no matter what you do or how prepared you have been, there can be an accident that results in a claim. When that happens, you want to make sure you not only have the right insurance package but the right insurance team."

So what do I do?

If you're running an event and want to make sure you're as covered as possible, then we suggest the following:

  • Make sure you have insurance cover for every reasonable eventuality. You likely won't need tornado cover but you should ensure you have cancellation cover. There are plenty of areas people don't think of. Speak with the like of the team at ODON and make sure you're covered.
  • Have professionals do your Event Management Plan and ensuring things are as safe at your event as reasonably possible
  • Have SOME level of professional staff at your event. There are plenty of things non-event-professionals simply don't consider and / or won't have seen before. Have professionals and make use of their experience. 

Remember that voluntary committees of well-meaning people who run events to fundraise for the local GAA club (for example) don't exist in law.

So, if something happens and they have no insurance cover then they may be found personally liable for any costs awarded by a court. 

Make sure your attendees are safe and that you're covered. 

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