Staging Biz: Top 10 Insurance Coverage Questions

In the spirit of David Letterman’s recent farewell from The Late Show, Venues Today recently asked Take1 Entertainment Insurance’s Scott Carroll for his top ten list of critical questions venue managers need to ask when assessing the effectiveness of their current insurance coverage.

The Take1 Insurance Top Ten List of Questions:

  • In explaining his reasoning behind this list of questions, Carroll noted that, “Certificates of insurance are required of all vendors but especially from security, parking and concession vendors, and ensuring that your choice of vendor at least has insurance of their own that might be a first line of defense for a claim raised against your facility. If you are not asked about this then the carrier considering coverage for your venue either does not understand how a venue operates or is not concerned that the negligence of one of these significant exposure elements to any venue (security, parking, concessions) can cause you, the venue manager, serious harm. An experienced carrier will also ask to see the contracts in place between you and these specific vendor services.”
  • Regarding shuttle services (transporting patrons to/from parking lots), Carroll emphasized that this is an added exposure the carrier should be concerned with. “ It’s an element of the parking vendor that might require further investigation and, for instance, might suggest to the carrier looking at your insurance, that the parking vendor needs to carry higher limits than where there are no shuttle services involved.”
  • Carriers who understand venue exposures understand that certain things happen at venues and, to protect themselves, they usually automatically exclude those things. “But experienced carriers are also willing to underwrite those specific excluded exposures for the possibility of removing the exclusions for a fee because they feel they can underwrite for the exposure. It’s a sign that the carrier truly understands how a venue’s business operates,” Carroll explained.
  • Co-promoting is an opportunity for the venue to share the risk of a certain event taking place at the facility. If a venue does co-promote, the carrier should ask to see the contract between the venue and the co-promote partner and expect the co-promote partner to provide their own insurance coverage naming the venue as Additional Insured on to their policy. A carrier should want to know if the only promoting is self-promoting, because carrier then understands the venue itself is responsible for all aspects of what goes on at the venue. This means more exposure for the carrier. The carrier needs to understand the differences between self-promoting and co-promoting. Contracts are key.
  • Experienced venue carriers know to ask for written plans in specific areas key to all proper venue management. “If you are not asked to provide these, it’s a small sign that the carrier may not be as experienced as you might want them to be, in the area of offering coverage to venues,” he warned.
  • Any experienced carrier in the area of writing venues, should be willing and able to offer a list of venues it currently writes and also, provide a list of references from those venues that you or your broker can call to do research on the carrier themselves.
  • Venue claims are very specific. An experienced carrier should have designated claims personnel who handle their venue claims. If a facility is large enough, it may even be designated a specific claims liaison. No carrier should be willing to write any venue of any size, without first wishing to inspect it or without first insisting that upon writing coverage for the venue, a loss control representative will visit the facility to report back on their findings. If this service is not offered it’s a sign that the coverage being afforded may not be as robust as venue owners/managers really need.
  • Its not uncommon for venues to offer community services like camps for kids and other children related activities. Carriers for venues are often worried about those activities and wish to investigate them further, if they exist at the facility. If a venue has these activities, it should be asked about those activities.
  • Finally, Carroll noted that, “The true exposure base for a carrier writing venues is admissions. Your rating should not be based on sales as much as it should be based on admissions. Furthermore, general questions about the activities at the facility should be asked. Do you offer your facility for special sporting events like tractor pulls or monster truck rallys? Do you offer your facility for rap or hip-hop? The carrier needs to understand what goes on at the facility to properly assess the questions it needs to ask. Rating based on admissions for a theatrical venue is different than rating might be for a concert venue vs a sporting venue. The questions being asked about what goes on in your facility and the rating basis, is a key sign to know if you carrier truly understands your exposures.”