Up and down the East Coast of the United States, event planners are facing an unusual wrinkle for their spring events this year: an invasion of billions of enormous, noisy cicadas. These insects, which measure about an inch and a half in length, are expected to outnumber people in affected regions by a ratio of about 600 to one. (For more about seasonal insurance options, read "Seasonal Business Insurance: Is It Right for Your Business?") They’ll be around for roughly two weeks, and during that time, people in the cicada zone will be hard-pressed to avoid them.
This means, of course, that anyone planning to hold an outdoor event – including weddings, charity events, outdoor concerts, plays, and more – could be affected by the invasion. The potential for disruption has event planners collectively wondering one thing: can you insure against cicadas and other natural events?
Here’s a look at what event planners can do to help ensure that their clients’ events come off without a hitch – no matter what Mother Nature throws their way. (Read more about how weather is likely to cause damage in 2013.)
Cicada Insurance for Event Planners
So why might an event planner need insurance for a cicada invasion? Imagine this: you plan a fancy charity event for an outdoor venue, complete with four-piece jazz band and a sit-down meal. The guest of honor will give a speech, and attendees will have a chance to be photographed with him or her in front of the beautiful background location you chose.
But then the cicadas hit. On the night of the event, the buzzing is so loud, nobody can hear the band, let alone their conversations or the headlining speech. Cicadas land on guests’ plates while they’re trying to eat and photo-bomb every shot with the guest of honor.
In short, the event that was supposed to be highly dignified turns out more like a scene from a science fiction movie – and the hosts are not happy. They’re so unhappy, in fact, that they decide to sue the event planner for failing to advise them that the date they chose for their event would likely coincide with a massive cicada invasion.
And if the event planner doesn’t have any business insurance, she’ll have to fork over lots of money to defend herself against those claims, even if a court doesn’t ultimately find her liable for any wrongdoing.
If the event planner does have insurance policies in place, however, she could well be safe from the expenses associated with the lawsuit. Specifically, Errors & Omissions Insurance for event planners would…
- Cover the cost of legal fees. Errors & Omissions claims make assertions that advice that an event planner provided in his or her professional capacity directly caused a financial loss. E&O benefits pay out to cover attorney’s fees, court costs, and other legal expenses associated with defending an event planner against such allegations.
- Cover any settlements or judgments. If a court finds an event planner liable for professional errors or omissions (i.e., ruled that the event planner should have advised her client that the intended event date would correspond with a cicada invasion), an E&O policy would cover the judgment costs. If the event planner’s and client’s lawyers came to a settlement outside court, E&O Insurance would also cover that cost.
- Protect the event planner’s assets. Thanks to the funds provided by the E&O Insurance, the event planner would be able to keep her personal and business assets safe, rather than draining them to cover court costs.
Other Ways to Protect against Mother Nature
In addition to investing in business insurance for themselves, event planners can advise their clients to invest in event-specific insurance policies, which shield against unforeseen and uncontrollable events (such as ice storms) that could otherwise derail an event and cause the host to lose the money they spent on it.