Whether to buy Weather Insurance: Some tips for insuring your show against Mother Nature

Posted by Steve Beatty on Jul 3, 2015 1:06:00 PM

It’s outdoor performance seasonWeather Insurance – Shakespeare in a park, concerts, festivals, and all sorts of other great art is being created under the sun and stars. All of us have cherished memories of outdoor shows, but we also know what it’s like when Mother Nature reminds us she is a powerful force.

The majority of show and festival producers have ‘rain or shine’ policies and will not refund tickets if a few rainy days mean people have to huddle under their umbrella or cover up with a poncho.

For US based customers:  CLICK HERE to obtain a quote & purchase coverage online

But what happens if dangerous weather conditions prevent your crew from setting up for the show or make it impossible for your talent to make it to the stage? As a show producer, you need to be able to deliver on your promise to present the show – but if you have no stage, or no performers, or if you are forced to cancel the show, ticket refunds are a reality you need to face.

There are different forms of Performance or Event Cancellation insurance available from domestic & foreign insurance companies. Many will automatically exclude weather-related cancellations, postponements or interruptions; never assume that the cancellation insurance you’ve purchased includes cancellations caused by weather. You need to read the policy exclusions in your policy to be sure.

The thing you need to clearly understand when buying weather insurance is what type of weather ‘event’ will trigger your policy and allow you to submit a claim to your insurance policy. Is it only adverse weather that poses a serious safety threat to your audience, crew and talent? Does it cover your set-up period, or just the performance time? Will a cancellation be insured if you decide to cancel the show or does some other authority need to mandate or order the cancellation?

Understanding the scope of coverage offered by your policy is important. But equally important is having clear lines of communication with your production team, your insurance broker and your insurance company in advance of the weather day.

Here are some things to think in advance of your show or event:

  • Buy insurance early. When you decide that weather insurance is something you’d like to purchase talk to your broker early so you have your quotes well before your show or event. Most insurance companies will not bind insurance on events unless you are at least 10 to 14 days from your event dates. And remember, buying an umbrella on a rainy day always seems impossible and more expensive!
  • Who will monitor and document the weather? When you are close to city centres, it’s much easier to document what the weather conditions were at your venue at the time when you called your show.
  • Consider hiring a Weather Monitor to be on-site; your own meteorologist. There is a cost of course, but if you are concerned about the distance between your venue or site and the nearest weather station, a weather monitor will be a valuable part of your production team. They can document the amount of rain fall, wind speeds and lightening conditions. Some insurance companies mandate that you use an approved Weather Monitor.
  • If you don’t have a Weather Monitor in the budget, ask your insurance company what documentation they will require to substantiate your insurance claim. They might ask for photos, local or regional weather report and warnings, wind speed readings. Consider renting or buying wind speed monitoring equipment.
  • Learn about lightening and understand standard safe operating protocols when dealing with it. I often say to clients, if you can see it then you need to consider it a risk. A helpful resource that I like to reference is http://www.ec.gc.ca/foudre-lightning/default.asp?lang=En&n=73364E34-1 If you have a tent or other temporary structures including lighting grids, stages, tents or canopies, know what wind speeds or weight loads will compromise these structures. Tent manufacturers or suppliers should be able to provide you with all of the safety specifications you need. If they can’t then perhaps you need to use a different vendor. During periods of unsettled weather you need to monitor & document what stresses or loads were being experienced at that time.
  • Establish a Management ‘chain of command’ and designate the ultimate decision-maker. Where safety is an issue there is no time for wasted time. It needs to be clear with all members of your team who will be making this decision to cancel the show.

While this Blog Post is about weather insurance, you need to be aware that failing to act swiftly and decisively when people’s safety is at risk creates a big liability exposure for you and your company. You can face lawsuits, penalties, or even criminal charges if you allow your crew, talent or your audience to be exposed to unsafe conditions by failing to make a decision and take action.

As a final thought on weather insurance, you need to think about how much money you expect when making your claim with the insurance company. At the time of purchasing your policy you will generally have 2 choices of loss settlements:

  1. Gross Event Revenue: Your insurance claim will include gross box office revenue from all ticket sales. When your event has a high volume of pre-sales, it’s easier to show the insurance company your ticket revenue; however, if you rely on ‘day-of’ sales or have surges in ticket sales the week of the event, then this variable may pose a challenge when making your claim for lost revenue.  Remember it’s not only Producers and insurance companies who watch the weather, so do your ticket buyers. And don’t forget ancillary revenues like merchandising or your food and beverage sales;
  2. Production Expenses: This is probably the more common approach to insuring event cancellations. There are less variables as your claim will be based on the production budget that you submitted with your insurance application. Be sure to update your insurance company if you make any significant changes to your budget so the amount of insurance can be adjusted. The policy will pay your fixed expenses and any expenses that you are contractually obligated to pay. You may want to make allowances for variable expenses that may not be incurred if you cancel your show.

To sum it up, read your policy and understand it. If you have questions, ask them. Work with your broker to determine the amount of insurance you need to cover your potential financial loss and be sure that the policy matches your expectations.

So, here’s to a great season of making memories under the sun and stars.


Tags: Rain Insurance, Weather Insurance, Special Event Insurance, event cancellation insurance, concert insurance, Festival Insurance, Ticket Refund Policy, Performance Cancellation Insurance

Event Cancellation Insurance - Who Needs It?

Posted by David Hamilton on Oct 21, 2011 3:16:00 PM

Event Cancellation Insurance is purchased for one off events as a protection against loss of revenue or extra expenses that result from uncontrollable circumstances such as unforeseen weather conditions, power failure, terrorism, cancellation, abandonment, postponement, interruption or relocation of an event.

This type of insurance can also cover public liability, such as a serious injury to one of your patrons, if property is damaged, there is theft of expensive equipment or if you face a claim for actual or alleged bodily injury, and it is found to be your fault.

For US based customers:  CLICK HERE to obtain a quote & purchase coverage online

Why it’s needed

Event preparation can take years of planning, and with businesses incurring multiple expenses on the lead up to the event, most can not afford the costs associated with postponement, cancellation or relocation of an event. An organization’s physical assets impact the functionality of a business, therefore with risks to the bottom line being substantial, event cancellation insurance is needed to protect against the loss of costs, expenses or revenues associated with this exposure.

Obtain a no obligation Event Cancellation Insurance Quote Here: Event Cancellation

Some examples of situations that would have benefited from having event cancellation include the following: 

  • In July of 2011 a stage collapsed at the Ottawa Bluesfest as the likely result of a strong downdraft of air from a thunderstorm. There were multiple injuries involved with including possible spinal injuries.
  • During the Big Valley Jamboree in the summer of 2009, a powerful windstorm swept through the area causing the main stage to collapse. A total of 33 charges were laid against the three companies involved in this Alberta Stage Collapse. Each of the charges carries a maximum fine of $500,000 and possible jail time. There were more than a dozen injuries and one death.
  • Stage collapse at a Christian rock concert in April of 2008 where an auditorium floor collapsed at a church inAbbotsford,BC. Sound and Lighting scaffolds collapsed onto the front section of the stage and mosh pit with more than 40 injuries.

Who needs it:

Event coordinators responsible for special events such as film shoots, concerts, trade shows & exhibitions, entertainment & sporting events, corporate events such as product launches, and conventions to name just a few. Circumstances such as extreme weather conditions, civil, social and political unrest, strikes by employees at the venues to non appearance of key personnel are all coverages that can be purchased.

  • A recent example of the importance for promoters in obtaining event cancellation insurance can be seen after Michael Jackson’s unexpected death and the outlays and expenses that resulted from his projected 50 concerts atLondon’s O2 Arena.

 There are two types of coverages, the costs and expenses of putting on the event, such as rental promotion and fees charged by service providers, and secondly, the anticipated profits that the event is expected to generate.

How it’s obtained:

By contacting your broker and/or completing an online application form and providing the relevant financial worksheets.

How long it takes to obtain:

Generally 48 hours is needed as a minimum in order to obtain coverage 

What the cost is:

The cost is generally calculated according to the gross revenue or costs/expenses, premiums therefore vary widely. Premiums are also dependent on such factors as whether the event is indoor/outdoor, and if outdoor, what type of protection is in place to negate the effects of the elements. Additional factors that affect the premium include whether an event is dependant on particular cast members or performers and if so, the age and health issues of the performer will need to be known. Premiums are generally higher for this type of coverage as usually a “one time” event that doesn’t occur is a total loss.

Click here to obtain a quotation: Event Cancellation

Our service is friendly and knowledgeable: please contact us, we would love to hear from you!

If calling from Canada, please contact David Hamilton:   604-684-3456 or e-mail david@frontrowinsurance.com

If  from the United States:

CLICK HERE to obtain a quote and purchase coverage online!


Tags: Film Insurance, Weather Insurances, Insurance for weather, Snow Insurance, Rain Insurance, Weather Insurance, Special Event Insurance, event cancellation insurance, venue insurance

Do I need Weather Insurance?

Posted by Meghan Stickney on Apr 3, 2009 5:35:00 AM

We can arrange protection against a lost day of filming due to rain or snow.  This is commonly referred to as weather insurance.

To do so, please provide:

  1. Completed Weather Insurance Application (see applications page)
  2. Daily Budget
  3. Dates of Filming

Information needs to be received 3-4 weeks in advance of filming. Premium needs to be paid two weeks in advance of filming to prevent predicting the weather.

The premium is based on the historical percentage chance of the weather event taking place in the chosen day. For instance there is traditionally, a ten percent chance of rain on July 17th in Vancouver. The underwriter would charge a premium of 10% plus 5% for overhead and profit. To insure a $100,000 commercial against rain on July 17th, the premium would be $15,000. There is a much greater chance of rain occurring in November, and as a result the premium is higher. Historically, there is a 40% chance of rain occurring on November 14th. To insure against rain on November 14th, the premium would be $45,000.

To Obtain a Weather Insurance Quote click here: Weather Insurance

For US based customers:  CLICK HERE to obtain a quote & purchase coverage online

Tags: Weather Insurances, Insurance for weather, Snow Insurance, Rain Insurance, Weather Insurance

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