Eileen Hoffman, assistant vice president at Aon Association Services, on the essentials of event cancellation insurance.
Associations Now: Why should an association purchase event cancellation insurance?
Hoffman: Event cancellation coverage provides protection for an association's financial exposure if a meeting, tradeshow, conference, seminar, or other event needs to be canceled due to reasons beyond its control—for instance, inclement weather, labor disputes, fires, hurricanes, flooding, threats of terrorism, or communicable disease losses, to name a few.
Does this type of insurance cover losses due to fewer attendees?
Under these policies, there doesn't have to be a full cancellation of the event. The association will also be covered if it has reduced attendance due to one of the reasons I listed. The majority of losses fall under reduced attendance typically, in my experience.
When should you purchase the coverage?
Typically event cancellation coverage can be purchased up to three years out but would need to be in place at least 30 days prior to the event's start date.
If you purchased a policy today with your event scheduled to be held next year, you would have coverage if the facility is destroyed in the interim due to a fire, tornado, or hurricane. If you did not purchase a policy until close to your scheduled event date, and the facility had been destroyed before then, there would not be coverage because the damage would be a pre-existing condition.